Is Goodmill an SD-WAN solution?18.05.2020
Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) has been one of the hottest topics in networking for a long time and it continues to be perhaps the second biggest topic and potential improvement in connectivity after 5G. We are quite often approached by customers with an initial question: “Can you do SD-WAN?”
You might have guessed that the answer depends, since there is no common standard definition of SD-WAN and therefore customers’ understanding of what SD-WAN is varies greatly. Even Wikipedia just lists characteristics without giving a definition. So, instead of definitions, we look for the customer’s objectives, before assuring that we can do it. On one end of the spectrum we have customers, who are getting robbed with expensive MPLS prices and simply want to migrate to a solution that works over consumer grade Internet connections and on the other end we are talking about a specific demanding use case, where the use and selection of networks needs to be flexible and driven purely in real time in software.
“Features of SD-WANs include resilience, quality of service (QoS), security, and performance, with flexible deployment options; simplified administration and troubleshooting; and online traffic engineering.” -- Wikipedia
Strictly technically, our router setups are inherently software defined solutions that combine and select in real time, which wide area networks to use underneath an encrypted connection. This creates resilience, QoS, security, performance and extreme deployment flexibility ticking all the boxes mentioned on Wikipedia. Further our backend elements such as VPN gateways, Mobile-IP servers, etc. that are at the other end of the WAN link, have never been dedicated hardware, but simple software solutions for administration, troubleshooting and traffic engineering. We are just now starting our business of providing the router as a licensed software to more generic third-party hardware with selected partners. So, yes, we are providing SD-WAN solutions every time we provide a solution at all. But rarely are we the correct solution for a person trying to combine a few ISPs into a single connection to use at his remote office location with 5 employees.
In our customers’ use cases, the business problem is almost never cost optimization of existing networks. Discounting cases where we can help the customer avoid building completely dedicated wireless networks like private LTE deployments. The problem is not maximizing throughput to help download speeds. Our customers’ common need is the maximization of reliability and coverage for every second when truly important things and even lives are at the line. Often in a fast-moving vehicle. A software defined solution for such a WAN need, might be called a Critical SD-WAN. And for a customer asking, if we can do Critical SD-WAN, our answer is a resounding yes.