SD-WANs improve UC performance; Cloud + Mobility = more effective UC

Today, we highlight two reader resources. In the first paper, Dr. Jim Metzler explains in a technical advisory why a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) can overcome performance issues associated with unified communications (UC) that uses traditional WAN connectivity. In the second piece, Troy Trenchard, VP and General Manager for UC at Avaya explains why mobility and cloud services are so important to effective UC.

Metzler notes in his advisory that, based on responses from his 2015 SD-WAN State of the Market Report, the single most influential factor driving change in the WAN is the support needed for real time voice and video communications.

While a T1 access over a service provider's Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network at each branch office enabling dedicated connectivity on the MPLS WAN has been a traditional solution, Metzler observes that “while this option is in use today and viable, it has several notable drawbacks in this emerging world of UC applications.”

He points out that some of the drawbacks associated with a traditional WAN connection such as:

• The latency, jitter and packet loss that often degrade the performance of real time applications

• MPLS may not be available with an Express Route partner needed to support Skype for Business Enterprise Voice within Office 365;

• Encryption, which appropriately masks the traffic type, causes difficulty in determining the traffic type for real-time versus non-real-time traffic.

Metzler goes on to explain in the full tech note how a SD-WAN enables real-time service quality, offering a Skype for Business Enterprise Voice implementation as one example.

In separate white paper also focused on UC, Troy Trenchard how private and public clouds make managing UC easier, while mobile apps and devices in the workplace, help UC become “radically more powerful and useful.”

In his paper, Trenchard cites Zeus Kerravala, founder and Principal Analyst of ZK Research Kerravala who says that “UC has evolved from IP telephony to virtual servers, Wi-Fi clients, and integration with email and other applications. A very large enterprise can handle this complexity, but the cloud is a much more efficient model for delivery.”

As for enterprise mobility, Trenchard correctly observes that “Mobile UC apps allow users to connect to all of their telephony and communications features from their smartphone or tablet” offering features such as “a single number that reaches both desktop and mobile phones . . . mobile access to the corporate directory, [the ability to] switch from voice to text or IM, or even initiate a Web conference.

The full paper, which has additional observations from Kerravala along with analysis from Forrester Research, is available here.

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