In addition to being excellent tools for collaboration, voice and video are also effective network diagnostic tools. With their sensitivity to circuit conditions, interactive voice and video more easily reveal problems with internet performance that other applications can limp through. A certain amount of packet loss and jitter won’t do much to your email or even a file download, but a video call will freeze, distort, and drop.
These issues reveal that your network likely needs an update. It needs to be reimagined for what we need it to do today…and what we will need of it tomorrow.
Enabling cloud-first business
To run the business the way that they imagined, the leadership of the mortgage service provider TruHome had a vision of improving their telephony system and becoming a cloud-first organization. To support all of that, they needed a more resilient network that wasn’t subject to outages or poor performance. However, moving beyond traditional network transport was daunting, because their call center locations were the heartbeat of their business.
Although cloud-based voice over IP (VoIP) solutions offered a lot of tempting advantages, any move that would increase the risk of downtime or compromise call quality was a non-starter. Their leadership, IT team, and consultants knew the stakes were high as they forged ahead planning a resilient, multiple-location network. They imagined a network that didn’t just improve their call quality but also positioned them to take advantage of other cloud-based applications for the future.
Data networks that use legacy architecture designed with an on-premise server mindset can hamper the evolution of business technology. Branch offices traditionally used carrier-based circuits on costly, rigid MPLS networks that centralize connectivity and bind together the network reliability of every location. This made sense when business resources were hosted on-premise at a single location.
Now and into the future, traffic is increasingly going to cloud-based resources, not to a central office. TruHome’s vision of a resilient, distributed network that relied on the internet and cloud-based solutions was a good plan. Unfortunately, the challenges they faced were different than what they were familiar with or prepared for.
The internet is a jungle filled with potential outages, poor BGP configurations, and flaky routers. The more you learn about how the internet functions, the riskier it sounds to rely on it as your business lifeline every second of every day.
And yet, this is what we do. The good news is that reliable, cost-effective internet performance is possible. With an intelligent software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), businesses can run mission-critical applications in the cloud without worry. As needs and applications change, the business can continue to adapt, all without major overhauls or downtime.
The SD-WAN needed today
The new technologies that enable business operations are less often found at centrally located on-premises servers. Other services are not all at the same location, either: phone, collaboration, transactions, and data originate with different providers that each need to be reliably accessible.
Networks should be more intelligent, dynamically and autonomously supporting the continuous evolution of business technology. IT teams can’t be focused on the day-to-day changes, particularly for their distributed workforce. SMBs need their IT staff and vendors to be working on long-term initiatives, not constant tweaks to QoS or troubleshooting flaky phone calls.
Organizations, especially SMBs, benefit greatly when they can count on their network to manage their traffic intelligently. The type of SD-WAN needed today understands the current challenges of ISPs and IT teams. It adds intelligence to an organization’s network by autonomously:
- assessing and adjusting to the conditions of a circuit in real-time
- recognizing business-type application traffic and prioritizing it end-to-end across a network, even when new technologies are introduced
- utilizing multiple connections for their best use, from load-balancing traffic across all circuits to delivering redundancy and seamless failover where connections stay up; continuing phone calls and internet access like nothing happened.
Today’s SD-WAN needs to achieve reliability and resilience without constant personal attention. Business-class traffic should travel reliably across commodity broadband without the need for technical staff to constantly monitor and make complex, manual configurations or compromise on firewall security.
The Right SD-WAN
The key to the TruHome plan was an SD-WAN that could intelligently optimize how traffic behaved on a network and provide the performance that VoIP and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) required. For it to have long term value, the implementation and ongoing management needed to be simple.
Before they found Bigleaf, the TruHome implementation was in trouble. The cost and complexity of a cloud-first network with the appropriate security controls was daunting. Knowing what problems the internet would throw at them, the planners were not convinced the architecture would be reliable. There was too much on the line to accept that.
“It’s one thing to run your data applications on ISP circuits and your telephony on a standard carrier separately. If one is down, some operations can still continue. When you are running data and telephony needs over the same solution, that means you must up the ante on your edge network and data circuits. It means you need a topology that allows you to leverage multiple diverse carriers and solves every outage scenario you can throw at it, not just the ones you think to write policies for.”John Pentlin, Vice President of IT, TruHome
Resilient and Autonomous Networks to Ignite Distance Collaboration
TruHome has been able to realize its vision of a resilient and autonomous network by implementing Bigleaf.
The Bigleaf Cloud Access Network peers to 150 cloud host providers, bringing cloud resources “closer.” Operations are less vulnerable to the many outages, breakages and slowdowns that occur across the internet.
The Bigleaf equipment and the Bigleaf Cloud Access Network function autonomously, providing intelligent responses to issues on the internet and to new applications brought online. No IT person needs to be available. No QoS rules need to be configured.
Operating as the firewall’s connection to the internet, the Bigleaf SD-WAN solution does not require any modifications to the firewall itself.
With reliable business-class voice and UCaaS over their internet connections, TruHome relies on intelligent, autonomous networks built with Bigleaf. With redundancy that maximizes the function of all connections and dynamically optimizes for mission critical services, they can move into their cloud-based future.
Want to see intelligent networking in action? Check out our webinar with Lionakis IT Director Matthew Onken, “Creating a Resilient Network.”