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Using SD-WAN to Unify Communications with NEC and InfoVista

SD-WAN is a great tool for fixing issues with your branch offices. IT staff have needed more control over their networks for quite a while. They’ve also needed to find ways to integrate more consistent technologies and reduce costs. That means supporting all the applications that need to run across the WAN. While most of the conversation has been focused on solving problems with software applications, the growing use of unified communications in organizations is also a concern for those looking to deploy SD-WAN.

Unified communications (UC) has different needs than the typical knowledge worker application. It is very intolerant of delay and jitter in the stream. If you start adding things like video into the mix you start to see even more requirements to make the user experience critical to the business. You have to be able to deliver this in a way that meets the requirements above while keeping your internal customers happy. Unless your solution is focused on the UC experience, you may find SD-WAN lacking in what you want to accomplish.

NEC Enters The Picture

I had a chance to sit down and talk to NEC recently about solving challenges around UC and SD-WAN. NEC is a company that has been focused on software defined networking (SDN) for quite a few years. Their OpenFlow switching line has been a favorite for data center engineers for a while. But as the world changes to focus more on cloud and branch offices, I was left wondering where NEC would fit in.

As it turns out, NEC has a lot of stake in the UC space as well. The SV9100 platform is focused on the small and medium business user space. This market is often underserved because they don’t have the budget to build out a large scale WAN infrastructure to help optimize traffic patterns for users to mitigate any UC issues.

NEC knew they needed to embrace SD-WAN to help their SMB/SME UC business grow and continue to provide the same quality of experience that their users were accustomed to. Rather than attempt to build their own SD-WAN platform to do this and risk wasting time and resources, they instead decided to partner with a leading company in the SD-WAN space.

InfoVista already has a great track record in the SD-WAN space and has been making some good partnership decisions with companies to roll out their platform far and wide. However, InfoVista has been focused on larger enterprises and solving their challenges. That’s great if you have dozens of sites and thousands of users. But moving that expertise down into a package that works for smaller organizations has been thus far elusive.

Thanks to the partnership with NEC, InfoVista can now help address this market as well. InfoVista has created a special package of their SD-WAN platform designed to integrate with NEC’s UC solutions and provide the kind of application-aware intelligence you need to keep your users happy and working effectively. You get the experience that NEC has with UC applications and hardware along with the proven performance of InfoVista. It’s a win-win for everyone.

When you add in the extra added benefits that you get from NEC’s other experience, including their new hyperconverged hardware platforms and SDN experience, you get a fully customizable platform that can give you all kinds of amazing capabilities. One example from our discussion revolved around using OpenFlow to prioritize VIP and emergency calls through the network to ensure delivery. Now, with the Infovista partnership, you can extend that capability through the WAN to any site. It’s the little things that you can build on to provide the kind of experience that keeps your users happy.

Bringing It All Together

SD-WAN isn’t something that is only for large enterprises. SD-WAN has benefits for every type of organization no matter how large or small. But the value proposition for small business is a bit different. That means that you need a company that has experience in both the technology and the way it’s applied. Thanks to the forward thinking of the team from NEC, you can get the best of both worlds with their industry-leading UC platform and the partnership with InfoVista to provide SD-WAN capabilities to enhance your user experience.

For more information on the NEC SD-WAN solution, make sure you check out

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at

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