Looking ahead to 2016, service providers will see themes continue to gain momentum and new technology trends emerge.
For 2015, it was predicted that software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) - where companies transform their network with the Internet - would move quickly from initial concept to production deployments.
“While that has happened,” admits David Hughes, CEO, Silver Peak, “many companies are still looking to reduce the cost and complexity of MPLS networking by deploying broadband connections, and this will directly impact service providers.”
SD-WAN models the norm
Next year, Hughes believes SD-WAN will go mainstream.
“Service providers will need to move fast if they are to reap the benefits of the enterprise WAN,” he predicts.
“The now-proven capabilities of SD-WAN mean that more companies will be adopting it to bring their idle Internet links to life, add broadband Internet as part of a hybrid MPLS-Internet WAN, or even ditch MPLS and implement dual broadband connections to the branch.
“Critical for service providers is that Internet WANs require multiple paths to route applications intelligently over the network.”
For Hughes, having multiple paths means companies can easily direct real-time traffic, such as voice or video, towards the connection with the least packet loss or latency.
In 2016 when SD-WAN gains additional attention and momentum, service providers will need to move quickly to augment their MPLS services with some form of SD-WAN managed service offering.
“They will likely join a few pioneers already implementing this model and offering SD-WAN type services to customers,” Hughes adds.
Rise of 4G LTE in the branch office
In 2016, Hughes forecasts that more 4G LTE is likely to be deployed in branch offices, where organisations can quickly deliver the bandwidth remote users need either as part of a rapid, instant-on branch start-up, or as a secondary connectivity to ensure uptime and always-on access to business-critical applications in the event of a blackout or brownout on the primary WAN links.
While priced higher than other forms of connectivity - and usually priced based on usage - Hughes believes 4G LTE can be an “ideal solution” for branch start-up or fallback link technology.
“For service providers this means that 4G LTE deployments are growing and will give them a good return on investment,” Hughes adds.
“Organisations require a more flexible means of connecting remote workers and central offices via the WAN, and 4G LTE managed through SD-WAN will provide far better economic returns and capabilities than MPLS connections.”