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Better Together: UCaaS and SD-WAN

By | February 20, 2019

Some things in life are better together than apart.

In this case, we’re talking about unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). With speed and scalability becoming top of mind and business success increasingly determined by latency and uptime, these two historically separate domains are now becoming more inseparable.

Here’s why UCaaS is more robust when paired with SD-WAN.

The UCaaS challenge without SD-WAN

UCaaS is an enterprise communications technology that streamlines voice, video and web conferencing via cloud-based software. Unfortunately, issues such as dropped calls, weak signals and lagging video connections are not uncommon. If you’re wondering what’s to blame for this, consider the public Internet. With only direct Internet access, the network cannot prioritize traffic to mitigate congestion, jitter and packet loss – all of which are factors that detract from user experience and erode productivity.

To further complicate the matter, modern day collaboration and productivity app demands are becoming more dynamic than ever. Voice and video require significant bandwidth and more businesses are becoming geographically dispersed. However, legacy network solutions, such as MPLS, are costly and often introduce latency to the equation by adding separate trips over the Internet and back to the user location. Unsurprisingly, this inefficient routing approach impairs the quality of real-time data.

SD-WAN strengthens communications quality for UCaaS

It’s hard to offer reliable, high-performance communication quality without committing the right resources. Yet for those willing to invest in SD-WAN, the advantages are clear.

SD-WAN is a technology that connects enterprise networks, including branch offices and data centers, across long distance geographical regions. By actively managing bandwidth utilization and performing dynamic path selection, SD-WAN significantly improves application performance and traffic automation. The network differentiates high-priority and lower-priority traffic and places them on the path that will best serve their purpose. This ensures that UCaaS gets prioritized, and the result is superior call quality.

In terms of implementation, SD-WAN offers simple, fast deployment. This is powered by a separate control plane that includes centralized management of policies, rules and configurations. The SD-WAN edge devices are configured at a central location with zero-touch provisioning, which eliminates the need for manual labor at the branch offices.

Cost-wise, SD-WAN makes the integrated communications and collaboration experience affordable by using broadband IP connectivity. Companies need not invest in infrastructure and can enjoy enterprise-grade virtualized services through a cloud environment. With SD-WAN, capital expenditure can be reduced by 40 to 80 percent, according to Gartner.

How Zenlayer can help

As with all technologies, the success of UCaaS and SD-WAN together relies on a number of factors – and your vendor could make or break it. Zenlayer offers a global private backbone with over 19 global SD-WAN points of presence and a unified network monitoring and management platform that’s intuitive.

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