Airtel Business: Driving Innovations to Unlock the SD-WAN Opportunity

Alok Shukla
Alok Shukla, Head – Product & Business Solutions, Airtel Business

Spotlight on SD-WAN |

As organisations in India look for securely connecting users, applications and data across multiple locations – SD-WAN is fast emerging as a great way to enable improved performance, reliability and scalability for enterprise community. Backed by a unique legacy of connecting India, Airtel Business is driving a lot of innovation for enterprise users with its SD-WAN offerings. 

Software-defined Wide Area Network or (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to use any combination of transport services – including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services – to securely connect users to multiple set of applications and data flows. This is changing the basic communications fabric for enterprise and resulting in huge business benefits as well.

With the help of deploying SD-WAN solutions, enterprise is able to securely connect users, applications and data across multiple locations while providing improved performance, reliability and scalability. SD-WAN also simplifies the management of WANs by providing centralized control and visibility over the entire network.

Alok Shukla, Head – Product & Business Solutions, Airtel Business says that SD-WAN is a very important priority for Airtel Business today.

“The market is moving very fast into a hybrid network scenario, which is traditionally, the MPLS, Internet and further moving to 4G, 5G or broadband solutions. And then, very rapidly again cloud adoption is happening. So, I think these are the two factors which are driving SD-WAN adoption in India,” he said.

Airtel Logo

And as a result of the above trend for enterprise, this is the new way of experiencing their network and it is also solving some of the fundamental business problems for them around cost, agility and network visibility.

SD-WAN = Big Business Benefits

Adoption of SD-WAN is bringing a lot of business benefits for the enterprise community. It is improving their business agility while reducing overall WAN cost. This is also increasing their security and seamlessly transition to a future-ready SASE architecture. SD-WAN helps enterprise to seamlessly enable an easy to manage cloud architecture and simplify their WAN infrastructure.

All this helps an enterprise to centrally manage their network operations and get a unique visibility perspective as well.

“The whole complexity of managing an MPLS, Internet and Cloud platform and the security policies around those sites is all centralized in SD-WAN, so on the whole rollout and the management is much faster and simpler once you’ve done the initial high level and low-level design and templatized your whole ecosystem,” Alok says.

“And as you move between a traditional network to this hybrid kind of a network which still has bits of MPLS, Internet and cloud, you are better able to utilize your links and therefore you’re also able to drive cost efficiencies there. So clearly there’s a cost benefit and managing such a massive network dealing with telcos and network system integrators for your AMC’s and configurations, all of this is getting simplified now because everything is being offered as a service.” He added.

The Airtel Differentiation with Innovations

While enterprise customers have a complex option to enable SD-WAN with the help of multiple vendors on network, security and deployment side, Airtel is seamlessly simplifying the process by bringing a lot of innovation with an end-to-end approach to deliver complete SD-WAN offering for their customers.

“In any ecosystem, typically you have network, then you have a secondary network usually in most places. Then you have a technology partner for network, a security partner for the network. Then, finally you would have a local or a national system integrator who puts this all together for your IT team. Airtel is an integrated player in this whole value chain across network, simplifying SD-WAN for customers and removing a lot of complexity in the process. And therefore for customer all this layer is just one Airtel.

We have also simplified the model where the customer doesn’t have to invest in Capex and it’s all delivered as a service layer, so all this layer comes as a simple network type – network as a service, kind of a layer.”

And most importantly, being a national player, Airtel is delivering unprecedented and unique combination to scale technology and communications for enterprise and this is quite important for customers when it comes to deploying SD-WAN.

“Some customers have a preference for certain technology partners while others don’t have a preference but want their business problem to be solved. They want their link utilizations to be optimally used. We have also invested in this startup company called Lavelle Networks, because we want to have a much deeper say in what SD-WAN should look like for customers and solve their problems. While obviously the big giants will always have a strong foothold, we also need nimbleness, speed and customizations in certain markets and this is where Airtel has its clear differentiation and its demand is being created,” he adds on.