So what's driving the trend? In some cases, it's certainly cost. After all, it's much less expensive to roll out a business class broadband than a carrier T1, not to mention larger network pipes, and gain orders of magnitude in additional throughput. In situations where service level agreements aren't at the top of the priority list and Quality of Service (QoS) is not a concern, this could be a great fit. But beyond cost, customers are leveraging these types of services to quickly bring new locations online while private network circuits are being deployed (typically much more slowly). They're also often deployed to fulfill temporary requirements like seasonality or for short term offices or stores. Finally, in some cases these solutions are being deployed in place of unnecessarily robust backup connections. For example, where locations have duplicate network links because management of a VPN would have typically been too limited or onerous, viable alternatives are now available.
On the hardware front, there are numerous options available and additional hardware and appliances are being released all the time. We have seen clients successfully using Cisco's Meraki boxes, PepLinks, FatPipes, and Talari boxes to name a few. Carriers like Verizon Business and Masergy and others are embracing the trend and providing managed services to ease the burden of working with so many disparate connections. With the evolution of technology and the facilitation of the carriers, what used to be taboo in many organizations -deploying broadband as a primary mode of connectivity- is becoming more and more common, and companies are reaping the benefits in the form of reduced costs and increased agility. Even better, they can reinvest the savings on more mission critical connectivity and applications.
If you are not already discussing these options with your incumbent carriers, or looking into them for new locations, moves, etc. start now. Not only can immediate adoption, where appropriate help to assess the viability of these types of offerings with your company, trialing them now will help you to identify your requirements for your network the next time you go to market. If nothing else, it's worth being familiar with the option so you're ready to deploy it the next time a new office opens on short notice or an acquisition occurs, etc. it can take the edge off the short lead times that often pop up internally vs. the long lead times carriers tend to have for private network services. For more insight or help identifying the best fit technology and services for your company, contact Source One Management Services, LLC at www.sourceoneinc.com