Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) offers rich features, improves collaboration, and streamlines decision-making, but it also puts heavy demands on the network. Applications that offer videoconferencing or shared workspaces have high bandwidth demands and immediately deteriorate in quality when there’s congestion or dropped packets. Enterprises are solving these challenges with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
Managing Quality of Service: When enterprises invest in UCaaS, they welcome the opportunity to upgrade communications options while turning over maintenance and management to a service provider. What often follows is frustration. Without the infrastructure support of a network built to handle high bandwidth demand and exceptional transmission speeds, some of the features that set UCaaS apart are unavailable. Videoconferencing and voice calls are immediately impacted, creating problems for everyone in the organization.
SD-WAN addresses these challenges because it virtualizes network management and offers access to a variety of pathways for connectivity. Rather than depending on fixed, physical links, SD-WAN allows enterprises to choose between multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), Wi-Fi, the public internet, and 4G LTE. Enterprises create business policy, designating pathways for different types of traffic so that applications dependent on real-time data access, including videoconferencing, are prioritized on the network.
Supporting UCaaS at the Branch Level: One of the key benefits to UCaaS is the consistent communications experience it offers to end users across a regional or global enterprise. Whether supporting branch locations or widely distributed remote and mobile employees, the user only requires a valid login and an internet connection to utilize the full range of resources that UCaaS offers.
SD-WAN offers similar flexibility in that a branch location or home office can be integrated into the network by simply shipping a device to that location and then plugging it in. The network will recognize the device and in a matter of minutes, that location is fully online.
Reducing Costs: When UCaaS or other applications experience performance problems, checking network pathways is one of the first troubleshooting items. If that problem is occurring at a branch location, SD-WAN eliminates the need for a technician to either walk an end user through troubleshooting over the phone or make a costly trip out to the location. Instead, centralized management and visibility through a single dashboard with granular inspection means the network can be refined to improve performance from headquarters.
In addition, the ability to relegate less-critical applications to the public internet or other low-cost links means that important traffic related to videoconferencing or other applications can be transmitted over MPLS. Enterprises prioritize their WAN costs according to application requirements, mitigating increasing costs related to bandwidth demand.
Before you implement UCaaS, let’s examine your network to test speed and performance requirements. You may benefit from an upgrade to SD-WAN, not only in terms of supporting UCaaS but also in reducing WAN costs to support a broad range of cloud applications. Contact us at Truth Comm to learn more about SD-WAN.