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Verizon, Cisco Announce 5G/SD-WAN Pact

Two more major networking players have signed an agreement to combine two promising, game-changing technologies: 5G wireless and software-defined wide-area-networking (SD-WAN).

Verizon announced its Virtual Network Services will support 5G devices on Cisco's SD-WAN platform, which features intent-based networking, an offshoot of the software-defined movement. The carrier said the combination of technologies will help organizations more easily manage network traffic and application performance across a WAN on both public and private networks.

Announced yesterday (Feb. 24), the pact follows on the heels of a similar agreement between AT&T and VMware in which AT&T said it would implement 5G capabilities into its SD-WAN offering, choosing VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud for that integration.

That major players in the industry are scrambling to form partnerships to combine 5G with SD-WAN speaks to the importance of those two new-age initiatives that are disrupting -- or will soon disrupt -- traditional networking implementations.

5G is starting to supplant older cellular mobile communication technology. On Dec. 21, 2018, AT&T claimed to be first provider to make 5G services live in the U.S. Benefits of 5G include faster speeds, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reduction, higher capacity and massive device connectivity, the latter being especially important in burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

SD-WAN is a more established but also fast-growing approach, providing an inroad into the enterprise for the disruptive, new-age software-defined networking (SDN) movement that sees more open, interchangeable software solutions overtaking legacy, proprietary, hardware-based systems. Commonly reported benefits of SDN include agility and flexibility, lower costs and increased performance. As the SDN movement matures from early testing and proof-of-concept efforts in academia and test labs -- mostly targeting major service providers and carriers -- SD-WAN solutions are increasingly penetrating the enterprise networking space.

Yesterday, Verizon said its new support of Cisco's SD-WAN portfolio using intent-based networking will help organizations leverage 5G performance for services such as network slicing and mobile edge computing. Just as AT&T and VMware did, Verizon and Cisco emphasized the importance of their partnership in Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios.

"SD-WAN technology has become a popular approach to connecting enterprise wide area networks, including branch offices and data centers, over public and private connectivity services," Verizon's news release said. "The new offer from Verizon and Cisco sets the stage for enterprises to use Verizon's future 5G network as an extension of their campus and branch infrastructure and enable more control of the application performance on mobile and IoT devices.

"Potential use cases include the ability to enable an intelligent security perimeter for mobile workers, ensuring that access to corporate assets are governed by their security posture, with a different slice or policy on per application basis from the users' devices. IoT devices that sit outside the campus or branch could be managed and secured with the same network and security tools used inside the campus, giving enterprises a unified approach to applying networking and security policy across any environment."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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