Is a WAN a fit with your business or are you forcing your business to fit in with your WAN?

Posted by Karen on Oct 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM
Trends are prevalent in all industries, not least in IT where technology is perpetually subject to change and innovation. One of the trends we’ve witnessed over the last decade is the Managed WAN. WAN being an organisation’s Wider Area Network i.e allowing multiple users in multiple locations to communicate as if all part of one network. The WAN Network, particularly as it expands, taking on more users and applications, becomes a complex beast and The Managed WAN – whether MPLS , IPSec VPN or PWAN in essence offers to make it simple. However, one detrimental by-product of service providers’ desire to simplify the operation of the WAN, and indeed simplify the way of selling the WAN, is that the Managed WAN has evolved into a packaged product – one incapable of meeting the ever changing and bespoke needs of differing organisations with differing sites and infrastructures. For example, I’ve spoken to several IT Managers recently who all wished they hadn’t signed up for 3 (or in one case 5) years on their WAN, as head office is soon going to be able to get VDSL and the rigidity of their one contract, one service provider arrangement means they will be unable to benefit. What technology are you going to be behind the curve on in the next 6 months? VDSL? LTE? Mobile private networks? What might you do when you open up new offices, or bring new home workers on board and their needs don’t fit in with the one solution your WAN ISP might have at the exchange? Beware of being shoehorned into the 5 year WAN package. Yes it might be opex friendly and the price and technology might look the business now, but it’s unlikely to look that way in a couple of years. My advice is to keep flexible, and look for a provider who offers short contracts and choice of service and technology depending on your business needs.
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