How Service Providers Can Leverage the Flexible Service Edge to Differentiate Their Service, Meet Customers Where They Are, and Increase Revenues
Are you a service provider reselling connectivity to your end customers, but struggle to understand what the quality of experience of your end customers is? Do you provide managed network services, but want to modernize your networking stack with a software based router? Or do you provide managed SD-WAN, but you are looking to differentiate against competitors? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then what I am going to describe in this post is likely of your interest.
Last year 128 Technology, now part of Juniper Networks, launched the Flexible Service Edge (FSE), a family of solutions that offers an all in one and integrated solution for the edge of the network. FSE is a 100% software based solution that can run on any x86 platform or public or private cloud. FSE can perform multiple roles consisting of three different network functions. The first network function is a Session Smart™ NID, a Layer 3 Network Interface Device. If you resell connectivity transports, for example, circuits, which are provided by third party connectivity providers, and you lack the capabilities to monitor and get visibility on those links, The Session Smart NID is a solution for you. The Session Smart NID monitors the health of the connectivity transport (circuit, 5G, etc.), collects data, and performs analytics of the traffic that is being consumed by your end customer. A Session Smart NID will allow you to understand if the transport provided by a third party is suffering an outage, as well as determine which applications are being impacted (for example, Zoom and Microsoft Teams), in the event the transport is undersubscribed. Effectively, a Session Smart NID is your demarcation point. It is your point of presence at your end customer’s edge, and as such, the Session Smart NID is a critical component to remote troubleshooting, collecting traces, logs, etc., right at the edge of the end customer network.
The FSE story does not end here, if you can get visibility and analytics at the edge of your end customers’ networks, you understand what problems and challenges they are facing… Therefore, with these insights, you could offer to manage their network services, so they can focus on what they know best. This is where the second solution of the FSE family comes into play, the Session Smart™ Managed Router solution. The Session Smart Managed Router is a session oriented router with first class analytics and global policy management. As a 100% software based solution, the Session Smart Managed Router can run virtualized on a CPE along with other network functions or applications the business may need. When your end customer does not have the networking skills necessary to manage the network in house, or if the router is reaching end of life, or if their router is hardware based and can no longer meet the demands of the business, the Session Smart Managed Router is the perfect solution. With the Session Smart Managed Router, you can upsell and thus grow your business with additional recurring revenue with a managed services offering. With all of the insights provided by analytics, you can take remedial actions. For example, if your end customer is suffering from bandwidth starvation, the Session Smart Managed Router will allow you to apply traffic engineering to ensure that business critical applications are prioritized accordingly.
Customers are never fully satisfied with either the level of resiliency, cost, security, and/or performance of their WAN networks. The industry has defined this market under the name SD-WAN. Most SD-WAN vendors offer solutions that are a mirror of one another. Fundamentally, their solutions are based on layering tunnels, which create complexity, waste bandwidth, and severely limit scalability. The Flexible Service Edge offers the most innovative SD-WAN solution in the market with the Session Smart™ Router, or SSR. The SSR is the third and highest network function within the FSE family. It allows Service Providers to offer a highly differentiated SD-WAN offering that is tunnel free and thus saves bandwidth, provides granular analytics, and scales three times more than any other tunnel based solution. It allows you to deliver your end customer’s applications securely and efficiently, without wasting bandwidth. The session management capabilities of the Session Smart SD-WAN solution allow you to deliver your end customer’s application with minimal downtime with sub-second failover in case of a transport failure. Offer a managed SD-WAN solution to your customers that can leverage any transport, be it MPLS, Broadband, LTE/5G, etc. If you want to offer a unique managed SD-WAN solution to differentiate against other competitors, do not look further than the Juniper Session Smart Router.
Last but not least, one aspect of the FSE suite our customers love is that it is a fully integrated solution, meaning you can upgrade from one FSE network function to the next. For example, a Session Smart NID, deployed in production can be upgraded to a Session Smart Managed Router or a Session Smart Router with minimal impact and effort. Upgrade remotely with a simple license update, no need for a hardware change or truck roll.
Throughout 2020 a multitude of Service Providers have adopted the Flexible Service Edge model. Tier 2 Communications Service Providers, whose core business was reselling circuits to provide network connectivity, expanded their footprint to provide managed network services with a unified and virtualized CPE. Additionally, UCaaS providers, who wanted to get end-to-end visibility and analytics and take the delivery of their communication service to the next level, utilized the FSE for managed SD-WAN. All have been delighted by the FSE model as an integrated solution. They have not only highlighted the state of the art of each network function, but also the benefits of deploying a 100% software solution that is all managed from a single pane of glass. Each service provider is on a different journey, but the Flexible Service Edge has provided them a flexible platform to meet their end customers’ needs.
If you are a Service Provider looking for a unique and flexible solution that meets customers where they are in their digital transformation journey, then contact us today.