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How does SD-WAN support video conferencing requirements?

Video quality can suffer if the network can't meet its high bandwidth needs. Networking expert Carrie Higbie Goetz explains how SD-WAN supports video conferencing requirements.

Video conferencing can take on many forms and protocols. For enterprises that have experienced problems, such as...

delay and jitter on voice over IP platforms, you know some platforms are better than others. The big variance in supporting video conferencing requirements is the integrity of traffic over wide-area connections. 

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology removes the need for physical connections from point A to point B by using logical connections or tunnels. But the biggest advantage is SD-WAN is link-agnostic. It doesn't care if the line is Long Term Evolution, OCx or DSL; the software still manages the links. These lower-cost circuits can provide significant savings for small or remote offices when compared with more expensive MPLS circuits. 

With increased video traffic, transmission problems can only get worse. For proper support of video conferencing requirements, you want to prioritize traffic or provide better links to improve service. Data, such as file transfer, can handle some retransmissions. But, with voice and video, dropped packets create gaps that materialize in the form of missing words and pixelated video.

If a company is not using dedicated MPLS for voice and video, it will need some way to assign a higher priority to voice and video, or provide a better circuit to mitigate dropped packets. SD-WAN is one such service for video conferencing support, as it can measure round-trip time, jitter and packet loss to map the best path based on the application's type, such as real time. 

A nice feature of SD-WAN is the ability to bond internet connections -- regardless of type -- to create higher-speed tunnels that function like point-to-point links with bandwidth that is faster than any single link in native form.  

In this video, see how Vonage's SD-WAN technology optimizes real-time video traffic.

Another advantage is devices are placed at remote sites, but centrally managed. This allows for ready reconfiguration without having to attach to each device. But because some quality-of-service functions don't exist in SD-WAN, it can't actually guarantee QoS. But making the links robust and mapping best paths can help with some of the issues you would find without SD-WAN. 

SD-WAN can support video conferencing requirements with various optimization techniques, such as deduplication, caching and buffering. In several ways, you can figure out some VoIP and video functions without jumping to an MPLS link, which translates to big savings. Some vendors put the savings at around 70%, but it will vary from company to company.  

Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie Goetz or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! All questions are treated anonymously.

Next Steps

Evaluate SD-WAN technology options for successful use cases

How SD-WAN improves UC app performance

How to calculate video conferencing's bandwidth needs

This was last published in January 2017

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How do you use SD-WAN technology to support video in your organization?
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