Frost & Sullivan gives top honors to AT&T SD-WAN

by AT&T Business Editorial Staff

AT&T once again ranks as one of the best providers of Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) according to the new Frost & Sullivan report.

Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has released its annual report “Frost Radar™: North American Managed SD-WAN Services Market, 2020.” It uses Frost & Sullivan’s benchmarking system to rank major providers of Software-Defined Wide Area Network services according to the strength of their current offerings and the scope of their future opportunities. AT&T is positioned as a dominant player in the space and the report predicts that AT&T will continue to be a preferred SD-WAN provider for the coming years.

Two robust service offerings

Frost & Sullivan describes AT&T SD-WAN offerings as “a two-pronged approach” consisting of a CPE-based solution and a network-based solution. The over-the-top (OTT) managed SD-WAN service “uses VeloCloud CPE and SD-WAN software to create an overlay network over any public or private MPLS network.” Alternatively, the network-based solution “utilizes AT&T FlexWare devices—a universal CPE that can run multiple virtual network functions (VNF)—to host VeloCloud SD-WAN VNF.”

Positioned to excel

According to the report, “AT&T is positioned as a leader in the North American managed SD-WAN services market radar, based on the total overall score across growth and innovation index criteria. The company also scores higher than any other managed SD-WAN provider on radar innovation index.” One reason for AT&T dominance is the fact that it ranks “among the few providers that have launched SDN-based network services to offer dynamic bandwidth services, along with NFV-based virtual network services.” AT&T’s introduction of the expert engineer has also contributed to its market leadership, and the report notes that the role “offers post-sale support for SD-WAN customers with a high-tough, deep network design verification covering WAN, LAN, and applications.” 

Strengths and opportunities

Frost & Sullivan notes that the AT&T SDN-based Network on Demand service “gives customers the ability to procure dynamic bandwidth across AT&T’s Switched Ethernet and DIA [AT&T Dedicated Internet] services.” Furthermore, “The ability to run SD-WAN functionality as a VNF on the AT&T FlexWare Device eliminates the need for separate CPE and allows business customers to almost seamlessly integrate SD-WAN functionality into their virtualization strategy.” These factors separate AT&T from competitors and present excellent opportunities to continue innovating and expanding within the market.

Frost & Sullivan notes that AT&T retains customers by promoting a hybrid architecture. Rather than promote a rip-and-replace approach, “AT&T encourages its MPLS & IPsec customers to use hybrid networking alongside SD-WAN.”

The hybrid approach delivers a greater range of options for customers looking to gradually implement a robust solution or who need to prioritize specific application performance. The report says “Using the hybrid approach, with pricing ranges from low priced IPsec sites, medium priced SD-WAN sites, and higher priced MPLS sites, AT&T is able to target a wide range of customer segments by giving them the a choice to deploy services that best suit their price points and application requirements.” This flexibility is especially relevant today “as businesses of all sizes re-assess and optimize their technology spend to recover from the impact of COVID-19.”


With “the most SD-WAN sites deployed in the North American market,” Frost & Sullivan states that “the investments AT&T has made in SDN and NFV position the company strongly.” In addition, the report recognizes that AT&T’s offerings permit flexible implementation that “allows businesses to virtually seamlessly integrate SD-WAN functionality into their WAN architectures, thus driving additional revenue growth.”

View the AT&T SD-WAN offerings.