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As WAN Services Move to the Network Edge, Top Vendors Emerge

Huawei becomes a strong challenger in the global WAN edge infrastructure market

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As enterprises come under more pressure to be more agile, efficient, and user-centric, wide-area network (WAN) edge infrastructure services are becoming critical for achieving the digital transformation. By deploying software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services closer to users’ end locations such as branch offices and connected devices, enterprises can improve application performance, manage data traffic flow, and reduce latency, all while reducing network infrastructure operational and maintenance costs.

A growing number of enterprises are recognizing the competitive benefits of moving WAN services to the network edge. In a Gartner survey, 27% of organizations said they intend to exploit edge computing in 2018 as part of their infrastructure strategies, with that percentage rising to 70% by the end of 2019. According to Gartner’s report, by the end of 2023, more than 90% of WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will be based on virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) platforms or SD-WAN software/appliances versus traditional routers, up from less than 40% today.

The emergence of this market prompted Gartner to unveil in October 2018 its first-ever “Magic Quadrant” report for WAN edge infrastructure. Among fierce competition in an increasingly crowded market, only 20 vendors made Gartner’s prestigious list. One of those was Huawei, which was named as a challenger in the global WAN edge infrastructure market because of the continuous and rapid growth of its global WAN edge infrastructure market shares, along with its leading SD-WAN solution and products.

Currently, Huawei boasts more than 20,000 WAN edge customers. According to both Gartner and IDC market share reports, Huawei’s enterprise router revenue ranked second worldwide in Q3 2018. Additionally, the IDC report shows that Huawei’s enterprise router revenue ranked first in the Chinese market in Q3 2018.

Huawei’s Intent-Driven SD-WAN Solution accelerates service provisioning with automated deployment throughout the whole process; guarantees optimal cloud service experience through intelligent application optimization; and reduces operations and maintenance (O&M) difficulty by leveraging intelligent O&M technology. This helps enterprises achieve on-demand multibranch-to-multicloud interconnection and construct intent-driven branch interconnection networks featuring high performance, low latency, and zero packet loss. In October 2018, Huawei launched a full line of next-generation SD-WAN routers and innovative SD-WAN cloud service for enterprise customers.

Industry-leading next-generation SD-WAN routers

Huawei’s next-generation AR series SD-WAN routers, including a full line of customer premises equipment (CPEs) and universal CPEs (uCPEs), are mission-critical flagship products for Huawei’s Intent-Driven SD-WAN Solution.

Underneath the hood of Huawei’s brand-new SD-WAN routers are a unique “CPU+NP” hardware-based acceleration engine, a multicore concurrent processing mechanism, and a three-level, high-speed cache. Combined, these offer Huawei customers forwarding performance that is two to eight times the industry average. These routers also can merge multiple service functions, such as routing, switching, software-defined (SD) WAN, WAN optimization controller (WOC), Wi-Fi, voice, virtual private networks (VPN), and security.

Featuring strong networking capabilities, the next-generation SD-WAN routers provide customers with more than 10 types of WAN interfaces (Eth, LTE Cat6, xDSL, xPON, etc.). Huawei’s solution supports more than 20 networking modes (partial-mesh, hub-spoke, full-mesh, hierarchical networking, multibranch-to-multicloud interconnection, reliable multi-CPE multilink networking, etc.) and large-scale SD-WAN deployment with up t0 20,000 CPEs, as well as smooth scale-out through distributed control components such as virtual route reflectors (vRRs).

Additionally, by leveraging Huawei’s vCPE AR1000V, enterprises can achieve interconnection from multiple branches to multiple clouds including Microsoft Azure, AWS, and HUAWEI CLOUD. All of these enable flexible, on-demand interconnections under all scenarios for enterprises.

Huawei’s solution supports multiple zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) modes such as DHCP-, email, and USB-based deployment modes, thus making device plug-and-play a reality. It also supports provisioning of more than 10 mainstream value-added services (VASs) in a matter of minutes, helping enterprises achieve simplified branch network O&M and fast service deployment.

Moreover, Huawei’s next-generation SD-WAN routers allow customers to implement “three intelligences”: intelligent application identification, application-based intelligent traffic steering, and intelligent application acceleration. In terms of intelligent application identification, Huawei’s SD-WAN routers adopt a combination of first-packet identification (FPI), deep-packet inspection (DPI), and self-defined application identification technologies, enabling 100% visibility of network-wide applications.

The application-based intelligent traffic-steering feature based on bandwidth threshold and application quality improves the WAN bandwidth utilization efficiency from 60% to 90%, and guarantees optimal links for critical applications. In terms of intelligent application optimization, Huawei’s solution uses an innovative adaptive forward-error correction (A-FEC) algorithm and three-level hierarchical quality of service (HQoS) technology, thus delivering strong packet loss resistance capability and guaranteeing real-time voice and video experience. For example, even when the packet loss rate is 20%, neither frame freezing nor artifacts will occur.

Huawei’s solution also leverages the next-generation, ultra-high-speed, large-file transfer algorithm: FillP (short for Fill-the-Pipe), which is recognized by Stanford University as having the industry’s highest transfer efficiency of more than 15 large-file transfer algorithms, improving the average transfer control protocol (TCP)-based large-file transfer speed up to 100-fold.

To date, many global carrier, enterprise, and managed service provider (MSP) customers — such as Italy’s TIM, Norway’s Broadnet, and China’s Ping An Group and Fnetlink — have chosen Huawei’s Intent-Driven SD-WAN Solution. For example, China’s Ping An Technology (a wholly-owned subsidiary of and the platform service provider for China’s Ping An Group) leveraged Huawei’s solution in the first half of 2018 to quickly roll out artificial intelligence (AI)-based customer service to 200 branch offices that offer insurance services in the first project stage. This reduced bill issuance time from two hours to just 10 minutes. Further, Ping An Technology was able to significantly lower leased-line costs and improve O&M efficiency while delivering superior customer service.

Innovative SD-WAN cloud service

Huawei has started offering one-stop, on-demand SD-WAN cloud service in the Chinese market. Enterprises can log in to HUAWEI CLOUD anytime, anywhere to purchase most comprehensive resources, including the next-generation AR series high-performance SD-WAN routers, SD-WAN service, VASs, cloud resources, and O&M services provided by professional MSPs.

Leveraging Huawei’s next-generation AR series high-performance SD-WAN routers in combination with Huawei’s cloud-based Agile Controller and professional MSP services, Huawei’s SD-WAN cloud service is suitable for interconnection scenarios of chain enterprises, multibranch large corporations, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

For enterprises with cross-region or cross-country branches, Huawei’s SD-WAN cloud service uses vCPEs to build cloud sites and intelligently select the optimal link through a large number of global points of presence (POPs) of HUAWEI CLOUD, thus implementing single-hop cloud connection. With the network access speed improved five-fold, Huawei’s next-generation SD-WAN routers provide the ultimate intelligent cloud and network experience for enterprises.

Open SD-WAN ecosystem

Huawei offers its open SD-WAN architecture, which delivers openness capabilities through open universal computing gateways — uCPEs that enable:

  • On-demand provisioning of more than 10 mainstream VASs in minutes
  • Interconnection with third-party application systems through more than 150 types of open application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Deployment on multiple clouds (Microsoft Azure, AWS, and HUAWEI CLOUD)

 This builds an open industry ecosystem with partners for enterprise customers.

Along with other vendors in the SD-WAN sector such as Microsoft, Riverbed Technology, InfoVista, F5, and the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC), Huawei is proactively improving services to all WAN edge customers by collaborating on an open SD-WAN cloud-network ecosystem.

Huawei’s Intent-Driven SD-WAN Solution and products play a pivotal role in its position as a challenger in the global WAN edge infrastructure market.

According to Gartner’s inaugural “Magic Quadrant” report for WAN edge infrastructure:

“Huawei offers a broad array of infrastructure hardware and software, including for networking, servers, and cloud. Its flagship WAN edge offering is the AR series router, which is available as a software instance, single-instance appliance, and as a vCPE platform. The vendor offers multiple WAN edge network functions including routing, SD-WAN, NGFW, and basic WAN optimization, and the requisite management provisioning, service chaining, and automation delivered by Huawei’s Agile Controller.”

In the report, Huawei stands out with the following strengths:

  • A deep hardware portfolio, with a range of appliance options and support for a wide variety of interfaces, including legacy T1/E1 and embedded LTE
  • Multiple WAN edge functions, including routers, SD-WAN and NGFW, which can all run on its vCPE platform and chained via the Agile Controller. This can simplify WAN edge device sprawl, improve operational agility, and provide cost efficiencies.
  • A large installed base and proven capability to support large WAN deployments beyond 1,000 sites

In short, Huawei's dedication to improving its performance in the WAN edge infrastructure market and its comprehensive portfolio of SD-WAN products and services are positioning Huawei in good stead for future rapid growth in the global market.

For more information on Huawei’s WAN edge offerings, visit these links:

Huawei SD-WAN Solution

Huawei AR Series Routers

Success Cases

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