Wide area networking (WAN) has become a vital part of today’s business infrastructure. WANs facilitate a seamless flow of communication between data centers through private networks. Business organizations can share information and applications across different locations or sites using WAN.
This article reviews the common WAN options and provides pricing insights.
Software-defined WAN is a technology that uses software to manage the network. It’s a cost-effective alternative to traditional hardware-based MPLS networks, which are complex to configure and manage.
Advantages of SD-WAN
The benefits of SD-WAN include:
You can use inexpensive broadband connections instead of expensive leased lines or T1s. You will only pay for the bandwidth you need so that you won’t pay for unused capacity on your network.
Your business will be able to easily add new locations as needed and move employees from one office to another without worrying about whether there’s enough bandwidth at each location.
You can manage all your WAN connections from one central location instead of managing each connection separately at every site. This makes it easier to troubleshoot problems and maintain consistency across all areas.
Disadvantages of SD-WAN
Some of the challenges of using SD-WAN are:
- It may raise security concerns because it’s technically public
- Businesses find it difficult to adapt because of the need for skilled staff
- Incorrect SD-WAN may cause serious errors
- It still needs existing quality circuits to work optimally
SD-WAN Pricing Factors
Here are some of the main factors that affect SD WAN pricing:
The bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred between two points in a second. It is measured in bits per second (bps). The higher the bandwidth, the better the performance.
Latency is a significant factor that affects performance. It refers to the time it takes for a packet to travel from one point to another. A high-latency connection means more delay in sending and receiving signals between two points.
Resiliency is achieved by adding multiple connections between locations and replicating data across those links. This protects against outages due to natural disasters, equipment failure, or other events. The more resiliency you need, the higher the price of SD-WAN.
Service Term Length
One of the most critical WAN pricing factors is the service term length. The longer the service term, the less expensive it is per month.
Point to Point (P2P) WAN Pricing
A point-to-point connection is a dedicated line that provides direct connectivity between two locations. P2P is beneficial if you need increased bandwidth or have remote locations separated by miles. This type of connection is often used by businesses that require high reliability and very low latency (delay). For example, P2P WAN is ideal for :
- Video conferencing over high-bandwidth networks
- Secure remote connections to corporate networks
- Highly reliable backup connections
The Advantages of Using P2P WAN Private Lines
With a dedicated link, you can achieve higher bandwidth than shared connections. It’s also possible to increase speeds by upgrading your equipment if necessary. Fast speed can be essential for businesses that need to transfer large files or conduct other bandwidth-intensive activities.
A dedicated line is more reliable than a shared connection because no other users are sharing your bandwidth or causing congestion over the network. This means fewer outages and less downtime for your business’s operations.
P2P WAN Challenges
Some of the disadvantages of P2P WAN are:
- Can be costly
- Limited troubleshooting abilities
Factors That Impact P2P WAN Pricing
The key factors that affect P2P WAN pricing include:
Class of Service (CoS)
As the name implies, CoS refers to the level of priority that a specific traffic stream gets. It’s used to prioritize certain types of traffic over others. In other words, it ensures that low-priority data isn’t delayed by high-priority traffic.
The cost of encrypting data varies dramatically based on the type of encryption used and whether it’s implemented at the application or network level.
Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps). The more bandwidth you need, the more expensive your monthly bill is.
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a family of techniques for forwarding and routing traffic through a network. MPLS can be used to create virtual private networks (VPNs) or to add quality-of-service guarantees. The MPLS header, added to each packet, contains a label used to forward the packet through the MPLS cloud.
The advantages of using MPLS include:
- Since labels are assigned on a per-packet basis, MPLS can be more efficient than routing.
- Reliable connectivity
- MPLS allows for scalability
- Lower cost since it is a layer three technology
- MPLS providers don’t offer inherent security features
- The provider has total control over MPLS
- Higher cost compared to P2P
- It doesn’t provide for cloud optimisation
MPLS Pricing Factors
The factors affecting MPLS pricing include:
- MPLS leasing terms
- The service quality
- Network attributes such as latency and jitter
- Router management
- Service term length
Dark Fiber Pricing
Dark fiber is unused fiber optic cables. It is a resource that allows for the future expansion of bandwidth but is not being used. Dark fiber can be leased to companies looking to expand their existing networks or companies who need additional bandwidth but don’t want to pay for the total cost of installing new infrastructure.
Dark Fiber Advantages
The advantages of dark fiber include:
- Cost savings depending on the location
- Reliable bandwidth
- Businesses are in total control of the network systems
- Better level of security and resilience
Dark Fiber Disadvantages
Here are some limitations of using dark fiber:
- Limited availability
- Technical complications of integration
Wave Circuit Pricing
Wavelength services use lasers and fiber-optic cables to transmit data at high speeds and long distances. Wavelength services are similar to packet-switched networks, but they can transfer data faster, making them ideal for large organizations that need to send and receive large amounts of information simultaneously.
The benefits of using wavelength services include:
- Cheaper than P2P WAN
- Fiber optic cables are efficient
- Easy scalability
- High WAN performance
Some of the challenges of using wave circuits are:
- Fiber is difficult to splice and test
- Fiber cables are prone to damage during installation
Wave Circuit Pricing Factors
Several factors that affect wave circuit pricing include:
- Market size
- bandwidth requirements
- Service term length
WAN is the backbone of any business communication. And as you can see, it is critical to understand the factors that affect the pricing of your WAN infrastructure. Your enterprise’s specific needs, such as bandwidth requirements, security features, router management, and service term length, are likely to impact the cost of your WAN.