5 Takeaways From WAN Summit Singapore


By Jayne MillerOct 3, 2016


The WAN Summit Singapore brought together a diverse group of players from the enterprise WAN space September 20-21, 2016.

Buyers and providers of enterprise network services dove into case studies, panel discussions, and roundtable conversations, sharing ideas and addressing some of the biggest issues facing those working in international enterprise networks.

Our team on the ground included Senior Manager Greg Bryan, Senior Analyst Brianna Boudreau, Research Director Rob Schult, and Vice President of Strategy Stephan Beckert.

After the long flight home, Greg, Brianna, Rob, and Stephan shared with us their top five takeaways from WAN Summit Singapore.

1. Hybrid Networks Have Taken Hold

There was no question that hybrid networks were going to take center stage during the two-day conference. Corporate WAN traffic in Asia is growing quickly – driven by cloud services, applications, and increasing bandwidth requirements – but WAN budgets remain tight. Introducing lower cost services such as broadband or Internet into the network is one way to address this issue.

But customers aren’t totally abandoning MPLS. Instead, they're augmenting the WAN, adding Internet (where appropriate), and developing a hybrid WAN solution.

During WAN Summit Singapore, several carriers mentioned that even though only a few customers have deployed SD-WAN in APAC, hybrid networks were already a popular offering among customers.

2. SD-WAN is the Next Step

SD-WAN was easily the most popular topic of WAN Summit Singapore.

Vendor booths were crowded with curious WAN managers, the SD-WAN breakout session was the most popular, and several carriers previewed forthcoming SD-WAN offerings.

It’s clear that SD-WAN is not a passing trend. Benefits in price, performance, scalability, and reduced network complexity make it a valuable tool for WAN managers looking to deploy hybrid networks.

While SD-WAN’s impact on network cost is often what first attracts customers, the appeal of SD-WAN and hybrid networks is as much about performance as it is cost.

And consider this: some applications like Office 365 perform better if accessed via a local Internet offload as opposed to incurring the latency when carried over the MPLS network to a gateway. Others, such as voice and video, may still require the service guarantees of MPLS.

SD-WAN allows enterprises to dynamically route traffic across multiple technologies based on current network performance.

For those looking to reduce network complexity, SD-WAN can provide a tool to harmonize these networks.

Further, multinational corporations are increasingly sourcing from multiple regional providers, especially in APAC. For those looking to reduce network complexity, SD-WAN can provide a tool to harmonize these networks.

In short: SD-WAN provides a solution to a number of problems network managers face. There’s no doubt it will continue to rise in popularity in APAC and beyond.

3. There is a Need to “Right Size” the Hybrid WAN, Especially in APAC

Not every customer site, however, is fit for SD-WAN and/or cloud services.

Ultimately, some ISPs are not ready to integrate SD-WAN into their network. Additionally, at some sites - such as those in emerging markets - the quality of broadband services can be poor, introducing more network performance issues than you might experience in developed markets.

Introducing Internet or broadband, however, may still be a better alternative relative to the MPLS services available in these markets. 

Corporate WAN services in emerging market countries are often much less reliable – and far more expensive – than in advanced economies.

It can be more difficult to deliver cloud-based services in Asia than in the U.S. and Europe. The cloud instance accessed by the company may not be near Asian end users, which introduces additional latency and cost.

At the end of the day, enterprises need to assess where to deploy SD-WAN and cloud services based on network requirements and performance at each site.

4. The Network Still Matters

During the WAN Summit, several carriers mentioned that it was important to remember the underlying submarine cable network and its impact on WAN service performance, especially in relation to cloud services.

As we know, cloud services consume a significant amount of bandwidth and the network needs to be able to keep up with demand.

If the underlying network is poorly designed, new technologies such as SD-WAN aren’t necessarily going to fix performance issues.

Enterprise customers were interested in how the underlying submarine cable and wholesale market in turn impacted their network performance and cost – because it absolutely does.

If the underlying network is poorly designed, new technologies such as SD-WAN aren’t necessarily going to fix performance issues.

5. New Technologies Have Introduced Questions About Security

The rise of cloud services and applications managed by third parties, the inclusion of the public Internet into the WAN, and the number of remote workers, smartphones, and tablets accessing the network are causing enterprises to review their traditionally-centralized security network model.

While moving to localized Internet breakouts improves the performance of some network services, it requires companies to secure a vastly larger number of potential points of intrusion into the corporate network.

So how do they manage this? Via cloud-based firewalls? Local firewalls? How can you ensure that all sites have the same updated security policies?

Policy, access, and authentication are key. Policy and application-based routing with a centralized controller in SD-WAN can help with this.

A natural follow-up question: when it comes to the cloud, how can you ensure that data in the public cloud is secure? Trust cloud provider’s security? Additional security overlay?

Stealing credentials of legitimate users to access your data is most common network attack, making 2-factor authentication critical. And timely recognition of breaches is as, if not more, important than security breach prevention.


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Brianna Boudreau

Brianna Boudreau

Senior Research Manager Brianna Boudreau joined TeleGeography in 2008. She specializes in pricing and market analysis for wholesale and enterprise network services with a regional focus on Asia and Oceania. While at TeleGeography, Brianna has helped develop and launch several new lines of research, including our Cloud and WAN Infrastructure service and the SD-WAN Research Service.

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Stephan Beckert

Stephan Beckert

Stephan was formerly TeleGeography's VP of Strategy. He was responsible for new product development and advised TeleGeography's research teams.

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Greg Bryan

Greg Bryan

Greg is a Senior Manager, Enterprise Research at TeleGeography where he leads our enterprise pricing research. Greg is also the chair of the WAN Summit conference series.

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Rob Schult

Rob Schult

Robert Schult is a Research Director at TeleGeography and manages the company’s wholesale pricing and enterprise network research groups. His areas of expertise include telecom service pricing, corporate WAN technologies, and Cloud service integration.

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