Vonage is giving its small and medium-sized business customers the option use over-the-top broadband by incorporating QoS into its SmartWAN service, broadening the reach of its SD-WAN product set.
To address concerns raised by businesses using public broadband-based SD-WAN services, the SmartWAN product can monitor quality of each broadband connection while dynamically routing voice and messaging traffic for consistent QoS and UC reliability.
This solution will likely resonate with businesses who don’t want to purchase additional MPLS circuits, which are often more expensive than traditional cable or copper-based broadband.
For business customers that use public connections to support voice, video and data communications in their day-to-day operations, SmartWAN offers a tool to enhance internal collaboration among employees and increase the quality of external connections with their own customers. Additionally, Vonage offers Blackout/Brownout protection, seamless failover and real time, and smart congestion prevention to ensure business continuity.
Since introducing its SD-WAN via SmartWAN in 2015, Vonage noted that nearly 40% of its deployments include this service. Enterprise customers using Vonage service via the Company’s private MPLS network or a combination of MPLS and public broadband are already using SmartWAN to enhance network reliability for unified communications across locations.
Sanjay Srinivasan, Ph.D., chief technology architect for Vonage said providing QoS is second nature to the service provider in a business environment.
“As a provider of UCaaS services, QoS is in our DNA,” Srinivasan said. “From a customer profile, we provide services from small businesses all the way to large business enterprises and historically the way to guarantee QoS was to use MPLS-based last mile loops.”
To ensure QoS for SD-WAN, the service provider will qualify and quantify the best path for the link over the broadband connection. The service provider is also implementing other elements such as jitter buffering and forward error correction (FEC).
“Jitter is the issue that causes poor voice quality so jitter buffering is important,” Srinivasan said. “We also use FEC to provide packet replication, meaning if the conditions become bad the edges will replicate packets on all available links and the other end will pick one copy to complete the story if you will.”
Focus on hybrid environments
A key focus of Vonage’s QoS SD-WAN service capability is to address businesses’ hybrid network environments. While Vonage will continue to provide businesses MPLS-based connections, Vonage’s expansion of the SmartWAN offering to SMBs enables it to offer carrier-grade QoS to those that use even a single connection via public T1/Ethernet, broadband and even a wireless-based LTE connection.
Srinivasan said that enabling QoS for over the top broadband connections for SD-WAN allows the service provider to address a broader set of customer situations.
“Providing MPLS-based loops is still a great strategy and most guaranteed strategy of getting QoS, but the transition that’s happening in the customer base is that as customers are moving all their services to the cloud, the bandwidth to their premises has gone up.”
Srinivasan added that while a customer could acquire another MPLS link, the “price point may be untenable for the customer and that’s where broadband connections have come in with lower prices and large amounts of broadband.”
Vonage is allowing customers to procure their own broadband connections to access the SD-WAN service. The service provider said there are three typical deployment models today: single broadband, dual broadband and hybrid broadband and MPLS.
“If it’s a hybrid solution, we could provide the MPLS connection or if they provide it looks like dual broadband to us,” Srinivasan said. “The service provider comprises an edge device that sits at the customer premises and is paired with a gateway in our core network.”
Retailers like it
Given their distributed nature, Vonage is finding that the SmartWAN solution and over-the-top broadband capabilities are resonating with retail companies.
Retailers procure broadband or some network connection via a T-1 at each site, but being able to use other wireline broadband like cable modem or a wireless LTE circuit allows for greater flexibility.
“We’re finding the biggest success in the retail market,” Srinivasan said. “Because of our SmartWAN technology, we can provide dual broadband links—a wired link and the other one can be LTE. This gives the retailer true diversity.”
But solving for the connectivity issue is just one point of concern for retailers seeking SD-WAN services. Vonage is also working to help enable and maintain uptime for point-of-sale transaction applications.
Besides seeing a lot of voice service sales, retailers are looking to Vonage to support their point-of-sale terminals like cash registers and credit card machines. If a retailer’s credit card terminal or register can’t process sales, it could mean lost business.
“A point of sale machine needs to be connected to the cloud all the time because they would need to fall back to writing down the credit card number and match up later, which can slow down their revenue velocity,” Srinivasan said.