The remote working edicts that started in March are continuing today for many workers across Europe. Using UC&C services with highly reliable connectivity allows businesses to maintain operations and keep their employees safe. Health experts are pointing to extended remote working as a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 whilst saving jobs and protecting the economy.
While this approach is not desired by most, businesses still must address the challenges of providing secure, reliable connectivity for all. One of the biggest hurdles is the variation in bandwidth requirements that occurs hour by hour, minute by minute in a typical home working day. Not only does the demand for throughput fluctuate continuously, but the remote-worker’s last-mile connection is different for every user.
Unlike the business environment, where IT has full control over infrastructure and service management, the team supporting remote working environments must deal with different connection types, speeds, and link quality from various internet service providers. Whether it’s DSL, cable, fibre, or fixed wireless access (FWA) services, the IT team is at the mercy of each remote worker’s ISP….. Well, almost.
Many businesses are well advanced in their digital transformation plans, but few had factored in the exponential increase in Work From Home (WFH) at the same time as branch offices turned into Ghost Towns. Architecting a Wide Area Network (WAN) that is highly flexible, agile and scalable has never been more critical. Suddenly the reliability, resilience and performance of the corporate WAN has to be extended to encompass tens, hundreds or even thousands of home working environments. Traditional network technologies, such as MPLS, are no longer applicable in this internet-led, cloud-first world.
SD-WAN is a relatively recent innovation which can be applied to the WFH conundrum. A business using SD-WAN to manage its home workers’ internet set ups benefits from several critical capabilities that transform unmanaged, low quality, flaky broadband into a reliable, resilient and performant extension to the WAN. With the right SD-WAN solution, businesses can truly deliver “Unbreakable Internet” which enhances the remote worker’s quality of experience at a very affordable monthly fee.
The Low Cost, Adaptable Edge
With most SD-WAN solutions the Edge appliance is wholly unsuitable for a WFH environment, being too large in size, too powerful and too costly for most people’s broadband set ups. A WFH solution needs to be a small, low cost device that sits inconspicuously alongside the home router delivering the required traffic control seamlessly and efficiently.
Reliability and Resilience
With an additional broadband line, the SD-WAN solution can add reliability and resilience into the mix, via packet steering and bandwidth aggregation, whilst seamless failover to a secondary broadband or 4G/5G link, upon primary link deterioration or failure, introduces resiliency to the set up.
The Intelligent Network Optimizes the User Experiences
Many SD-WAN solutions will directly manage the traffic flows between the edge device and the destination for the traffic. With an understanding of the traffic type, the edge device can prioritize site-to-site or cloud-bound, low-latency services like video and voice ahead of email and domestic traffic being sent from the home location. The ability to separate and manage these traffic streams ensures that the remote worker can effectively participate in collaborative sessions, while their email, voice services, and personal services continue to operate efficiently.
Zero-touch Cloud-based Control
A fourth, and crucial, function of any SD-WAN solution is its use of cloud-controlled provisioning and experience management. Deploying, managing, and monitoring each home network through a centralized portal ensures IT Teams can support remote workers with fast, optimal resolution when problematic links degrade user experience and productivity. The cloud-based solution provides both businesses and service providers with easy-to-interpret information and controls that can help adjust the connectivity to enhance the users’ experiences and improve business productivity.
Adaptiv Eliminates the Challenges
Businesses are having to react rapidly to the extra challenges of supporting so many remote workers. Initially it seemed it would be for a short, finite time period but now it is clear that WFH is here to stay for many months or even permanently. The pressure to put into place a more robust solution for the WFH scenario is evident. Using SD-WAN powered by Adaptiv Networks means that remote workers will have intelligent edge devices managed with cloud-controlled provisioning and service that create high-quality, reliable connectivity between the home broadband and the applications hosted in the datacenter and the cloud. With the ability to failover seamlessly between broadband and LTE links, Adaptiv’s SD-WAN solution truly provides the home worker with unbreakable internet connectivity to the corporate network and cloud hosted services.
Is your home broadband coping with the extra demands of working from home?
Watch our on-demand virtual conference, Business & Cloud Connectivity in a (Post?) Pandemic Era to learn more about this common challenge and how to solve it.
Adrian Tate is the VP of EMEA for Adaptiv Networks.
Adrian is a recognized expert in SD-WAN having appeared on panels for industry events, as well as participating in on-line forums. Prior to joining Adaptiv, Adrian held senior positions with Oracle/Talari, InfoVista and Riverbed.