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    The WAN Design and Setup Process, Explained

    By: Trevor Akervik
    October 13, 2020

    When I tell enterprise organizations that SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) is easy, I encounter a fair share of disbelief. And honestly, I get it. Something as beneficial, cost-effective and user-friendly as a wide area network has to be complex and timely, right? Wrong. You can work with a single source for full deployment and reap the benefits of WAN optimization faster than you think. 

    Wide Area Network Optimization

    an individual typing on a keyboardFirst things first, know that wide area network optimization goes much more smoothly when you work with a single source provider. Working with the same representative through pre-sale, implementation and ongoing carrier service coordination adds ease to the situation. Instead of having to tell your story and outline your needs multiple times, you can do it once. 

    In fact, you probably already have much of the hardware in place, and SD-WAN can be quickly added as a feature. If your organization does need hardware and infrastructure upgrades, installers can outfit your business with as extensive of a configuration as it needs. 

    How Do You Implement a WAN? 

    Building a WAN requires the assistance of a third-party service provider who will provision a link to your location. It also requires networking equipment like routers and switches. The steps for WAN implementation include: 

    1. Contacting a service provider
    2. Acquiring a router and connecting the WAN link to it
    3. Connecting the network switch to your router

    To ensure proper build, work with your service provider during the design, setup and implementation of your WAN. They will help ensure your WAN setup meets your business needs. 

    WAN Implementation with a Single Source Provider

    We've structured WAN implementation to be as hands-off as possible for the customer. With Marco, you're looking at two to four weeks for carrier brokering and installation. To put this in perspective, a traditional WAN implementation can include meetings with up to five separate companies (hardware manufacturer, monitoring company, telco carrier, professional services and phone vendor) and take upwards of three months.

    There's a significant benefit to working with a single-source provider who has the capacity and the capabilities to work with you through initial assessments and outfitting to installation and carrier service.

    WAN vs SD-WAN

    While traditional WAN solutions have worked well for some businesses, they have some disadvantages. These disadvantages include: 

    • Configuration distribution
    • Failover outages
    • Difficulty adding and managing new policies
    • Time intensiveness

    SD-WAN, on the other hand, takes a different approach to the design, implementation and management of a wide area network. As a software-driven technology, SD-WAN provides a series of benefits. These include:

    • Lower circuit costs
    • Cloud-based service compatibility
    • Simplified QoS and prioritization
    • Supporting high-bandwidth intensive applications

    When compared to a traditional WAN deployment, SD-WAN is seen as a better choice for businesses. 

    Benefits of Optimized WAN 

    After enabling your business with an effective SD-WAN solution, you're likely to experience less dropped calls, faster page loading and reduced security concerns. It's an ideal solution for enterprise organizations looking to elevate the experiences of their end users without tapping into internal staff time or managing multiple service providers. 

    As I've stated before, depending on your current situation, some businesses already have the necessary equipment and just need SD-WAN added as a feature, whereas other businesses may require a more extensive configuration

    Regardless of industry, there's value in high-speed connectivity, improved customer service efforts, staff satisfaction and efficient internal processes. In all of these areas, quality connectivity can help you reach your business goals. 

    Could you use a good laugh after reading this tech-heavy stuff? Lucky for you we've got just the thing—our #LANThePun jokes—where we dispel the myth that we're all technical and no fun.

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    Topics: Cisco, Enterprise