GCI takes cloud-based entry into the SD-WAN game

GCI has become the latest cable company to deliver SD-WAN services for business customers. (GCI)

GCI has debuted CloudFlex SD-WAN, a cloud-based service that helps businesses forgo the costs associated with managing and maintaining hardware-based networking equipment and WAN management.

Because CloudFlex SD-WAN puts its capabilities into the cloud, businesses don’t have to worry about geographic boundaries with traditional WAN services while gaining network scale, performance and control of their network experience.

While enhancing data connectivity is the initial focus of CloudFlex, GCI plans to add a series of complementary services over time.  

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These services will include managed Wi-Fi, data recovery and backup, advanced security features, network performance monitoring, cloud solutions and managed voice and video conferencing.

Like other SD-WAN providers, the key focus is to reduce network management by replacing complex server racks with minimal customer premises equipment.

An additional feature is that CloudFlex equips businesses with the GCI Hub, a digital dashboard that allows businesses to monitor many GCI services and network performance, to receive support and to maximize operational efficiencies.

From a larger industry trend perspective, GCI’s SD-WAN debut reflects the growing movement of cable operators enhancing their business solution offerings with cloud-based services.

GCI joins other large cable MSOs such as Charter and Comcast in developing an SD-WAN product for business customers. Like these service providers, GCI will be able to leverage their existing fiber and even DOCSIS infrastructure as the access method to deliver SD-WAN.