Sprint has officially launched its SD-WAN service, laying a new challenge to CenturyLink and Comcast Business at a time when companies are looking to virtualize more of their business service functions.
SD-WAN may hold promise, but given the diversity of businesses Sprint’s solution allows customers a migration path from existing MPLS or TDM services. Business customers that adopt Sprint’s SD-WAN service do not have to “rip and replace” their current network elements.
As an access agnostic solution, business customers can use new or existing Sprint MPLS or broadband internet connectivity, as well as bring their own broadband connections from other providers. Regardless of the connection a customer uses, Sprint manages the customer’s SD-WAN solution across transport vendors, providing an integrated experience.
But broadband access choice is just one part of the solution.
Sprint offers a host of management tiers that allow customers to select the level of support they need, including a Sprint fully managed option. Sprint SD-WAN integrates with the Sprint suite of converged services, including SIP Trunking, SIP Cloud Toll Free, Workplace-as-a-Service, Wi-Fi and UCaaS solutions.
The service provider claims its SD-WAN “as-a-service” model also makes it easier for enterprises to scale and adjust to business changes while providing simple, clear pricing that streamlines planning and cost control.
Sprint's SD-WAN services complement its existing suite of services that include Global MPLS, Dedicated Internet Access, Managed VoIP, Global SIP Trunking, UCaaS, Cloud Exchange, Managed Network and Security Solutions, and Workplace-as-a-Service.
Initially, Sprint announced its intent to offer SD-WAN in October. At that time, Sprint named VeloCloud as its SD-WAN vendor and began customer trials in the fourth quarter of 2016. Launching SD-WAN is part of a broader effort for Sprint in the competitive wireline business space in which it lost ground in recent years to AT&T, CenturyLink and emerging cable competitors like Comcast Business, which just began an SD-WAN beta trial, for example.
As Sprint looks to expand its wireline service base, one that it reestablished in 2016 when it launched its Sprint Global Wireline Business Unit, having an SD-WAN solution in hand means that the service provider is prepared to respond to business customers that want to migrate toward open, software services.
Being able to leverage software-based solutions like SD-WAN that run on carrier off the shelf (COTS) platforms is relevant to larger businesses because they potentially save money on network solutions that are no longer tied to specific services. A business that decides to migrate off a particular service could simply shut down one software-based service and implement another on the same server.