MetTel has joined the competitive carrier movement to offer a SD-WAN service for enterprise and medium-sized business, challenging incumbent players like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) with an alternative service.
Software defined-wide area networking is finding relevance with a host of industry verticals, particularly retail, healthcare, hospitality and transportation.
While MetTel's SD-WAN service leverages its wide array of interconnection agreements with other domestic and global carriers, the service provider takes on the responsibility of managing these relationships, billing and service maintenance.
One of the selling points for business customers -- particularly those that currently have existing MPLS contracts -- is that they can immediately access the benefits of SD-WAN through MetTel's Layer 3 backbone network connections. Traditionally, businesses would have to wait until the end of a contract to benefit from this new technology.
MetTel said that this method also applies to enterprises running their own VPN network via various IP access services today. What's more, MetTel can unify the network, as well as the management of the various providers, while keeping the enterprise on diverse and already contracted circuits.
Another point that MetTel hopes will differentiate its SD-WAN service from the competition is that it can address security concerns and mesh legacy networks. Since the SD-WAN access service can be used as an on-ramp to existing backbone networks and enterprise specific routing domains, MetTel said it can enable the enterprise to offer quality networks to internal users by diverting traffic off of public internet clouds as quickly as possible.
Some of the benefits of this approach are that it allows for greater insights and quicker response time when network issues arise, enables Quality of Service for managed networks that support voice, and helps direct private connections to cloud services like Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.
SD-WAN may still be a nascent service opportunity, but it's a market in which fellow competitive carriers like EarthLink and traditional ILECs like Verizon are clearly making an effort to deliver.
EarthLink said during its first quarter earnings call that it currently is conducting two customer beta trials and plans a full release of the SD-WAN product in the third quarter this year.
Meanwhile, Verizon launched a SDN-based network solution leveraging Viptela's SD-WAN Platform in February. This service expands Verizon's Managed SD-WAN portfolio currently based on Cisco's iWAN technology in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, which it launched in 2015.
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