Comcast Business pairs new SD-WAN offering with 1 Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 business data services

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Image: Comcast

Comcast Business has taken another step forward with its own SDN virtualization plans, announcing the debut of its SD-WAN product that it plans to offer in conjunction with its 1 Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 broadband service for businesses.  

What’s significant for Comcast’s new SD-WAN offering is it is the first service that will be delivered on the Comcast Business ActiveCore SDN platform, which the cable MSO is touting as one of the first cable-delivered, gigabit-ready SDN platforms.

Leveraging an SDN construct, Comcast said that ActiveCore delivers new services and network changes via software rather than through individually-managed and customized hardware.

RELATED: Comcast Business says DOCSIS 3.1, fiber will enable its hybrid MPLS, SD-WAN play

The platform features an embedded orchestration capability, allowing it to seamlessly deliver and manage multiple virtualized network functions (VNF).

By combining what Comcast says is an open, extensible IT infrastructure, ActiveCore can improve application performance, shorter deployment cycles, and greater business agility at a lower cost. Additionally, the platform provides actionable performance data in a single view for smarter, faster decision making, helping customers quickly identify, troubleshoot and resolve issues across their entire enterprise.

Business customers can bundle ActiveCore with Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit broadband service. Comcast’s Business Internet 1 Gbps service is already available in much of the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic and Central United States, and will be available to the entire national Comcast service area by the end of 2017.

Comcast Business SD-WAN combines secure IP-VPN, application-aware routing and a stateful network firewall. Leveraging Comcast’s broadband solutions, the SD-WAN service can deliver service over the public internet. By using Comcast Business SD-WAN on the ActiveCore platform, customers can augment or replace their existing MPLS network with an alternative WAN connection.

Similar to other providers moving forward with SD-WAN, Comcast is set on giving businesses an alternative to MPLS running over slower speed T-1 lines. The cable MSO will be able to more effectively poach customers away from telcos that have traditionally owned this market segment. 

Offering firewall-secured, branch-level internet connectivity to a public cloud, Comcast Business SD-WAN accelerates performance and can reduce the cost of backhauling data traffic through corporate data centers. Comcast Business plans to add additional ActiveCore VNFs in the near future which complement SD-WAN.

“ActiveCore and SD-WAN represent a ‘generational moment’ for our industry and are designed for businesses that embrace the consumerization of IT, SaaS and cloud services to run their enterprise operations,” said Kevin O’Toole, SVP of product management for Comcast Business, in a release.

Comcast isn’t a stranger to SD-WAN as the cable MSO released an SD-WAN beta trial for enterprise and mid-market customers earlier this year.

However, this is not a vaporware product. Already, Comcast Business has signed up a few customers, including Jim Ellis Automotive Group in Atlanta, which operates 15 locations across Georgia with over 1,000 employees.