Fujitsu Network Communications introduced its Virtual Access Network (VAN) system, targeting the small-to-medium business segment. The service uses a white-box, ARM-based device mailed to customers, which they can self-install.
Most SD-WAN offerings tout the benefits of the technology to save on expensive MPLS links. But Fujitsu’s service is geared toward providing SD-WAN for Ethernet virtual private line data service as defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (E-line) over a variety of access technologies, including cable HFC, DSL, EPON, GPON, and LTE.
“In the United States, 97 percent of businesses have less than 99 employees,” said Bill Beesley, principal solutions architect at Fujitsu Network Communications. “We keep designing services around the 3 percent.”
The company wants to provide smaller enterprises with Ethernet connections and SD-WAN services. It sees these smaller businesses as a large underserved market.
“SMBs, even in rural areas, they have a lot of connections,” said Beesley. “The marketing people wanted a product for E-line service, but in the past, we defined services based on the access. The product-people don’t want to have that discussion.”
Rather than a full-function router at the customer’s premise, the VAN white box simply uses a virtual network function (VNF) to create a tunnel to the data center. “We use tunneling technology to virtually relocate that customer back to the data center and then service chain more complex functions on top of that,” said Beesley.
He said that Intel-based equipment and orchestration software deployed at the edge drives the cost up for most SD-WAN services. VAN manages functions from a central location, gaining economies of scale.
“We worked to eliminate some of the complexity at the data center as well,” said Beesley. When the customer plugs in the white box, the device has been programed with the intelligence to know which services the customer has ordered and to provision those services.
Fujitsu also has an SDN/NFV consultancy practice led by Ralph Santitoro. That practice helps customers select an SDN architecture. “Our solution could be a good part of that,” said Beesley.