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What’s in store for service providers in 2016?

David Hughes, CEO, Silver Peak | Jan. 11, 2016
David Hughes, CEO, Silver Peak predicts some upcoming trends that will affect service providers this year.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Reflecting on 2015 and looking ahead to 2016, services providers will see themes continue to gain momentum and new technology trends emerge. Last year, it was predicted that software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) - where companies transform their network with the internet - would move quickly from initial concept to production deployments. While that has definitely happened, there are still a number of companies looking to reduce the cost and complexity of MPLS networking by deploying broadband connections, and this will directly impact service providers.

SD-WAN models will become the norm

Next year, SD-WAN will go mainstream.  Therefore, service providers will need to move fast if they are going to reap the benefits of the enterprise WAN. The now-proven capabilities of SD-WAN means that more companies will be adopting it to bring their idle internet links to life, add broadband internet as part of a hybrid MPLS-internet WAN, or even ditch MPLS and implement dual broadband connections to the branch. Critical for service providers is that internet WANs require multiple paths to intelligently route applications over the network. 

Having multiple paths means companies can easily direct real-time traffic, such as voice or video, towards the connection with the least packet loss or latency. As such, in 2016 when SD-WAN gains additional attention and momentum among organisations, service providers will have to move quickly to augment their MPLS services with some form of SD-WAN managed service offering. They will likely join a few pioneers that are already implementing this model and offering SD-WAN type services to customers.

The rise of 4G LTE deployments in the branch office

In 2016, there will also likely be more 4G LTE deployed in branch offices where organisations can quickly deliver the bandwidth remote users need either as part of a rapid, instant-on branch start-up, or as a secondary connectivity to ensure uptime and always-on access to business-critical applications in the event of a blackout or brownout on the primary WAN links. While priced higher than other forms of connectivity - and usually priced based on usage - 4G LTE can be an ideal solution for branch start-up or fallback link technology. 

What this means for service providers is that 4G LTE deployments are growing and this will give them a good return on investment. This is not least because organisations require a more flexible means of connecting remote workers and central offices via the WAN, and 4G LTE managed through SD-WAN will provide far better economic returns and capabilities than MPLS connections. Service providers have a significant role to play in delivering SD-WAN deployments and, therefore, must ensure that they are at the forefront of the enterprise WAN transformation. Failure to do this will see them missing out on the opportunity to take advantage of the increased demand for 4G LTE.


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