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SD-WAN

Telia Carrier expands enterprise business with new SD-WAN service

Telia Carrier is expanding its enterprise market reach with its first SD-WAN service built on Cisco's Viptela platform.

The enterprise space is a new foray for Telia Carrier, which has traditionally focused on delivering connectivity in the wholesale market – the operator has 65,000 kilometers of fiber, 307 PoPs in 35 countries and sells connectivity to 900 service providers globally.

"Some say we're late to the game, but there's so much we've learned and we bring a uniqueness with our IP backbone, so there's absolutely a space for us in the enterprise game," says Mattias Fridström, chief evangelist at Telia Carrier.

This is prime time to deliver SD-WAN services – the global SD-WAN market grew 64% to over $1 billion in 2019, according to Dell'Oro Group's SD-WAN market share report.

"The legacy we have on being well-connected to all the cloud providers as well being the number one Internet backbone in the world – that's actually perfect for the enterprise world so why not go there? There's not much we need to add to be good in the enterprise space," says Fridström. Telia's cloud-scale Internet backbone covers 59% of global Internet routes and ranks number one in the world, according to Dyn Research.

The service provider has been working on a go-to-market plan over the past year for the new SD-WAN service, explains global project manager Joakim Palm. The operator collaborated on identifying an SD-WAN supplier with parent company Telia Company, which has provided SD-WAN services developed by Nokia's Nuage Networks, Cisco's Viptela and Meraki since 2017 to Finland, Sweden and other Nordic countries. Telia Carrier aims to deliver SD-WAN services beyond the Nordic shores to customers in the UK, Spain, US, Canada and more.

"We've used the experience from our sister companies, discussed what is good and bad, and based on that, made our own selection," says Fridström. "We benefited a lot from them having that experience [with SD-WAN] and learned from their mistakes to do it right from the beginning."

Fridström says Telia Carrier chose to deliver a SD-WAN service based on Cisco's Viptela platform because of the strong brand recognition among enterprise customers as well as the operator's long history in working with Cisco. Telia Carrier also hired a team to expand its enterprise portfolio, and is examining potential partnerships with additional SD-WAN vendors and uCPE services in the future.

Telia Carrier's new SD-WAN service is a modular, on-premises platform – customers can select a fully-managed or co-managed approach to SD-WAN, issue remote upgrades or downgrades to the service, and have multiple options for underlay connectivity, says Palm. Customers can also make changes to the service and run reports via two dashboards.

The SD-WAN service is connected to the Akamai and Azure cloud servers; delivers security through suppliers such as Zscaler; connects to Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS and IBM Cloud; and network traffic has fewer hops to make due to Telia Carrier's extensive fiber network, adds Fridström. Last month, Telia Carrier launched a 400 Gigabit Ethernet-ready network based on Cisco's cloud-scale NCS 5500 routing platform. The network powers Telia Carrier's global backbone network, reaching over 120 countries.

"Our uniqueness is we can tell the customer we know where your backbone traffic is going to travel between your remote offices and headquarters," says Fridström. "With public Internet, traffic is routed on best effort in the network, but in most places in the world we can tell the customer: 'If you use that ISP for your local connectivity, that traffic will travel in our network really well.'"

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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