SD-WAN

Some of the advantages of using Buckeye Telecom versus a direct rep.

 

 

Single Point of Contact

Regardless of whether your Independent Telecom Agent recommends a single carrier solution or a multi-carrier solution for your company, you still have a single point of contact to deal with the person who knows your account best. During the pricing and evaluation process for new carriers, it is typical to request at least 3 bids and have at least two appointments with at least three carriers each. The number of appointments you schedule could easily surpass a dozen or more before an educated decision is made on your company's communications. When you use a qualified Independent Telecom Agent, you can spend a single appointment determining the best course of action for your company, and just one more evaluating the best options available in your market. Having a single point of contact is a huge time saver!

 Same Pricing

The exact same standard pricing is used in the Agent Channel and the direct sales channels. In spite of all of the additional knowledge you can tap into with Independent Agents, you can be sure you are not charged any extra for it. For large projects, special pricing is available to both Agent and direct channels at the same rates. It's an incredible model that helps the customer and agent win, and insures that all potential clients are treated equally. 

 Person Who Understands Your Company, How You Make Decisions, and Why

Your Independent Telecom Agent acts as an assistant buyer for your company once he/she understands your business needs and preferences. He/she gets to know your organization, information about your short and long term goals, and why and how you make decisions. Why would you want to repeat that process every couple of years?

You Get to Hear the Truth!

Perhaps this should be ranked #1! When you use the services of anexperienced Independent Telecom Agent, you tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience of someone who has been in the field for many years-and most likely with multiple carriers. Your agent will typically have experience dealing with multiple carriers in your market, including ones without a direct sales force, and can tell you how they actually perform. They won't paint the rosy picture all of the carriers would prefer you to see when you think of them. Who has the most reliable network? Who has billing problems? Who is going bankrupt? Who can make the desired install date? Who is buying business with low prices, but it may never get installed? When using an Independent agent, you don't have to listen to "The Company Story" for each carrier, as they tend to dress up their deficiencies anddownplay weaknesses. You get to hear the truth.

Unbiased Opinion of Multiple Carriers and Their Product Lines

Based on where your business is heading, whether that will be expanding, streamlining, or downsizing, your Independent Telecom Agent can put you in the right situation. Just like buying an inexpensive phone system that can't grow with you can create the need for a forklift upgrade sooner than expected, getting stuck with a carrier that can't meet your future expectations can be crippling to any operation. Since most carriers have gone to term agreements in the T-1 age of communications, it's key to get set up with a carrier that can migrate with your evolving needs. Do they have an MPLS network to support VoIP? Do they do SIP trunking? Can they offer an IP-VPN solution for your remote sites? Your Independent Telecom Agent understands the carriers' products and limitations, and can put you in the right solution for your company.

Agents are Invested in Your Success Long Term

This is an incredibly important concept to understand when choosing to use an Independent Telecom Agent!  Because Independent Telecom Agents arecommission only and residual based, earning a small percentage of the monthly telecom bills, it takes them, in many cases, up to 24 months to get paid what the direct representative will get paid 30 days after the sale. The entire motivation for someone even becoming an Independent Telecom Agent is to build a book of business of happy customers that no longer have to find a new representative every couple of years to deal with. This relationship only makes sense for the agent if you retain services with them for over 24 months, so they have EVERY motivation to assist you in addressing and solving any service issues that you may ever have. A good Independent Telecom Agent isn't just another business associate; they become part of your team. 

 They Understand Next Generation Technology

Independent Telecom Agents will typically be better versed in MPLS, IP-VPN, VOIP, hosted solutions, call center applications, and SIP technologies since they need to understand multiple carriers' offerings and have attended their trainings. Direct representatives will often know a few tweaks to their individual limited product line a little better than agents that do not exclusively sell their product do, but they will not have the overall understanding of all that is coming with new technology. No carrier can be the master of all technologies and master of all niches. It's a business impossibility. So it follows that it is nearly impossible for a direct representative to have the same breadth and width of exposure to the applications you are facing decisions on. Business is fiercely competitive, and implementation of some of the newer technologies correctly can literally save larger companies hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. 

Simply put, we are better, and we are much easier to work with.  Contact Us.

 

How to choose a software defined WAN (SD-WAN)

Great article about SD-WAN from Network World.  

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Only 1% of companies use software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions today, but Gartner says the promise of cost savings and performance improvements will drive that number to more than 30% by 2019.  Why aren’t more businesses deploying now given the sizeable list of vendor tools available?  It could be a lack of understanding about the varying approaches to bringing software-defined networking to the branch.

Before exploring those differences, let’s review why SD-WAN is so promising for branch environments. Compared to traditional WANs, SD-WANs reduce the complexity of network hardware at branch offices and centralize and simplify management. SD-WANs also allow businesses to augment or replace MPLS networks by using less expensive Internet links in a logical overlay and intelligently routing traffic over multiple paths directly to the Internet, rather than through a central data center. This improves application performance and makes more efficient use of bandwidth.So, what are the key considerations when choosing a SD-WAN solution? 

The first thing you should consider revolves around automated management and the impact automation will have on deployment and management costs. Even if a deployment is simple, how many IT resources and staff will you need to redesign, deploy and operate a new SD-WAN deployment? If new products, technologies and management tools are needed, will this require new skills or training? IT organizations should ask vendors how they minimize the cost and effort of “Day 2” operations management such as policy changes, adding new applications, security monitoring and image updates.

Route control is another important consideration for SD-WAN solutions.  Without proper route control, business critical applications running on the WAN may not get the bandwidth, priority and load balancing needed for the best user experience. Ideally, application traffic utilizes all available WAN circuits and bandwidth to make best use of an IT department’s existing WAN infrastructure, by load balancing across WAN circuits and utilizing backup edge routers.

Quality of Service policies within an SD-WAN solution will ensure that the most critical applications are sent over the highest performing paths, but you should consider a solution’s ability to detect problems and respond to network outages so that critical applications don’t experience loss of service. Managing the route control capabilities of an SD-WAN solution can be complex and looking at the management tools of a solution can provide insight into whether sophisticated features are easy to manage for IT.

An SD-WAN solution’s ability to support hybrid deployments, by combining multiple WAN transports such as MPLS, Internet, cellular or satellite links, is another factor you should take into consideration. Each has different capabilities in areas such as bandwidth, SLA classes of service, security postures, and pricing.

A secure dynamic VPN overlay simplifies deployment and operation by abstracting and hiding the complexity of each type of transport. IT departments should ask whether an SD-WAN solution supports all the types of transports an organization might need, and the speed of redundancy in the event of a failure. Solutions should also be scalable enough to meet future needs and support security features, such as encryption, that might be business critical.

Visibility into how in-house and SaaS applications are performing is also critical to ensuring the best user experience. You should consider what level of visibility an SD-WAN solution offers into application performance and which paths applications are taking over the network in real-time. A solution that optimizes TCP windowing, compression, object caching and content prepositioning will give you further insights into traffic prioritization and better application service level agreement, a key value in purchasing an SD-WAN solution.

One of the most common concerns about moving to software-based networking solutions is security. You should not assume data is protected over private MPLS VPNs, public Internet or cellular services. Instead, your SD-WAN solution should ensure data integrity and privacy over all WAN transports and specify what levels of encryption are supported. You should ask how automated the negotiation, renewal and revocation of IPsec encryption keys are between sites and how well the provider-facing interfaces are protected against outside attacks in areas such as scanning, penetration, and denial of service.

SD-WAN solutions can provide embedded firewall and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and offer advanced protection to users who access the Internet directly from the branch, particularly with capabilities such as content filtering and malware protection. IT departments looking at SD-WAN security features as a top priority should also consider solutions that have been evaluated by industry or government bodies, comply with common security certifications and have a formal incident response team in place to notify customers of vulnerabilities. 

The list might seem daunting, but with the SD-WAN market still young, vendor offerings are changing quickly. Taking these considerations into account will ensure that organizations new to SD-WAN will find improved performance, lowered costs and substantial security.