How SD WAN is Revolutionizing Internet Leased Lines
The ICT revolution has prompted enterprises to embrace cloud-first approaches and virtualized operations. Traditionally, businesses relied on internet leased lines to establish exclusive connectivity between offices and headquarters, ensuring reliable and consistent internet availability while avoiding the bandwidth limitations commonly associated with broadband connectivity. However, with the rise of cloud-based services, these types of connections can no longer keep up with demands for stable, high-speed, and high-bandwidth connectivity. SD-WAN solutions have emerged as the most effective means of addressing these challenges by enabling cloud-based management of ILL services. In this article, we explore how SD-WAN solutions are transforming the operational landscape of ILL and adding value to businesses and enterprises.
But let's first begin with defining ILL and SD-WAN functionalities.
What Are Internet Leased Lines?
A leased line is an internet connection that is provided exclusively to a business as a private connection that supports high-speed, low-latency services. Hence, organizations are able to leverage leased lines for mission-critical applications like video conferencing, VoIP, and file transfer that demand bandwidth and secure features. Hence, in today's business landscape, a stable internet connection is essential for all organizations, regardless of size.
Thus, Internet Leased Lines (ILLs) are internet connectivity products that utilize fiber with dedicated bandwidth to provide reliable and secure access to the internet, data transfer, voice and video calls, and other telecommunications. A Leased Line WAN is an Ethernet crossover cable that connects two routers for data transfer between LANs. Its services are dedicated fiber connectivity with defined bandwidth options between domestic or international office locations.
But ILLs have certain limitations. These are:
- Scaling Issues: Traditional leased line model is increasingly difficult to manage and maintain. ILLs are typically only available in certain areas and do not fairly support reliable services.
- Enhanced service standards: Cloud-based operations are more demanding and need expansive network service standards
- Expensive: Besides, leased lines are inherently expensive over broadband. In fact MPLS lines are several times the cost of internet links and nearly 50% of the overall operational expenses (OPEX) of an organization.
- High O&M costs: The service provisioning period too is over 30 working days and maintenance costs are unsustainable in the long run.
This is where Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) makes a difference for internet leased lines with cloud-managed services.
So, let’s define SD-WAN and how it works, before we consider how it improves ILL connectivity.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a software-based networking solution that allows businesses to manage and optimize their WAN connections. It uses software to control the routing of network traffic, making it possible to adjust traffic paths based on real-time network conditions dynamically. This allows businesses to prioritize different types of traffic and ensure that critical applications are given priority over less important ones.
The core capability of SD-WAN is using any of the available internet connections, be they broadband or cellular, to combine into a single, unified WAN. Therefore, traffic can automatically move to the next available connection when one connection fails without interruption. Thus, businesses have a resilient, always-available network, which is especially important for remote workers.
Hence, SD-WAN is a logical network that runs over the physical network as provided by ILLs to improve, enhance connectivity for businesses and enterprises. This makes it much easier for businesses to manage their network connections and ensure necessary connectivity by optimizing the logical or Software-Defined network, or the overlay, rather than the physical network, the underlay.
How SD-WAN Is Revolutionizing ILLs?
Internet leased lines (ILLs) are point-to-point internet connections that give businesses a private connection with an internet service provider (ISP). Hence, they operate in the manner of an underlay for businesses to operate in a high-speed and reliable connection environment. But there are inherent issues with the underlay functionalities of ILL that SD-WAN technology solves as an overlay solution.
SD-WAN solution optimizes ILLs by offering:
- Cloud-managed internet leased lines
- Online experience of service subscription
- Operations and maintenance
- Service innovations
Now, let us discuss the major points of SD-WAN revolutionizing ILLs
- Lower Cost and Enhance Link Binding: SD-WAN solutions offer CPE(Customer-premises Equipment) interface for easy application building for different business scenarios. This solution helps in binding LTE/3G or MPLS leased lines and use internet links for cost-effective deployment, reducing costs by over half while increasing WAN bandwidth.
- Lesser time-line for Service Provisioning: SD-WAN solutions are based on SDN-driven Agile Controllers. Hence, network deployment is automatically provisioned for E2E allowing plug-and-play scenarios. Provisioning is automated and with a single click any device can be onboarded by an email deployment. Device barcode scanning using mobile phones is also supported by many SD-WAN solutions, shortening the typical time taken for provisioning from over a month to a couple of days. Hence, enterprises can rapidly expand network services.
- Path Controls are driven by Applications: One of the most significant ways in which SD-WAN solutions are driving cloud-managed ILL services is by using intelligent path control. These software-defined solutions consider smart traffic scheduling based on the application processes. Hence, network services are scheduled as per differentiated needs and prioritizing key applications to deliver quality service.
- Cloud -driven O&M: This is one of the advanced methods by which SD-WAN optimizes use of ILL. It leverages ‘visualization’ of management applications by using a display running on a GIS map. This helps to fast-forward identification of error-location and dramatically simplify the whole operations and maintenance process. In effect it also becomes an inherent cost-cutting solution for overall OPEX (operational expenses).
Hence, these are some of the most important ways in which SD-WAN solutions are revolutionizing ILL use in enterprises and accelerating enterprise service innovation.
The global shift to cloud-run services has placed unprecedented demand for reliable and secure internet connectivity. Traditional internet leased lines have been efficient solutions for on-premise businesses thus far. But new work processes like remote work and multiple-loci business structures need more than what simple internet leased lines can offer. Businesses are looking at new solutions offered by SD-WAN for dedicated and high-speed internet connections that are easily managed remotely, flexible, cost-effective, and reliable services. It truly has revolutionized the way we think about internet leased lines. It has become the go-to solution for businesses to enhance their core network infrastructure.