CenturyLink offers managed SD-WAN service

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) will jump into software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), the company announced last week. The CenturyLink SD-WAN, which will leverage SD-WAN and security technology from Versa Networks, aims to unify network management across differing network types to create a flexible, responsive wide area network. The service provider will offer prospective customers the opportunity to test drive the service before committing to it.

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) will jump into software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), the company announced last week. The CenturyLink SD-WAN, which will leverage SD-WAN and security technology from Versa Networks, aims to unify network management across differing network types to create a flexible, responsive wide area network. The service provider will offer prospective customers the opportunity to test drive the service before committing to it.

The U.S. Tier 1 service provider says its SD-WAN service will combine site connectivity, equipment, software licensing, configuration, performance tuning and monitoring available via a management and analytics portal. Customers will be able to use the portal to manage their own policies or they can have CenturyLink do so. CenturyLink says it also will be able to manage connectivity from a varied set of providers as part of an aggregated service set. Customers will be able to create standalone SD-WAN networks or take a hybrid approach that integrates MPLS and SD-WAN connected sites.

"Cloud-based applications, media streaming, video surveillance, enhanced analytics, and in-store experience continue to push the network needs of the enterprise. Without significant increases to their traditional private network budgets, enterprises are challenged to meet these ever-growing demands, improve the end-user experience, and ensure security and application performance," said CenturyLink CTO Aamir Hussain. "CenturyLink SD-WAN offers a game-changing approach, enabling an instantly better network experience and addressing many of the common pain points faced by organizations that need high-speed, cost-effective network services for numerous locations."

The proof-of-concept offer will enable potential customers to trial the SD-WAN service for 90 days without charge. CenturyLink will provide the customer-premise equipment, access to a management portal and full customer support for up to five sites as part of the trial.

The CenturyLink SD-WAN is in pilot trials currently with more than 10 enterprises. It will be generally available in the third quarter of this year.

Versa Networks says CenturyLink built the SD-WAN service "[b]y leveraging Versa's software-based instances of networking functions deployed on non-proprietary hardware." Versa also will supply its Versa FlexVNF technology to support SD-security.

Centurylink has aggressively pursued the appliations of software-defined networking and network functions virtualization in its network (see "CenturyLink expects full network virtualization by 2018"). Its impending SD-WAN offering follows that of other U.S. Tier 1 carriers who have followed a similar SDN/NFV path (see, for example, "Verizon partners with Viptela on SD-WAN").

For related articles, visit the SDN/NFV Topic Center.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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