UCaaS at its Best: Prioritizing Communications with SD-WAN

by Scott Yelton
September 13, 2018

How well could your business function with on-going performance issues or a major network outage? If the mere thought gives you anxiety, you’re not alone. Cloud-based applications (and their performance) have become essential in our ability to communicate internally and serve our customers. While there is no end to the benefits that cloud-based communications and collaboration offer, poor performance and downtime with these real-time applications is simply unacceptable.

Unified communications video conferencing applications prioritized by SD-WAN

UCaaS meets SD-WAN

Due to the growing dependency on mission-critical cloud applications, we’re seeing more and more businesses opting to support unified communications as a service (UCaaS) with a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solution. These acronyms, if not already part of your vocabulary, will be soon, as they’re becoming more mainstream every day. The powerful combination of UCaaS with SD-WAN allows businesses to aggregate multiple connections at their locations in an active-active configuration that optimizes network traffic to improve performance and guarantee uptime and redundancy for our coveted voice, video and collaboration applications. We call this “UCaaS at its best”.

UCaaS applications have become the lifeline for businesses – and performing at their best – is certainly more critical than ever. Although highly beneficial, moving voice, chat and video conferencing and collaboration services to the cloud, can put increased strain on the network and cause performance issues. A consequence that can come with a hefty price – poor performance equals poor customer service, and poor customer service equates to customer loss.

The future is bright

The bright side? Averting these scenarios is entirely possible with the addition of SD‑WAN. SD-WAN provides higher Quality of Service (QoS) for your communications, with more visibility into the overall health of your network, and more control to drill down to site, network connectivity, and end-user and application levels.

For example, if your cloud applications are suffering because of an unusually slow network, you can actually see in real time that the slow-down is caused by employees streaming applications like Spotify, and just as easily, you can rate limit, or block Spotify traffic to ensure that UCaaS is a higher priority and has the bandwidth it needs.

Unlike traditional WANs, SD-WAN is more cost-effective and delivers increased network agility. On their own, broadband and wireless access solutions are vulnerable to voice and video quality issues such as packet delay, jitter and packet loss. However, businesses today have the option of blending these access solutions in an active-active configuration to attain the right mix of cost, performance, reliability and bandwidth for UCaaS applications by leveraging SD-WAN. It’s no wonder that 25% of businesses are predicted to manage their WAN through software by 2019.