Research Hub > Why the Intersection of SD-WAN and UCaaS Is Valuable to Business

January 07, 2021

Article
3 min

Why the Intersection of SD-WAN and UCaaS Is Valuable to Business

Together, Unified Communication as a Service solutions and software-defined wide area networking can help to transform communication.

Paul Canalori

Robert Herriage

video-conference
Many companies were already adopting collaboration technologies before the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring. But the massive shift to a remote work model has created a sort of forced proof of concept for numerous businesses, with employees and managers learning on the fly how to use these tools to support productivity and collaboration.

Learn how CDW can help your organization deploy SD-WAN for greater network control.

One thing that many business and IT leaders have discovered: Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) solutions and a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) are often a good fit.

UCaaS refers to cloud-delivered capabilities, including voice and telephony, meeting solutions, messaging, presence and other communication applications. With SD-WAN, advanced software simplifies the operation of complex WANs while optimizing the end-user experience.

Here are several reasons why these two technologies work so well together.

SD-WAN Delivers Greater Control Over Quality of Service

Some companies have been hesitant to use video collaboration solutions, concerned about the ability to maintain a consistent, high level of quality during video meetings. While video collaboration has come a long way in recent years, and the day-to-day performance of modern solutions now typically meets the needs of most users, there are some use cases (telemedicine, for example) where even a minor glitch is unacceptable. The nice thing about SD-WAN is that companies can use it to shape and prioritize traffic that they’re sending out over the public internet, at home or in the office. By prioritizing traffic from video and voice calls, organizations can ensure a high-quality end-user experience.

An Extra Layer of Security Protects Communication

Similarly, SD-WAN allows organizations to add a layer of security to UCaaS traffic that is sent out over the public internet. Even five years ago, many business and IT leaders would have balked at the idea of using the internet to send such traffic, but SD-WAN makes a higher level of security possible.

Enhanced Network Control Provides Support for Remote Work

Historically, SD-WAN has been considered primarily for large campuses or branch offices with multiple network connections or circuits. However, we now see widespread use of SD-WAN solutions in smaller remote offices, and some organizations have even placed SD-WAN appliances in users’ homes to guarantee a high level of performance for UCaaS applications and more.

For instance, a law firm CDW works with has equipped its top-billing attorneys with SD-WAN appliances, giving those lawyers the ability to conduct depositions from their homes during the pandemic. Not only does this allow the attorneys to continue to bill for their usual services, but they’re also able to perform more depositions because they can now schedule them back to back, without having to worry about available conference space or other limitations of a physical office.

SD-WAN Helps Companies Reduce Spending on Network Connections

The alternative to SD-WAN, typically, is a company’s multiprotocol label switching network. Many companies have continued to pour significant financial resources into MPLS, despite the emergence of alternatives such as SD-WAN, because of the quality assurance that comes with sending traffic out over their own network. But through SD-WAN, companies can now spend a fraction of what they spent previously on MPLS, while improving the end-user experience through various quality-of-experience mechanisms.