This is the first time Cisco has brought a mobile component, on the cellular side, to SD-WAN. Sumeet Arora, the SVP of service provider networks at Cisco, says that having wired, wireless, and cellular incubated into the connectivity architecture suddenly enables “a lot more digitization.”
Cellular mobility, he says, brings security, trust, and reliability. “Packet characteristics are much stronger” when linking the perimeters of the operational transformation that many companies are undergoing.
Verizon already works with Cisco’s Viptela-based SD-WAN offering, as well as Versa, on both its managed and white-label SD-WAN products.
Extending the carrier’s virtual network services’ relationship with Cisco SD-WAN for both campuses and branches, Verizon will use Cisco’s SD-WAN platform to support mobile 5G devices. By using a 5G connection, enterprises can benefit from the 5G performance when using services such as network slicing and mobile edge computing.
At last month’s Cisco Live Barcelona event, Cisco integrated its Viptela SD-WAN with its DNA Center, which is a part of its intent-based networking portfolio, to provide WAN access from branch offices. According to Arora, this partnership will leverage Cisco’s unified domain center and DNA Center to centrally manage all of the network policies. This is powerful for both customers and service providers, as it drives programmatic provisioning and policy control.
The partnership will leverage Verizon’s future 5G network to extend their campus and branch infrastructure. This will enable businesses to have more control over their application performance on both mobile and IoT devices. The partnership will enable both LTE connections, and then 5G connections, when available.
It is still uncertain as to when Verizon will launch its mobile 5G network, though it is expected to sometime this year. The carrier launched its 5G Home service last October, using a proprietary 5G technology in a handful of markets. These deployments will be updated once standards-based 5G technology becomes available.
So while Verizon is working with Cisco on bringing SD-WAN to 5G, the actual application of the two technologies still may be a ways out.
This was just one of many service provider deals that Cisco announced at MWC Barcelona. The vendor also signed deals surrounding 5G implementation with Sprint, Airtel, Rakuten, Softbank, and KT.
AT&T and VMware also forged a similar partnership this week in which customers will be able to leverage SD-WAN alongside AT&T’s cellular network. The network will be able to upgrade the network connection to 5G — once it is available — by changing the modem.
Cisco is also a part of AT&T’s new 5G Innovation program, under which the two companies will work on different use cases for 5G.