Internet Series #3: Applications
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
We all use the Internet daily, whether it is in the office, home or on our mobile devices. As we discussed in our previous Internet Series, the type of Internet you use is important and that not all Internet backbones and suppliers are created equal. In this part of the series, we will cover applications. If the Internet is the steak, applications are the sizzle.
The Internet based application market is vast and often complicated. Applications can range from well-known providers like O365/Teams and G Suite to more niche providers that fit a certain role within your organization. Regardless of what application you are using, your Internet provider will play a vital role in the success or failure of these applications.
Most applications work well Over the Top (OTT) of Internet, where a connection to the Internet is needed and the application rides “Over the Top” of the Internet to function. Some examples of this in the telecommunications industry is VoIP, UCaaS/CCaaS and SIP. Other services can have a direct connection to the application over the Internet. Examples of this would be Internet direct connects and on-ramps to AWS, IBM, Oracle, Azure, Google, Rackspace for Cloud Compute, Disaster Recovery and Storage. Having a direct connect allows your traffic to connect directly to these applications over the Internet, which increases the connection speed, passes information more quickly, and increases security. Applications can also communicate with one another and are interconnected through the Internet with Application Programming Interfaces (API). This allows applications to share information to assist with inter-connectivity of data throughout an organization or application.
One of the newest technologies utilizing the Internet is SD-WAN, which is like Virtual Private Network (VPN) on steroids. Like VPN, SD-WAN traffic is encrypted, and a router can intelligently change to a secondary internet provider. However, that is where the similarity ends. SD-WAN can test the health of an Internet connection to the destination down to the packet level and intelligently route packets by disparate Internet providers, prioritizing traffic and keeping any live traffic registrations up if one of the connections drops. Multiple SD-WAN providers are also offering direct connects to hundreds of application providers, which assists clients in organizing and supporting their traffic strategy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses are using collaboration applications such as Zoom, Glip, Teams, PGI and others to communicate with our internal and external customers while working from home. When garbled voice, pixilation, frozen screens happen during a meeting, it is mostly due to the quality and congestion of the Internet service. While most organizations do not control which Internet provider our employees or customers use at their home, it is evident how important it is to have a quality connection to support these applications.
When determining what Internet strategy to use for your organization it is important to determine what SD-WAN and OTT applications will be used, bandwidth requirements, and how sensitive these applications are to the quality of your Internet connection. While the applications are delivering the value, the delivery method and quality of the Internet and the underlying provider is vital to success.