MetTel Unveils New SD-WAN Services

The managed communications service provider's rollout comes seven months after the company announced a partnership with SD-WAN vendor VeloCloud.


MetTel, which offers managed communications services, is making the move into the fast-growing software-defined WAN space with a solution aimed at enterprise and midmarket customers.

Company officials unveiled the new offering May 17, saying that software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is becoming one of the top communications services requested, especially among organizations in the retail, health care, hospitality and transportation markets.

MetTel is offering its SD-WAN solution through its carrier partners, which include AT&T and Verizon, allowing end users to take advantage of a fully managed network deployment and enabling them to expand and unify the transport models they're using in their campus and remote networks. The service provider's holistic solution offers the affordability, agility, efficiencies and security that organizations are looking for in their deployments, according to Gary Gluzman, executive director of product at MetTel.

"When dealing with a multilayered, hybrid solution like SD-WAN, organizations should consider consolidating all related products under a single network to fully realize its potential," Gluzman said in a statement.

SD-WAN technologies are getting a lot of attention from organizations having to manage the pressures being put on their networks from such trends as mobility, the Internet of things (IoT) and the cloud. Enterprises traditionally have used transport models like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to move data traffic between campus environments and central data centers. However, with greater mobility and the cloud, applications are coming from a variety of sources, including the cloud, and direct connections are needed. Businesses are looking for ways to make the WAN more agile, scalable and affordable, and want to incorporate and unify multiple transport models—not only MPLS but also broadband, DSL, 3G and 4G.

The demand is growing quickly. Gartner analysts expect the percentage of enterprises using SD-WAN technologies to jump from about 1 percent now to 30 percent by 2019. Meanwhile, IDC analysts are predicting that the SD-WAN market will grow from less than $225 million last year to $6 billion by 2020. Almost two dozen vendors—from established companies like Cisco Systems and Riverbed Technology to pureplay startups like Talari Networks, CloudGenix, Aryaka and Viptela—are in the space, and many are seeing significant gains in their customer bases.

MetTel in October 2015 announced a partnership with one of those pure-play vendors, VeloCloud, to incorporate VeloCloud's cloud-based SD-WAN solution into MetTel's managed communications services. VeloCloud offers a network overlay, with software that runs on standard x86 systems in a company's branch offices or remote sites as well as in the cloud. They connect to VeloCloud Gateways housed in cloud data centers worldwide run by Amazon Web Services, Equinix and others, and the gateways ensure that all applications and workloads are delivered through the most optimized data paths.

Cisco was among the investors that raised $27 million for VeloCloud in the smaller company's most recent round of funding.

MetTel officials said the company's Layer 3 SD-WAN solution offers a range of capabilities, including an IT portal for policy management and path optimization, monitoring of network usage, international coverage with speeds up to 10G, and private and portable IP addressing. It not only reduces the cost of ownership, but also hardware costs by consolidating branch equipment into a single, cloud-controlled device. There also is less downtime with the application steering and traffic prioritization capabilities, MetTel officials said.