Windstream Enterprises has upgraded its WE Connect Management Portal to give users more visibility across their SD-WAN networks. The WE Connect Insight Engine offers customers a set of visuals that show performance analysis and trends in their applications, network access and devices across all of their locations.
The insights come across dashboards in order for users to quickly identify the variances or hot spots that need to be looked at ahead of fixing them when necessary.
"SD-WAN generates enormous amounts of data, and WE Connect Insight Engine, running the most advanced data analysis technologies, examines the data and presents customers with easy-to-understand intelligence about their business, about their relationship with Windstream, and about how we can deliver network excellence and a better customer experience,” said Mike Frane, vice president of product management at Windstream Enterprise, in a statement. “No other SD-WAN provider delivers this depth of insight and ease of use.”
The WE Connect Insight Engine allows customers to see all of the devices on their networks, which in turn allows them to verify their validity and alert them to potential rogue devices.
Customers can also see who the top users are across their entire network footprints and take note of how that usage shifts from month-to-month. The engine can also identify devices that are producing or consuming an abnormal amount of data, which could indicate a device has been compromised.
Windstream Enterprise SD-WAN customers can also drill down into bandwidth and application performance bottlenecks to find areas with high bandwidth cultivation.
The engine then provides them with a simplified view of the utilization, application traffic and underlay status at the time of the spike so they can see and assess the anomaly. From there, they can choose to take immediate action to change application priorities or flows.
Lastly, customers can download reports that show the network metrics across all of their locations in order to blend SD-WAN performance data into their internal performance reporting.
"Windstream built the insight engine internally using our big data and software development groups," said Frane, in a follow-up an email to FierceTelecom. "Developing the solution internally gives us ultimate flexibility in the delivery of the insights to our customers and allows us to further differentiate the Windstream digital experience."
Using an agile process, Frane said Windstream introduced the minimally viable product of the insight feature late last year, and that it has continued to provide additional insights via incremental improvements "sprint over sprint."
"Our development backlog for WE Connect and the SD-WAN digital experience will deliver broader and deeper insights to our customers enabling them to make more informed decisions about their end users and applications and network, security, and voice services giving them the ability to significantly enhance their business operations," Frane said, when asked what's on the roadmap for WE Connect and SD-WAN.
All of Windstream Enterprise's SD-WAN customers have access to its WE Connect portal, which it launched early last year, for real-time visibility and insights into their network and enterprise-wide application performance, as well as one-click drill-downs to view bandwidth usage by location, end-user or device.
Windstream launched its first SD-WAN service in combination with the SD-WAN assets it picked up from the EarthLink deal in 2017. Windstream then offered a VMware/VelcoCloud SD-WAN service three years ago, and added next gen firewall vendor Fortinet last year as an additional SD-WAN offering. Windstream said the voice assistants worked on both of its SD-WAN offerings.
As of the second quarter, Windstream had 3,200 SD-WAN customers under contract representing over 29,000 endpoint locations, which it has claimed makes it the largest SD-WAN provider in the nation.
Windstream has continually upgraded its SD-WAN offerings. Earlier this month, Windstream Enterprise provided its SD-WAN users voice command features by adding Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa to its OfficeSuite UC portfolio. By using Alexa and Google Assistant, Windstream Enterprise said network administrators would be able to work more efficiently.
In July, Windstream Enterprise added white glove elements to its Fortinet-based SD-WAN service. With its SD-WAN Concierge service, Windstream has added a white-glove managed service that delivers a variety of high-level service benefits, including technical consulting resources, advanced service delivery, and an assigned technical service manager who provides guidance and support.