Over the past decades, the ActivePort team has learnt a few things about multiple generations of networks and services in the carrier and wholesale space. The so-called “perfect solution” changes every few years, mainly because the solution didn’t give the customer what it promised. In addition, the “perfect solution” usually means expensive hardware, complex management and significant integration costs. But, having the perfect SD-WAN for your business doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. In this in-depth tech article, Simon Love explains how ActivePort’s SD-WAN 2.0 solves this business challenge.
Benefit 1: Hardware Agnostic uCPE
ActivePort’s SD-WAN is not dependent on vendor proprietary hardware, neither in the network core or at the customer edge. Customers can use a growing list of x86-based hardware platforms that meet their business requirements and national device certification specifications.
Our SD-WAN can be deployed on bare metal x86 servers, in virtual environments (KVM, Hyper-V, vSphere) or in container types (NSPAWN, Podman, Docker) using orchestration types such as Kubernetes and OpenShift.
Create your own Universal CPE (uCPE) to build packaged offerings for your clients around SD-WAN, IoT, Security, WAN Optimization, and more. By remaining hardware agnostic and supporting multiple deployment methods, our SD-WAN presents customers and service providers the power to innovate and create unique network and connectivity solutions.
Benefit 2: SD-WAN virtual tunnels
ActivePort’s SD-WAN enables service providers to build virtual tunnels that connect customer sites to the service provider network using any type of network connection available: fibre (FttX), wireless (LTE, 4G, 5G), broadband over copper (DSL, HFC), L2 or L3.
Multiple connections from multiple technologies and service providers can be aggregated into the SD-WAN tunnel connecting sites to the customer network. Customers can provide their own connectivity or engage service providers for additional connectivity. This delivers provider network redundancy through the core and access as well as building services point redundancy.
The SD-WAN tunnel that ActivePort provides is a fully featured virtual tunnel with high efficiency, automated performance management based on jitter, latency, packet-loss and flap detection. It provides bi-directional elastic Quality of Service to prioritize packets when present, sub-second session-level failover, encryption and a TCP Proxy.
Benefit 3: SD-WAN > 90 percent link efficiency
ActivePort’s SD-WAN link aggregation technology combines the bandwidth of multiple circuits and delivers efficiency over 90 percent for traffic, regardless of connection type.
Link aggregation efficiency over 90 percent is unique in a global market and few SD-WAN offerings reach this efficiency. High efficiency bandwidth utilisation optimises operating expenditure (opex) and increases reliability from an end-customer perspective.
Benefit 4: SD-WAN Per-packet link load balancing
Our SD-WAN design is based on per-packet load balancing. This approach distributes packets flowing to or from a site and breaks the single packet flow into multiple packet streams that are distributed across available circuits.
ActivePort’s SD-WAN configured on the CPE at each site manages packet distribution across the multiple circuits comprising the SD-WAN virtual tunnel based on user-selectable algorithms.
As the data stream from the LAN is managed at a packet-level, our SD-WAN can proactively and automatically change how each circuit in the tunnel is used, removing or adding it back into the virtual tunnel. This provides superior stability, efficiency and uptime compared to competitor solutions that use Forward Error Correction (“FEC”) to duplicate priority packets across multiple circuits, avoiding unnecessary bandwidth use and network saturation.
Benefit 5: SD-WAN bandwidth adaptation and performance management
ActivePort’s virtual tunnels are highly robust and adapt to changing network performance automatically. Bandwidth adaptation automatically removes circuits from the tunnel that exceed jitter, latency and packet loss limits and re-aggregates them once performance is restored. Circuit flapping is also detected and actively managed.
Benefit 6: SD-WAN Elastic, bi-directional quality of service
User application performance and experience is managed through ActivePort’s bi-directional quality of service (QoS). By deploying our SD-WAN at the head-end in the data centre and at the customer site, both sides of any Internet or broadband circuit can be managed and QoS applied on both upstream and downstream packets. This allows real-time prioritisation of voice, video or packets from other applications.
ActivePort’s QoS allocation is applied to each group of circuits (tunnel) at a per site level in an elastic mode, meaning that bandwidth reservation is only applied when packets tagged as Priority or Real-time are present. If no such packets are present, other classes of traffic can use all bandwidth available in the tunnel.
Elastic QoS ensures the customer receives full access to the bandwidth they are paying for and is not compelled to purchase additional bandwidth to support fixed QoS allocations.
Benefit 7: SD-WAN Sub-second, same IP, session failover
All circuits in our SD-WAN tunnels are active, and any that fail are removed from the tunnel within 300 milliseconds. Circuits can also be set to standby Failover status (not fully active) and added to the tunnel within 300ms.
Using unique IP address space for user data transport removes the dependency on the underlying IP addressing at a link level. This helps to ensure that a site’s connectivity to the Internet or the WAN is continuous and that all session-based applications remain active.
From an end-user perspective, this means that voice or video calls will remain connected and not abruptly terminate when an individual circuits fail, delivering business continuity and customer satisfaction.
Benefit 8: SD-WAN security and encryption
All packets transmitted across the tunnel are encapsulated in a UDP-based tunnel. This protocol is architected for efficiency, performance and security.
Tunnel traffic is protected through our SD-WAN’s packet-based distribution and industry-standard encryption algorithms. This technology distributes packets from data flows across the multiple circuits in the tunnel connecting each site to the Service Provider network, making data intercepts unlikely. Packets can be further protected through AES128, AES256 and Salsa20 encryption.
Benefit 9: Private WAN
ActivePort Private Wide Area Network gives you all the benefits of dedicated, leased line networks with higher flexibility, ease of deployment, manageability and visibility at a lower cost.
ActivePort’s SD-WAN enables customers to cap or reduce spend on existing dedicated circuits, and replace them with a combination of secure, encrypted and resilient broadband, wireless or lower-cost connections. Service Providers, access seekers or their customers can increase performance whilst saving opex.
In addition, our SD-WAN can distribute packets across multiple physical circuits, provided by multiple carriers or technologies to create the SD-WAN virtual tunnels. The likelihood of data intercepts is minimized as all circuits would need to be compromised and decrypted simultaneously.
Benefit 10: TCP proxy
This built-in performance-enhancing proxy greatly increases throughput and is beneficial when aggregating (sometimes referred to as bonding) or creating a tunnel from diverse types of Internet connections, such as ADSL with cable, or when a connection has high jitter or varying bandwidth. The TCP congestion control algorithm defines the behaviour of proxied TCP connections. Currently, there are 14 different algorithms to choose from when configuring bonded connections on the management server.
Simon Love, General Manager Infrastructure
Simon has spent nearly 30 years growing multinationals, start-ups and SMEs across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the ASEAN region. He is renowned by industry and peers for networks delivery, program integration, change management, leader growth and his good humour. With advanced product/service/solutions knowledge in telecommunications, networks, fibre, radio and satellite from the likes of Singtel, NBN Co and Ventia, Simon is recognised by boards and CEOs alike for his leadership and program delivery where he ensures problem solving includes seeking alternatives and growing opportunities.
When he’s not busy unlocking the potential of technology, Simon is cruising the roads on his motorbike, spending time with his family and daydreaming about their next skiing adventure.