Telecommunications providers these days are working hard to deliver 5G services to meet their customer’s high bandwidth and network connectivity demands. 5G, the fifth generation of mobile wireless technology is expected to transform several industries by facilitating faster connection with higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, increased availability, uniform experience, and improved connectivity for users. 5G technology presents a network that is designed to connect almost everyone and everything together whether it’s an object, machine, or a device.
The fifth-generation mobile technology will also have a great contribution towards the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), leading to a virtual network of ultra-high-speed connections across several devices. As per Markets and Markets research (April 2021), the enterprise 5G market is anticipated to rise from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $ 10.9 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 31.8%. There will be a swift growth for 5G network and small cells by private enterprises to support their business-critical applications. Besides, hybrid networking is expected to continue.
Role of SD-WAN in bringing 5G and all the edges together
To facilitate IoT communication, better mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, and high-performance edge analytics, the service providers will have to provide different means, while meeting the rising user expectations. SD-WAN is one such technology that will assist service providers in delivering a superior quality of network experience, customized to meet the assorted requirements of their customers while managing the switch to an entire end-to-end 5G infrastructure for delivery.
SD-WAN or Software-Defined Wide Area Network is a virtualized service that connects and spreads enterprise networks over wide geographical distances. To allow remote users access to corporate applications, services, and resources, WANs makes use of links such as:
- Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and
- The internet
Besides, SD-WAN monitors the performance of WAN connections and manages traffic to assure high speeds and better connectivity. The mobility and SD-WAN can fetch new levels of performance and accessibility to mobile-based business use cases using high-speed network connectivity.
Unlike traditional WANs, which largely rely on physical routers to unite remote or branch users to applications hosted on data centers, SD-WAN splits up the control and management processes from the primary networking hardware, making them available as software that can be easily designed and deployed.
Since the SD-WAN platform enables automation, service providers can use it to effortlessly connect to and integrate across various compute edges needed to optimize the traffic and management of 5G cells. This will further allow a seamless shift toward a full 5G infrastructure by managing any transport accessible across the edge, leveraging 5G transport for those critical applications that necessitate zero latency and higher speeds.
Benefits of SD-WAN
Some of the key benefits of SD-WAN for geographically distributed enterprises include:
- Ease of use: Since each device is centrally managed with routing based on application policies, WAN managers can easily create and update security rules in real-time as per the network requirements. Enterprises can further reduce the resources, complexity, and OPEX required to turn up new sites by combining SD-WAN with zero-touch provisioning.
- Simple operations: SD-WAN facilitates simplifying operations with automation and cloud-based management.
- Better performance: SD-WAN allows organizations to deliver a superior user experience by offering them access to cloud-based resources without the need to backhaul traffic to centralized locations.
- Reduced expenses: SD-WAN allows network administrators to supplement or substitute expensive MPLS with broadband connectivity options.
What to expect from SD-WAN vendors?
SD-WAN for mobile-based business applications is generating a new set of dedicated and cloud-based service opportunities for various service providers in industries. To assure the best quality of experience for users, service providers must choose SD-WAN vendors that provide:
- Machine Learning (ML): The ability to automatically adapt to changing network conditions in real-time, while offering optimum routing to the edges and the 5G small cells.
- Granular, intelligent application-driven routing: The ability to prioritize high-bandwidth traffic such as video streaming to a 5G cell and manage failovers while routing lower bandwidth traffic to another available transport like LTE and broadband internet.
- Centralized management: Allowing centralized management that includes easier operation, management, and maintenance of edges and 5G cells by efficiently redirecting traffic during cell provisioning or upgrades. Besides, allowing faster policy-based provisioning of WAN services to support any device connectivity.
- Integration of granular, application-driven security policies with business-intent networking: Providing centralized implementation of granular, application-driven security policies by automatically routing traffic to the right security services without compromising on quality, performance, or cost.
- Virtual WAN overlays: Enabling a more efficient, reliable, and flexible division of network resources to facilitate the Quality of Service (QoS) that applications demand. 5G networks also rely on network division, where each division gets an exclusive set of optimized resources and network topology. Using both technologies together, service providers can direct important traffic to the 5G network, where it can be stored to a particular division based on the specific application requirements.
To conclude, the emergence of 5G technology is expected to drive higher expectations from end-users and businesses for high-performing networks and applications. The deployment of 5G technology will increase the demand for an automated, self-driving wide area network base to deliver the best quality of experience for users as provided by SD-WAN.