Our blog

Why you need a balanced approach to your network’s future


20 October 2016

Keith Langridge

Blogs by author: Keith Langridge, Vice President of Network Services, BT.


Keith Langridge, fresh from the WAN Summit, explains why there’s lots to think about when it comes to the future of your network.

A new generation of complexity.
Customers today are grappling with an unprecedented generation of technological complexity. The corporate network is changing rapidly, driven by developing networking technologies, user devices, applications and behaviours. And, in this complicated new world, customers need a simple, agile network that adapts to their requirements and meets their increasing expectations.

But what can provide this? What’s the best way for users to enable their digital possible?

The WAN Summit, London.
I was recently part of the panel at the WAN Summit in London where I, along with other industry experts, explored how carriers are responding to changing network needs. One of the things we noted is the way customers’ corporate strategies are being rewritten to benefit from digital technologies.

Looking to the future, and examining predictions for the next five years, it’s clear that cloud and network infrastructures need to have greater agility to cope with today’s demands. In particular, they need to adapt to the changing expectations of customers.

Keith Langridge participating in a panel discussion at the WAN Summit, London.Keith Langridge participating in a panel discussion at the WAN Summit, London.

Balance is the best way forward.I
really enjoyed debating these topics, and for me, the answer is balance. I believe that the solution lies in a hybrid approach; one that combines new insights and technologies, and takes customers on a journey to find the outcome that works best for them.

Many customers today want to be better connected, with more capacity to deal with video, data, the Internet of Things and cloud services. And many look to new innovations like SDN, NFV and SD-WAN for the answers. These evolutions do create new possibilities, but in order to find the best-fit solution for each specific customer, they need to be considered carefully.

There’s lots to think about.
Few enterprises today are truly starting from scratch — most have existing infrastructure. That means organisations need to think about which of these technologies will provide the best solution to their business requirements now, and in the future. Despite the excitement around SD-WAN, I believe that there will always be a place for MPLS. If SD-WAN is right for you, it won’t replace what you already have, so much as contribute to it.

And there’s a lot to consider with regard to this technology:

  • Integrated services and choice.
  • Control of what you have and how to use it.
  • The right network security for your organisation.
  • Adaptability of bandwidth and services that can be deployed quickly.
  • Cloud integration.
  • Service options that fit your business model — from a fully-managed service to a self-service option.
  • Scalability so you can configure solutions to ensure a consistently secure service across many geographies and global sites.

Finding the answer.
So, which is right for you? SD-WAN? MPLS? Something in the middle? As I mentioned earlier, it all depends on what you, as a customer, need.

And we’re making sure our Dynamic Network Services investment roadmap can provide this, whatever your requirements may be. It takes full advantage of new technologies like NFV, SDN and SD-WAN — connecting the most dynamic networks on earth to create a bold, exciting new set of services.

To offer what’s right for every customer, it includes:

  • an integrated cloud-based approach, managed through one portal
  • bandwidth that can be scaled to meet demand
  • virtual services that are deployed when and where required, quickly and securely using NFV
  • plug-and-play options for fast, easy deployment with reduced human interaction
  • SD-WAN solutions that are transport independent, use central controllers and are integrated with virtual services from many vendors
  • simple pricing.

For more information on how we’re making this happen, have a read of our vision paper, or download the IDC SD-WAN InfoBrief, and find out why a balanced approach to SD-WAN matters.