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Comcast Business is pushing ahead with software defined networking (SDN) solutions, releasing its new SD-WAN product that enterprise business can pair with Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1-based 1 Gbps business internet service. 

The SD-WAN offering is the first product delivered by Comcast’s ActiveCore SDN platform, which the cable operator boasts as the first cable-delivered, gigabit-ready SDN platform in the country.

Instead of individually-managed and customized hardware, Comcast says the platform utilizes software to deliver new services and network changes. Embedded orchestration capabilities allow the platform to seamlessly deliver and manage multiple virtualized network functions (VNF).

Comcast says the platform can deliver better application performance, shorter deployment cycles, and greater business agility at lower costs, when combined with an open, extensible IT infrastructure. ActiveCore also delivers actionable performance data in a single view for better, faster decision making, so customers can quickly identify, troubleshoot, and resolve issues across their entire enterprise.

“ActiveCore and SD-WAN represent a ‘generational moment’ for our industry and are designed for businesses that embrace the consumerization of IT, SaaS, and cloud services to run their enterprise operations,” Kevin O’Toole, SVP of product management for Comcast Business, comments. “We now offer enterprises a robust, future-proof alternative to legacy MPLS solutions; allowing them to easily add capacity to branch offices at scale and unlock the potential of virtualized networks for today’s connected economy.”

The platform can be coupled with Comcast’s 1 Gbps broadband service, which is already available in much of the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and Central United States. The service will be available across Comcast’s national footprint by the end of this year.

Offering firewall-secured, branch-level internet connectivity to a public cloud, the SD-WAN offering accelerates performance and can reduce the cost of backhauling data traffic through corporate data center, according to the company. In the near future, Comcast Business intends to add additional ActiveCore VNFs to complement SD-WAN.

Comcast has trialed SD-WAN solutions before. In May, the company rolled out an SD-WAN beta trial for mid-market and enterprise customers.

Comcast says it has already signed up some SD-WAN customers, including Jim Ellis Automotive Group, which operates 15 locations in Atlanta and has more than 1,000 employees.

“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,” Eddie Gonzalez, IT systems director for Jim Ellis Automotive Group, notes. “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.”

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