S-Net Communications, Versa tighten cloud-based voice customer bond with SD-WAN

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S-Net Communications, which has carved out a growing niche as a cloud-based VoIP business provider, has added SD-WAN to its service roster to help customers simplify network connectivity and cloud migrations. 

Leveraging Versa Networks’ Cloud IP Platform, S-Net is confident it can offer its enterprise and small to medium (SMB) and enterprises a combined cloud voice solution with security at a lower price.

While cloud has become the vehicle to deliver existing and new services, existing technologies like MPLS have become more expensive and challenging for business customers to manage versus hybrid-based SD-WAN networks.

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By leveraging the Versa platform, S-Net Communications will enable its SD-WAN customers to augment or replace MPLS to support voice and data services.

After conducting a wide ranging trial of SD-WAN companies, Alex Fayn, president and CEO of S-Net Communications, told FierceTelecom that Versa’s Cloud IP platform was the best fit.

“A year ago we started seeing SD-WAN emerge put together a pilot and brought together four different vendors—VeloCloud, Versa, Fatpipes and Silver Peak,” Fayn said. “We chose Versa because they had wonderful SD-WAN products, wonderful failover products, routing protocols, and security.”

Sourcing, maintaining broadband connectivity

Delivering multi-site connectivity is nothing new for S-Net.

The service provider currently works with a number of service providers in the territories it serves to bundle network connectivity, including the sourcing of circuits, and its cloud-based voice services.

“We take a point of presence interface from Comcast, AT&T, Verizon or any LEC that exists out there,” Fayn said. “What it does for us is if we have a customer with three or four locations in Chicago and two locations in California, we can go to each carrier, get circuits and combine and build one network for our client with routers, switches and phones.”

Fayn added that the Versa platform allows the service provider to deliver its managed services platform over a customer’s existing network connections.

Since many of its customers may still have existing MPLS contracts, S-Net can help them operate in a hybrid WAN environment that includes a mix of connectivity platforms.

“We can deliver our managed platform onto existing infrastructure,” Fayn said. “If our customers already have a circuit in place and they want to get our cloud platform, we don’t need to wait for those circuits to expire because we can put a software layer on those circuits and provide our call center applications and our PBX application.”

Additionally, S-Net will also source and manage the associated fiber, DSL or cable modem-based broadband connections. S-Net will also manage the Versa device and the network connections for the customer.

While broadband offers lowers cost for business customers, the other concern for security is also a concern with cable and DSL.

One of S-Net’s customers has installed fiber connections at their main headquarters location and uses cable modem broadband at their branch locations, meaning the quality of the voice service would vary at the sites. By leveraging SD-WAN, the customer was able to maintain the fiber connection at the main site while still having a quality voice connection at the branch sites.

“When we implemented SD-WAN technology for them, the customer wanted to keep the fiber connection at their main sites and have the same quality at its remote locations,” Fayn said. “We were able to use fiber-based MPLS network at the primarily locations, flowed the routes to the remote sites through Versa’s virtual router and connect all the sites together using two technologies.”

The Versa devices can also enable S-Net to provide quality for their voice application and help them migrate customers to cloud-based applications like Office 365.

“I can prepare them for cloud migration because I route their Azure and Office 365 at their remote locations because the Versa devices allow me to do security at the edge,” Fayn said.

Challenging incumbents

S-Net may be only an 11-year-old company, but it is not afraid to take on large incumbent telcos that have been the dominant players in the business market. While incumbent telcos like CenturyLink are offering SD-WAN solutions, S-Net is currently competing for business from a regional company in Indiana.

Already, the company’s message is resonating with customers. One of S-Net’s customers who approached one of the incumbent telcos was offered an MPLS circuit and SD-WAN solution. However, the customer would have been required to manage and source the remote circuits themselves.

Instead, S-Net offered this customer a completely managed solution.

“We told them we could work their existing MPLS network and we went ahead and sourced the broadband connections at all of the sites for redundancy and manage it,” Fayn said. “The customer said that when its MPLS network contract expires, it might want to get another broadband connection for the sites and run pure SD-WAN.”

As a result of winning the SD-WAN business, Fayn added that the customer also signed up to migrate off a Cisco Call Manager platform to S-Net’s managed voice service.

“This same customer, which found its Cisco Call Manager platform was too expensive, told us he was thinking of migrating to a cloud-based voice system,” Fayn said. “Now that the customer had our network in place, we showed them our cloud phone system and we’re going to be closing that deal pretty soon.”