If any enterprise application should be labeled a perfect candidate for cloud-based delivery, it's unified communications. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) improves upon the costly classic private branch exchange in all the same ways that SaaS outdoes traditionally licensed software, namely by being much more cost-effective, scalable and versatile. UCaaS takes B2B benefits to another level by entrusting system upkeep and performance to a cloud provider bound by a service-level agreement. But while it relieves internal IT teams of the burden of managing and maintaining a complex UC software base, and gives end users more options for boosting their productivity, it place even more burden on WAN administrators to ensure that cloud access offers the network reliability, availability and Quality of Experience (QoE) that enterprises have come to expect from their private MPLS WAN.
At its best, UCaaS enables real-time communications with far less overhead than an on-prem equivalent. And while adoption has been brisk, with a recent Gartner report finding that the majority of businesses with 1,000 or more staffers are already considering UCaaS services, there are still obstacles that can impede UCaaS implementation. Many would-be adopters worry about the control and security of their data, for example. But the ability to deliver the same high QoE for real-time applications such as VoIP and videoconferencing that end users have received from their on-premise system is often the greatest challenge.
The challenge comes from the reality that the unaided public internet simply does not provide QoS and so is far from ideal for carrying real-time voice and data traffic. UCaaS traffic must compete with TCP applications coming from multiple sources, and be subjected to the same set of behaviors, such as WAN router packet buffers filling up, first causing higher latency (jitter) and ultimately packet loss form those routers discarding packets during periods of congestion. While file transfers, emails and casual web browsing can handle jitter and packet loss with relatively minimal productivity impact, for UCaaS, that same jitter and packet loss creates a noticeable effect and can completely degrade the experience of making a VoIP call or videoconference.
While backhauling traffic destined to the cloud first to a private data center will generally result in less observed packet loss and jitter, this solution is very pricey over expensive MPLS connections, adds higher latency to all cloud-destined traffic, and there still remains the issue of the Internet link at the data center itself.
In this context, a failsafe software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) with real Quality of Experience (QoE) is the difference-maker.
UCaaS is among the top cloud services essential to today's enterprises. Ensuring its predictable performance requires a WAN that accommodates new traffic flows, reduces complexity and simplifies access. All of these capabilities are embodied in a failsafe SD-WAN.
By connecting the SD-WAN to a UCaaS platform, enterprises gain a reliable, multi-link cloud conduit with the same visibility, reliability and QoS that exist in failsafe SD-WAN connections between a corporate data center or headquarters and branch sites. That translates into reliable multilink connectivity and better QoE. Mean opinion scores (MOS) are often used for UCaaS services to help measure the Quality of Experience. A failsafe SD-WAN will boost MOS measurements for acceptable to exceptional UCaaS deployments.
Improving UCaaS with SD-WAN connectivity solves the thorniest technical issues for ensuring predictability and high QoE with the service. As a result, organizations can leverage UCaaS to reach employees at geographically disparate locations. These facilities gain better communication with partners and customers for conducting real-time, profitable business transactions. UCaaS' value as a business tool can exceed the solution's value as a technical advancement.
Talari Networks' unique Cloud Connect SD-WAN offering is the perfect on-ramp to superior UCaaS performance and reliability. Request a demo to learn more about how Talari can help you improve your cloud connections.