Original information taken from Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure, 2020

WAN is changing, decisions are needing to be made and the demands on the network are increasing but what is the market doing? Why are they making these decisions and what is the current market trend towards WAN?

1. Internet Substitution for MPLS Connections

Many Gartner clients hope to fund their WAN expansion/updates by replacing or reducing the bandwidth of expensive MPLS connections with internet-based virtual private networks (VPNs), often from alternative providers. However, the suitability of internet connections varies by geography, access types and oversubscription levels, and service providers mixing connections from multiple vendors increases complexity. SD-WAN has simplified this approach for the following reasons: 

Due to the simpler operational environment and the ability to use multiple circuits from multiple carriers, enterprises can abstract the transport layer from the logical layer and depend less on their service providers. 

This decoupling of layers is enabling new MNS providers to emerge to take advantage of the above for customers that still want to outsource their WANs.

2. Automation and Agility

Many WAN changes remain manual and CLI-driven (more than 60% for many enterprises). Thus, in many inquiries regarding WAN, Gartner’s clients mention a desire to improve automation and agility. In some instances, the focus is on dedicated SD-WAN tools; however, this desire occasionally drives investment in nontraditional tooling, such as Ansible or intent-based networking. Gartner’s clients report operational savings as high as 90%, when comparing SD-WAN solutions with traditional router-based deployments (administration time of five minutes/month versus one hour/ month).

3. SaaS Optimization

Although WAN optimisation is in decline, SaaS optimisation isn’t. As more and more apps move to the cloud, optimising the performance in terms of packet loss, latency and jitter over the internet is becoming increasingly important. One obstacle to adopting internet access for enterprise applications is performance and SaaS optimisation looks to address this market need.

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