15th July 2021

BYON – Be Your Own Network

In this blog, our SD-WAN and Security Product Manager, Andrew Napier looks at how resellers can best adapt the evolving connectivity demands that are coming from customer adoption of SD-WAN.

One of the main drivers behind the growth of SD-WAN is the ability to choose which carrier or ISP you use to connect your customer’s sites together. In traditional private networks there is sometimes the suspicion that as you are tied to the MPLS network provider for any additional sites, you may be paying over the odds for these circuits. You can’t shop around.

SD-WAN architecture pools distinct logical and physical WAN connections together as one virtual interface. The SD-WAN appliance doesn’t care whether the component connectivity presented to it is public or private, it’s looking at how applications are performing and whether traffic is reaching its destination. This ability, combined with the drive to consume public cloud-based applications has powered the take up of SD-WAN. In doing so, it has freed resellers from incumbent service providers for moves, adds and changes and enables them to buy circuits from any carrier – a good thing you might think?

For the channel this poses a number of challenges, how to retain revenue when the SD-WAN rhetoric actively promotes enterprises to just go and source the cheapest connectivity they can because the underlying network “doesn’t matter”. Also, how are you supposed to build a properly effective managed service when the end customer is expecting you to manage multiple, off net, third party internet access links – never mind ensure a good end user experience!

At the turn of the century there were great disparities in carrier network coverage for full fibre services in the UK. Inevitably, when quoting for Wide Area Networks for multiple sites carriers would be forced to buy tails from each other or add expensive build out costs to bring customer sites onto their networks. Any single carrier would not be able to offer cost effective connectivity into all sites.

As a result, the market saw the more agile resellers in the channel building partnerships and developing their own network cores to become network aggregators. By building interconnects into multiple carrier networks, they were able to guarantee the most competitive connectivity service directly by choosing the cheapest carrier for each site and building a network out of the tails.

In the present day, although pricing and coverage amongst the legacy players has somewhat stabilised, there is a new wave of rapid network expansion by new national players like CityFibre, and a whole raft of highly localized Alt Nets, who are using government funding to pick up the blind spots that the legacy providers didn’t find commercially viable.

This again poses challenges for the channel, who face a whole new range of network suppliers to integrate with, just to get back to delivering a commercially optimised solution. With this new wave of complexity, many carriers and aggregators are questioning whether they should continue to shoulder the burden of expensive network infrastructure and interconnects. They are also counting the cost of maintaining relationships with multiple carriers and their individual portals, provisioning teams and service desks.

We are both a network provider and an aggregator at heart, we bring together their own network footprint, as well as those of 9 key providers and a growing number of Alt Nets across the UK. This means that our partners only need to onboard Virtual1 to get access to the best of the market, with quotes, orders and service all from a single portal.

We also recognise that industry quoted speeds do not necessarily translate to end users feeling the speed. Virtual1’s network and especially our upstream connections to application providers like Microsoft are fine tuned for capacity and performance. End user experience of applications like Office 365 and Teams will be noticeably better than over a circuit from a consumer-focused ISP. Not all internet access services are created equal.

This all means that Virtual1 gives you the ideal foundation for any SD-WAN solution for your customer, you can provide a holistic, commercially compelling solution, without the overhead of maintaining all of the relationships and different processes required to deliver a multiple carrier, internet facing network in house.

So don’t bring your own network – Be Your Own Network, leveraging the integration and relationships that we have already invested in.

Tune in to hear Andrew run through an overview of our SD-WAN proposition on Tuesday July 20th. You can register here