In our last blog we explained how packet loss, latency and jitter can negatively affect VoIP call quality and recommended steps you can take to minimize their impact by making your network connections VoIP Ready. One of the most significant steps you can take to boost call performance is by leveraging the latest SD-WAN technology for enhanced quality of service (QoS) and user experience. In many ways, SD-WAN is VoIP’s new BFF.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN, or Software-defined wide-area networking, uses a software-based controller that automates service management and dynamically routes traffic over multiple connection types (e.g. MPLS, Internet, wireless) based on their performance.
The technology basically adds a layer of intelligence that allows you to route large portions of voice, video and other QoS-sensitive traffic over the best-available broadband connection(s).
While SD-WAN technology is used to control and optimize WANs for multilocation organizations, it also benefits small and medium businesses (SMBs) with a single location, especially those with an unreliable Internet connection. In either case, deploying an SD-WAN appliance in your network can boost your bandwidth, enhance network performance and security, and significantly improve the VoIP call experience.
What does an SD-WAN appliance do?
There are many SD-WAN appliances available on the market, but most have the following characteristics in common:
- Application Prioritization – This functionality detects the application flow and throttles non-priority traffic based on your preferences. The high-priority traffic, such as VoIP or video, gets to go first while others (email and web browsing) wait. This helps VoIP call quality tremendously because calls don’t have to compete for bandwidth.
- Bandwidth Bonding – This feature allows you to aggregate multiple connection links – cable, DSL, fiber, wireless, etc. – and share their bandwidth to increase capacity at a location and provide near-instantaneous failover. For example, if problems are encountered on a connection, traffic is rerouted to another connection seamlessly, without interrupting the voice call. This is called “session persistence” and is very attractive for networks supporting VoIP because it eliminates dropped calls.
- Forward Error Correction – Also called “channel coding,” this feature essentially duplicates your phone call’s data packets, giving every packet of every phone call two chances to succeed. This drastically minimizes packet errors and packet loss – things that make VoIP phone calls sound choppy or drop altogether.
- Dynamic Jitter Buffering – This feature detects the need for jitter buffering on-the-fly and applies it as needed, reducing jitter on your phone calls by collecting the data packets (that comprise your call), storing them and then sending them out in evenly spaced intervals.
- Network Security – An SD-WAN appliance also includes a firewall and intrusion prevention engine to keep networks secure. Threat definitions and filter lists are seamlessly updated, ensuring every site has the latest protection from vulnerabilities that can cause the network slowdowns and failures that impact VoIP call quality and user experience.
How does Broadvoice deliver SD-WAN?
Broadvoice Edge leverages best-in-class SD-WAN technology to connect all your locations across a secure, carrier-neutral, software-defined-network that has the same look and feel as traditional MPLS at a significant savings. It’s also carrier-agnostic, enabling you to create your own private cloud using multiple bandwidth providers of your choosing. Broadvoice does not require you to switch to certain providers.
The technology has many benefits including:
- Automatically adjusts to what is happening on your network
- Maximizes bandwidth access to critical services
- Provides private network benefits while using lower-cost transport
- Reduces network congestion
- Ensures constant uptime with built-in, self-healing algorithm
- Provides throughput of up to 1Gbps
It also enhances voice quality dramatically by making your network VoIP Ready.
Is Your Network VoIP Ready?
Check out our white paper for all the ins and outs of prepping your network for VoIP. Want to save time? Reach out to us for help ensuring your network is VoIP Ready by contacting us at 866-697-9112.