When you use the cloud for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), storage and essential business applications, you’re literally relying on internet service providers to deliver your data reliably. Even at the best of times, that traffic flow – whether it’s voice, email, video or data files – can be a real mess if it isn’t managed by a load balancing device.
Typical Network Without Traffic Management
Here’s how that looks. When outbound traffic kicks off from a desktop, laptop or mobile device and hits your internet connection, it causes chaos and contention. Without rules to prioritize and guide the traffic, all the application data gets jumbled together. There’s competition for bandwidth. Packets get lost, videos glitch, calls and virtual desktop sessions drop and people get frustrated. When you’re maxed out on bandwidth, the issues get even worse. Applications bog down and return errors.
That’s the opposite of what you expected from the cloud!
When this happens, it’s not because your UCaaS applications aren’t working or your internet it broken – it’s because the bandwidth that it’s running across isn’t being managed, or because with new demands on your network, you no longer have enough bandwidth. You need more and you need it managed.
That’s not a problem!
Traffic Managed with SD-WAN
Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) features a Quality of Service (QoS) engine that allows you to write rules and organize your network traffic. You can prioritize what type of data – voice, for example – is most important, and how much bandwidth it should always have. It gets its own guaranteed lane.
You can do this for other applications as well and create order from the chaos. This alone will solve many bandwidth contention issues.
Next, Add Redundancy
The next step is to add bandwidth through a second, redundant connection. It’s easy and affordable to add another line and set policies for that link. You can then use both links in an active-active way. That’s more bandwidth, managed optimally for your applications.
Automatic Failover and Failback
Now let’s say there’s a service outage on your primary link. What happens? If you didn’t have a second connection, you’d be dead in the water. But with two active links, the QoS rules you set up will route your priority traffic to the still working link. Bandwidth allocations may look different than what you set up initially, and that’s on purpose, to make sure your highest priority traffic continues to get through. Those rules are completely customizable.
When the outage is repaired and the link is restored, your SD-WAN automatically goes back to its original policy configuration. Nice!
Packet Duplication for a Truly Never Down Environment
There’s one more aspect of SD-WAN you need for Unified Communications. By using a form of traffic routing called packet level duplication, you send the same traffic (say your voice calls) down both connections. It goes from the WANworX device in your headquarters to the WANworX virtual instance in the Azure cloud and vice versa, guaranteeing each packet will be received on the other side, even if a link fails. Your calls won’t drop. It’s a truly Never Down configuration.
Summary: What Does SD-WAN do for UCaaS?
- Optimizes your existing ISP circuit with an advanced QoS engine
- Allows you to prioritize traffic and guarantee bandwidth to select applications, like voice calls
- Provides failover rules for when (not if!) there’s an outage
- Allows for packet duplication to guarantee your Never Down environment
All of this means your Unified Communications will work seamlessly, even when there’s an outage, and even if there’s competition among applications for bandwidth.
If you’re migrating to the cloud and deploying UCaaS, you need SD-WAN to keep your operations running smoothly.