Businesses are increasingly adopting Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to streamline communications and collaboration tools. UCaaS introduces single application access to video conferencing, shared workspaces, and a host of messaging and voice call features. In order to ensure a high level of connectivity and quality, enterprises are installing UCaaS and SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) at the same time.

For organizations wanting to preserve a competitive edge, UCaaS is a clear win. It offers a few key advantages:

  • Scalability, with companies only paying for the number of users they need and having the flexibility to scale up and down according to seasonality or promotional needs
  • Flexibility through a wide variety of features, from collaboration tools to digital receptionist, call forwarding, and mobile support
  • Cost reduction through the provider taking on all maintenance and troubleshooting of hardware, as well as a predictable monthly invoice in place of a large capital investment

With all of these benefits, UCaaS is an attractive option for enterprises bumping up against contract renewal time with their phone system providers. When considering whether to upgrade to UCaaS or maintain a legacy solution, it’s hard to justify turning down the opportunity to get far more features and advanced technology at a lower price point.

There’s just one catch: the network. In order to enjoy the benefits of UCaaS, the enterprise network must perform at a certain level and reach certain speeds to support voice calls and video conferencing. These real-time features tend to soak up a lot of bandwidth, resulting in congestion on the network, as well as being impacted by jitter, dropped packets, and latency.

Many businesses using multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathways find that despite its reliability, this type of link soon becomes challenging in terms of cost.

UCaaS and SD-WAN: The solution to handling the bandwidth and performance demands of UCaaS is SD-WAN. Through its pathway-agnostic design, SD-WAN allows critical traffic to be routed to MPLS, while tasks that do not require real-time connectivity can be routed to alternate pathways, including public Internet, LTE, and other options.

SD-WAN can be automated so business policy determines the pathway choice for each type of traffic by application, user, or security requirements. If a particular link becomes congested or unavailable, the traffic is automatically rerouted to the next-best pathway, without the end user detecting a change.

The result is high-quality connectivity for video conferencing and voice calls, while keeping bandwidth costs manageable. In addition, a single control and maintenance dashboard offers network engineers centralized visibility into the network so any problems are resolved quickly and without any impact to UCaaS functions.

If you’re debating whether it’s necessary to install UCaaS and SD-WAN together, contact us at Clarksys. We can help you evaluate your network, determine its speed and performance levels for handling UCaaS, and talk about how SD-WAN would fit into your infrastructure.