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How SD-WAN Benefits Unified Communications

Unified communications (UC) enables your company to connect its distributed workforces as if they were meeting face to face without incurring the expense of business travel. Collaboration using high-definition (HD) video and voice, instant messaging, presence, and desktop sharing increases employee productivity, but it also comes with higher bandwidth requirements.

When using UC applications, your employees expect a positive experience across multiple devices regardless of their locations. But, your network can be challenged to provide sufficient bandwidth to support video conferencing and other UC applications, especially at the branch. Routing real-time communications traffic over MPLS is expensive, making it especially cost prohibitive for smaller companies to adopt UC.

How SD-WAN Benefits UC Applications

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology provides a powerful yet simple solution for designing, deploying, and managing distributed networks for today's cloud-connected enterprises. SD-WAN benefits your enterprise by offering the flexibility to connect any mix of MPLS, Internet VPN, and public Internet and provides the reliability, cost-effectiveness, and security required to support your UC needs.

SD-WAN decouples the network and the control plane, which allows for central control of network-wide policy and security. A software-defined approach makes it easier to adapt to the changing demands of application delivery and user productivity and helps maximize the use of UC.

Enhance UC with Business Policies and QoS

Whether you're using on-premises or cloud-based UC, reliable connectivity is critical. With SD-WAN you can establish global business-aligned policies that automate enforcement of performance objectives and access privileges for UC users, wherever they may be.

SD-WAN can automate QoS to prioritize UC apps based on need or priority and the WAN path quality (latency, jitter, packet loss), and transport those apps over any network, including public networks, leveraging built-in security capabilities. For example, business-critical video and applications can be prioritized over recreational video and sent over less costly or less congested networks.

QoS prioritizes apps, users, and data flows to guarantee performance and meet SLAs. Network QoS automatically ensures fair or better network access and bandwidth for critical apps during periods of network congestion. In addition, it ensures sufficient bandwidth for key applications, including VoIP, live video, and thin clients -- without you having to reserve or buy more bandwidth.

IT also can utilize easy-to-manage, business-intent policies to automatically select a path, like the public Internet, for a specific app (like a live event) or group of apps (such as training videos). Thus, IT can cost-effectively offload bandwidth-consuming apps to the less costly Internet.

Support UC at the Branch

Your organization's branch offices are critical to your business and collaboration using UC tools is vital. But branch bandwidth can be insufficient, especially for video requirements. Until now, enterprises have had to move to broadband at the branch offices to ensure sufficient bandwidth to support UC applications such as video.

SD-WAN provides a simple, cost-effective solution to enable the rapid deployment of network connectivity to your branch offices and provides centralized control that helps ease the management burden.

SD-WAN can benefit your enterprise with automated zero-touch deployment and provisioning in seconds at the branch office. Holistic change management across branch locations with a simple change to the single traffic, security, or port policy means no downtime at the branch.

Make Your UC Performance More Visible

The best SD-WAN solutions provide a single unified view from a cloud console and integrated management of hybrid WANs, cloud networks, and branch wireless and wired LANs under a single policy framework. Centralized management with easy-to-use, menu-driven workflows can eliminate tedious, error-prone CLI configuration. Intuitive, cloud-centric SD-WAN workflows enable instant network expansion through zero-touch provisioning at remote locations and automated single-click connectivity and orchestration into cloud environments.

You can detect every application on your network and optimize bandwidth with application-aware policies. SD-WAN monitors application performance and troubleshoots issues that arise. And it delivers applications based on business-intent policies that make your life easier -- without adding any new capabilities or solutions. Deep packet inspection precisely identifies application flows and classifies more than 1,300 applications -- on-premises or in the cloud.

SD-WAN Enhancing UC

SD-WAN's ability to offload large amounts of video, VoIP, and other recreational traffic from the MPLS to the more cost-effective Internet at the edge and go direct to the cloud can mean costs-savings, efficiency, and a better UC experience for users. It can save bandwidth for critical apps, reduce unnecessary bandwidth usage, and ensure faster access to apps for improved user productivity. SD-WAN allows you to realize the full potential of UC.