However, the company is looking to get involved with the technology through its virtualized network function (VNF) partner program, which helps companies with the overall management and lifecycle orchestration of VNFs. The program is still in development, and hasn’t been officially announced.
“We don’t have our own product implementing SD-WAN functionality, but we are working with partners that can deploy network functions in SD-WAN scenarios,” said Erwin Van Rijssen, head of services management at Ericsson.
For example, Verizon Enterprise Solutions selected Ericsson to provide software that helps it with the overall management and orchestration of VNFs. One of those virtual functions is its SD-WAN technology, which Verizon gets from Viptela.
Verizon uses Ericsson’s software so its customers can handle self-service ordering and configuration of VNFs and take advantage of different payment models. Enterprises can order VNFs from Verizon’s catalog for services such as security, WAN optimization, and data center load balancing.
Through this program, Ericsson is staying neutral in providing its customers with VNFs. Ironically, Ericsson actually tapped Verizon for SD-WAN help within Ericsson’s own corporate IT environment.
But Ericsson is testing the waters to see if there is an SD-WAN technology it could resell. Van Rijssen maintained the company’s focus is on developing 5G and mobile technologies.
“We are looking into other partners where we will engage in a partnership where it could make sense to resell,” Van Rijssen said. “Any company — no matter how big — has to choose where they focus their investments. We’re very strong in mobile and heavily investing in 5G, and I think SD-WAN is an extension to that, but it [SD-WAN] is focused on the enterprise … and our focus is to sell through operators.”
Other equipment vendors are taking a more direct approach with SD-WAN, and they’re winning business with operators.
For example, Nokia’s Nuage Networks recently announced its ninth service provider win for its SD-WAN platform. Nuage provides the technology to Telus, BT, China Telecom, Exponential-e, NTT Data Intellilink, Telefonica, Telia Finland, AscoTLC, and My Republic.
Ericsson has been undergoing a multiyear restructuring plan, and most recently announced it would take between $1.8 billion and $2.4 billion in charges this year as it tries to revamp sales and focus more on its telco business.