This article was sponsored by Multapplied Networks, a leading SD-WAN enabler.
SD-WAN has completely changed how businesses connect to branch offices and to the Internet. It’s also changed how service providers deliver their network and managed service offers. By decoupling networks from their underlying hardware, service providers can use SD-WAN to virtualize networks and offer connectivity in a way that is flexible, cost-effective, and reliable. SD-WAN also presents a viable alternative to traditional networking technologies including MPLS.
There are, however, different underlying methodologies to SD-WAN. So, it’s important for service providers to know the options when evaluating an SD-WAN platform.
For example, a common approach that service providers use to provide SD-WAN is to resell an existing SD-WAN service, leveraging the manufacturer’s brand, back-end network and data center infrastructure. Service providers sometimes choose this option because they like being able to offer a leading vendor’s brand. However, this option comes with a price. Service providers typically have to follow the vendor’s guidelines on licensing and margins. And, when there are multiple resellers for the same branded SD-WAN platform in the same market, flexibility and differentiation are reduced to price competition. Customers quickly learn to shop around for a better price on the same SD-WAN platform.
Another approach is to work with a vendor like Multapplied (MNI), offering a true white label solution that gives you total control over how you want to market, sell and deliver SD-WAN to your customers.
What works for one service provider may not be the best approach for another. Ultimately, the decision comes down to:
- How much you want to pay for SD-WAN;
- How much you want to earn from SD-WAN;
- The amount of flexibility your customers require; and
- How you want to present your brand to your customers.
How Does MNI SD-WAN Stack Up?
Here’s a breakdown of how MNI stands out from some of the other solutions in the market today:
Price: SD-WAN needs to be profitable in order to be effective. With other vendors, you’re paying more to offer their SD-WAN due to the following;
- Purchasing THEIR hardware; Most other SD-WAN platforms require you to buy their hardware rather than licensing their software and running it on standard white-box hardware from your preferred vendor. This means you’re locked into their infrastructure and you’re promoting their brand – as those boxes bear the vendor’s brand. You’ll also have to deal with their procurement cycles.
- Bandwidth licensing; Instead of offering you a single, fixed price per month for each site, most other SD-WAN vendors have different prices for the bandwidth at each site. This makes your pricing more complicated and, as customers grow, means you’re continually in sales cycles with them. Your pricing tables also become more complicated and more like telecom pricing, which no customer loves.
- Unlimited core network node software: Most other vendors don’t allow you to turn up core network node software in as many Data Centers or Cloud locations as you want without seeing any increases in costs. With Multapplied you ONLY pay for what you use.
MNI is one of the most affordable SD-WAN solutions on the market. MNI charges based on fixed per-site (or per-port) monthly fee for each site deployed and NOT by the amount of bandwidth used. This structure helps Service Providers predict their costs and go into each customer deal understanding what their margins will be. Costs don’t grow unless revenues are growing!
Aggregation: Link aggregation or bonding involves combining bandwidth from multiple carrier last-mile circuits into a single virtual tunnel per site for maximum uptime and performance. It’s one of the most powerful capabilities that SD-WAN has to offer—and it’s also one of the most overlooked features among today’s leading solutions. Some vendors don’t even offer true link aggregation with packet-based load balancing while others only offer partial aggregation.
MNI offers an industry-leading 90 percent bandwidth aggregation to ensure that you’re able to deliver the level of uptime and performance that your customers expect.
Customization: As mentioned, SD-WAN is all about flexibility. The technology was designed to liberate service providers and their customers from the rigid, binding agreements and market monopolies of telecom service providers. And yet, many SD-WAN platforms lack true customization; you must use the vendor’s hardware, data centers and network infrastructure, in effect surrendering control of your service delivery to a third party.
With MNI you’re no longer at the mercy of the carriers; You own the network and you have full control over the data, empowering you to FINALLY have true ownership and control over the relationships with your customers.
Differentiating factors that are unique to MNI include:
- >500% ROI over two years with payback in less than 12 months
- 10x faster to deploy than traditional VPN solutions
- Unlimited core software and unlimited bandwidth licensing
- White box solution
- Subscription-based pricing
- End-to-end visibility and control
At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a bad SD-WAN solution. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve. what matters most isn’t the feature list or the marketing buzz. What should be most important to any enterprise customer or service provider is the specific use cases you’re looking to have SD-WAN solve.
The selection process can certainly be overwhelming, and our team is standing by to help you make the right decision. To get started, click here.
Alex Caw is a Sales & Marketing Associate at Multapplied Networks.