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Comcast Business Unveils SDN Platform Plans

September 19, 2017

Comcast Business recently announced what it is calling the ActiveCore SDN platform. The company, which has been doing tests of Versa Networks SD-WAN technology, is now in beta trials with the ActiveCore service. It expects to make it commercially available later this year.

The company has already signed on several customers for the service, which it is billing as an alternative to MPLS. That includes Jim Ellis Automotive Group in Atlanta, which has 15 locations and 1,000 employees.

As Comcast explains, SD-WAN enables organizations to add capacity to branch offices easily. And this solution, it notes, leverages embedded orchestration of virtual network functions. And it can be paired with Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit broadband service.

SD-WAN can actually leverage a variety of access connection types, including cable modem- and DSL-based broadband connections, cellular, microwave, MPLS, and more. The technology creates an overlay network on top of the access connections, providing network visibility and control, and the ability to any of those connections at any time rather than working in primary/secondary connection scenario. That allows for fewer idle assets and more resiliencies. And because SD-WAN can leverage broadband internet connections, it makes it a good match for businesses that leverage public cloud services.

“In a traditional network, traffic follows a specific path that has to go a specific route to a specific device, and it’s difficult to optimize," said Eddie Gonzalez, IT Systems Director, Jim Ellis Automotive Group. "Instead of simply increasing our bandwidth, we found the SD-WAN solution to be a more appealing option because it allowed us to prioritize the traffic we wanted over a separate network connection and choose the quickest path for that traffic. This enabled us to alleviate a significant amount of internal inter-dealership traffic that would usually have to travel through one circuit and could cause congestion on the network."

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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