How to supercharge your SD-WAN underlay, enhance connectivity & lower latency

The SD-WAN market is set for rapid growth. As businesses watch their network infrastructure increase in complexity, SD-WAN offers a potential solution, providing the possibility of dramatically increased bandwidth efficiency, network throughput improvements, and lower costs. Unsurprisingly, the global SD-WAN market is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2020 to $8.4 billion in 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 34.5%.

Before the emergence of software-defined wide-area networks, businesses usually had to rely on a router-centric model for their corporate networks but these were often rigid and delivered unpredictable levels of performance. Worse, they were far from cloud-friendly. Given that businesses are increasingly deploying latency-sensitive applications, traditional WAN was simply no longer fit for purpose for many firms. 

The challenges surrounding SD-WAN deployments 

For all the promises offered by SD-WAN, not all providers deliver an equal standard of service. Many organizations placed too great an emphasis on the SD-WAN overlay – the virtual network solution that manages traffic, enhances cloud connectivity, and essentially delivers all of the benefits that businesses associate with SD-WAN. Unfortunately, this focus on SD-WAN overlays drew attention away from underlying connectivity issues. But when the physical underlay is neglected, any agility benefits delivered by SD-WAN provide little more than a smokescreen.  

Many enterprise WANs now fall squarely in the “legacy IT” category and simply aren’t built to handle the kind of traffic flows that most modern businesses have to manage – not efficiently, anyway. With many enterprises now making use of multi-cloud environments, SD-WAN solutions need to connect physical branches to the cloud, private clouds to data centers, and every digital solution to the internet. Complexity has skyrocketed to such an extent that only an SD-WAN solution with a strong underlay can manage it.  

How Expereo can improve your SD-WAN underlay 

At Expereo, now, more than ever, we are seeing a number of common pain points as companies attempt to leverage SD-WAN deployments to drive their digital transformation journeys. SD-WAN is commonly employed by multinational firms to improve their connection to cloud providers, but these solutions are often hamstrung by the inadequate performance of the underlay network. 

If we take a closer look at the internet, ISPs and cloud providers around the world share routes with one another via the BGP routing protocol. But, despite being the internet’s routing protocol of choice, BGP has some serious deficiencies for a cloud-centric world. After all, BGP was developed more than 20 years ago, when the internet was a very different place – a much smaller place.  

Today, the internet represents a shared network made up of more than 760,000 individual networks, which means that it is often subject to congestion and performance slowdowns. Considering that a delay of just a few seconds is enough to frustrate online users and damage productivity, businesses cannot afford to rely on poor network performance.  

Fortunately, Expereo has taken a step above and beyond what SD-WAN can traditionally accomplish on its own.  Through our Enhanced Internet solution, we can greatly enhance your organization’s connectivity to cloud solutions, using software-defined networking to help you optimize your performance to cloud destinations. 

Enhanced Internet is software-defined networking for the underlay deployed in Expereo-owed hubs around the world, co-located next to all of the world’s cloud providers in 22 countries from 30 hubs, providing dedicated internet access with optimized BGP routing to cloud destinations. BGP works well at keeping the internet connected, but it doesn’t always optimize network traffic. With Cloud Acceleration working in tandem with your SD-WAN solution, internet optimization is achievable. 

How Expereo Enhanced Internet works 

Expereo Enhanced Internet performs a four-step process to ensure high-quality network performance for our customers: scanning, analyzing, deciding and re-routing – all to optimize BGP. At the scanning stage, Enhanced Internet starts learning existing BGP routes by collecting samples based on actual user network traffic, including metrics such as traffic volume, speed, and network traffic flows associated with each adjacent IP transit or provider at an Expereo Enhanced Internet hub.

Enhanced Internet then analyzes all the collected data and, once measured, selects the best-performing path for source internet protocols and destination prefixes, matching those against any pre-set corporate policy. Once a decision is made, Enhanced Internet establishes a BGP daemon session with the edge control planes and it’s here that the routing decisions are applied. 

All four steps operate continuously in real-time and, as a result, our cloud acceleration hubs can meet changing demands in user traffic, peer performance and, in a situation where a peer suffers from performance-impacting traffic, cloud acceleration will automatically and transparently move users to the next best path.

Remember, SD-WAN solutions tunnel logical paths so they don’t have any real knowledge or control of the underlay. This is especially important given that ISPs are independent autonomous systems sharing routes with one another. This means your business may be receiving sub-par performance for its SD-WAN tunnels between your branches and peers. Of course, this won’t go unnoticed by your employees or customers for long. 

Delivering real-time improvements

With BGP relying on a single metric to select the route between all the autonomous systems (AS) that make up the internet, it often results in organizations dealing with a prolonged round-trip delay (RTD). With our cloud acceleration platform, however, we have already demonstrated significant performance improvements for our clients even after only a few hours of being connected. Examining the RTD for several of our customers heading to Microsoft’s AS, we have been seen across-the-board improvements.

Our optimization capabilities deliver real-time traffic enhancements, with one customer gaining an 80% reduction in RTD, from 5ms to 1ms. Our other clients benefitted from similar improvements, with an analysis of eight of our customers showing an average RTD improvement of 38.5%.

It’s also worth remembering that our cloud acceleration solution is not only available as a dedicated internet access circuit from our hubs. If you are a customer running BGP with multiple peers, we also offer cloud acceleration as a managed solution at your edge, meaning you can get all the benefits of the software-defined technology at any of your own locations direct from us.

How Expereo can help your business

At Expereo, we built our own cloud acceleration platform because too many businesses were experiencing slow and inefficient connections to cloud and SaaS applications. SD-WAN was not enough. 

So how can you improve the performance of your SD-WAN? For many businesses, their SD-WAN continues to be hampered by internet peering problems and limited ISP choice. Regulatory issues add to the challenge, as does the fact that many vendors continue to have a limited understanding of how SD-WAN connects to the cloud. Getting your underlay network right is essential, and so is working with a network solutions provider that understands the technology, its importance, and your needs. 

At Expereo, we have been in the business of managing internet connectivity for over 16 years and today work with over 30% of the global Fortune 1000 to manage their internet and connectivity needs. We understand the international regulatory framework and how it relates to SD-WAN and have the knowledge to guide your business in optimizing your network performance. 

If you want to learn more about SD-WAN or the Expereo Enhanced Internet solution, get in touch with us today and speak with one of our in-house experts.



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