Extending Telecom Providers’ Reach Via SD-WANs

How virtual networks can deliver more digital services to telco customers

Tom Yin
Extending Telecom Providers’ Reach Via SD-WANs

Telecom providers are going through their own special brand of digital transformation. The propagation of 5G networks will give them more reason to expand their reach to mobile/wireless customers in every corner of the globe. A surging remote workforce is driving demand for voice services via traditional telephony or voice over IP (VoIP) methods, requiring telecom providers to scale those infrastructures in real-time. And providing value-added digital services (data, content and media) with their voice offerings to an exploding number of distributed users that may live and work far from centralized telecom metro hubs means they need to integrate cloud services (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) on-demand.

A proven strategy for telecom providers to extend the reach and scale of their services is to leverage SD-WAN networks and other network functions virtualization (NFV) services. By moving to more OPEX-based and elastic virtual network services, telecom providers will be able to deliver the capabilities that their customers need in less time and for less cost.

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Pivoting from CAPEX to OPEX

Building out telecom infrastructures has always been a CAPEX-intensive activity. It requires providers to ship hardware to specific locations near the greatest number of customers and assemble the pieces locally, regionally or globally. To deliver the best quality of service (QoS), telecom providers need to place IT infrastructures as close to their users as possible to avoid tromboning voice and data traffic over long distances between users and centralized telecom infrastructure.

By moving to an OPEX model, where virtual network services, such as SD-WANs, can be launched wherever they need to be to deliver the best user experience, telecom providers can significantly simplify the deployment process. They can quickly and more cost-effectively spin-up services where they need them the most and deliver an outstanding QoS to their customers.

Creating a more elastic, one-stop multi-purpose infrastructure

To provide greater value to their customers with their end-to-end offerings, telecom providers are expanding their voice and data services to include leading virtual network and cloud services. For example, many telecom providers are offering SD-WAN or other NFV services (e.g., firewall, cloud to cloud routing, etc.) to their customers from providers such as Cisco, Juniper Networks or Palo Alto Network. In some cases, carriers are forming partnerships with multiple virtual network providers to offer best-in-class services depending on their customers’ requirements. This gives them the agility to spin up or down more elastic and easily consumable virtual network services via a more cost-effective usage model.

Telecom providers also provide their customers access to major cloud service providers, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, as well as other more regional cloud and SaaS providers. The integration of these digital services means that enterprise customers can turn to their telecom provider as the one-stop-shop for all of their voice, data, media, network and cloud needs.

Going farther on a single global interconnection platform

Telecom providers that shift their physical infrastructures to digital on a global interconnection platform, such as Platform Equinix® with Network Edge services, can realize new benefits and opportunities.  These include:

  • Relief from CAPEX pressures by leveraging a more readily available OPEX model that is simpler and faster to implement than deploying and assembling hardware components.
  • Accessibility to multiple, best-in-breed virtual network providers worldwide, rather than in just one centralized region, to open up new markets more quickly.
  • Private and proximate, low-latency interconnection between remote users, SD-WANs and NFV services (without rerouting traffic), optimizes performance.
  • Global control of local connectivity and accessibility for greater QoS and an enhanced customer experience, especially for jitter-sensitive applications such as voice and video.
  • Elasticity in NFV service consumption, which means that telecom providers only pay for what they use.
  • Direct and secure connections with multiple cloud and SaaS service providers, which accelerates the creation of hybrid multicloud infrastructures for enterprise customers.
  • Working with a trusted support partner to quickly diagnose multi virtual network functions (VNF) underlay infrastructure issues.

Network Edge services from Equinix provide telecom providers with the flexibility and speed to access multiple virtual network providers, such as Cisco, Juniper Networks, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks/CloudGenix, and Versa Networks, to instantly deploy NFV services in minutes. The agility, performance and cost-savings of SD-WANs coupled with fast access of Network Edge and global reach of Platform Equinix, empowers telecom providers with the capabilities they and their customers need to embrace next-gen, digital communications.

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Tom Yin Former Business Development Director
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