Taking the guesswork out of managing your future bandwidth demand
Published 01/11/22 under:
The question about whether or not a customer needs more bandwidth is a really interesting one because those who have a vested interest in selling the customer more bandwidths are the ones that have that visibility, and those with the vested interest in understanding whether or not they truly need more bandwidth or not have given the visibility away. Not intentionally and for valid reasons in terms of simplicity and the whole network delivery model.
It’s very difficult to ascertain whether or not somebody needs additional bandwidth, but what we all have is this sense that the applications we’re using are much more media-rich, therefore consuming a lot more. And yes, things are requiring more bandwidth as a consequence of that. Whether or not you need more or not is a subjective question, and you’ve got to be able to get down into what the information is telling you.
SD-WAN does this, it gives that visibility back and you can deploy additional bandwidth in a fundamentally different way. For example, if I’m in a five-year contract with a managed service provider in terms of providing my wide area network, I have connections that are sized to a certain level. Let’s say I’ve got a connection that is a 20 Mbps connection and I’ve got a feeling that I might need more than that. Depending on where I am in the lifecycle of that contract, the service provider will ultimately come back and say, “Yes, we can upgrade you, or we can upgrade you to anything up to the maximum capacity of that line that you’ve taken.”
The way the industry works is you’ve got broadband and mobile at the bottom end, where you’ve got variable bandwidth and you’ve then got leased lines, which work in 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps increments. Let’s say I only want to pay for 20 Mbps of a 100 Mbps capable link, and I want to upgrade that, to double that bandwidth. I’ve got a feeling that that’s what I need, or my service provider is telling me that that’s what I need, within my contract the service provider can pretty much charge whatever they want for that additional bandwidth because it is essentially a zero-cost option for them. They have already deployed the 100 Mbps link and upgrading from 20 Mbps to 40 Mbps is a very straightforward thing for them to do. It’s a software change, it’s somebody sat at a keyboard, no one has physically to go out, and change things. That, unfortunately, is where the service providers make an awful lot of their money and it’s questionable as to whether or not customers need bandwidth. Application performance is not necessarily just about bandwidth, although additional bandwidth does help it’s also about latency and lots of other things.
When you’re going into contractual engagement for your wide area network, you’ve got to have a view of what your bandwidth requirements are in the future. There are all sorts of traps that you could fall into from a contractual standpoint that play in the favour of the service provider over a fixed-term contract. What SD-WAN does is that it allows you to be a lot more flexible and agile because you can add bandwidth from different sources, you can shop around in the market.
You can service bandwidth requirements in a variety of ways. The price per megabit per second on an Ethernet leased line, the price per megabit per second on a broadband connection or mobile, 4G LTE, or 5G LTE, they all have different price points.
Previously, you were hamstrung by the connectivity that you’ve got on your Service Provider availability and now, you can use everything. So if you have a short-term requirement for bandwidth, you can do it cheaply, which is what SD-WAN can help you achieve.
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