AT&T, Comcast Business Maintain Top Positions in the SD-WAN Race

AT&T continues to dominate the managed SD-WAN market segment, but it is seeing growing competition from Comcast Business and other providers.

  • AT&T

AT&T continues to remain the dominant player in the managed SD-WAN market segment with the service increasingly becoming a bigger part of the telco’s business services revenue.

A recent Vertical Systems Group SD-WAN LEADERBOARD revealed a shift in rankings for the five largest managed SD-WAN providers. According to the research group, AT&T retained first position overall for the fourth consecutive year.

However, it appears that AT&T has got some strong company. Comcast Business rose to second position, up from fourth in 2020 based on what the research group was site share that includes organic growth plus sites added from its Masergy acquisition.

A big contributor to SD-WAN growth was the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced more businesses to allow their employees to work remotely. Vertical Systems Group defines a Carrier Managed SD-WAN Service for segment analysis and share calculations as a carrier-grade offering for business customers that is managed by a network operator.

“The U.S. Managed SD-WAN services market emerged from the pandemic in 2021 with solid growth in new site installations, driven by accelerated network transformations and more flexible solutions for customers,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

U.S. SD-WAN LEADERBOARD 2021

<subhed> Competition Heats Up

Malone noted that “competition is heating up as evidenced by the shake-up in top provider rankings on our year-end 2021 U.S. LEADERBOARD benchmark.”

Hughes moved to third position, from second overall in 2020. Verizon moves into fourth position, a change from third in the previous year. Lumen advances to rank fifth, up from sixth position. Windstream drops to sixth position from fifth in 2020. Aryaka retains seventh position and rounds out the roster of top providers for 2021.

Other shifts in the SD-WAN market included TPx, which dropped into the 2021 Challenge Tier from the LEADERBOARD.

<subhed> Standards Efforts Continue

Service providers continue to gain SD-WAN standard certification.

Five of the service providers listed on Vertical Systems Group’s U.S. LEADERBOARD-- AT&T, Comcast Business, Verizon, Lumen and Windstream—have gained Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 3.0 SD-WAN Certification.

Each of these providers also has employees with MEF SD-WAN Certified Professional training certification.

MEF published the industry’s first global standard defining an SD-WAN service and its service attributes—MEF 70. An update to that standard—MEF 70.1—includes new service attributes for underlay connectivity services, new measurable performance metrics that provide visibility into an application’s performance within the provider network and across multiple service providers, and the infrastructure to support application-based security.

Although the MEF is working to outline specifications for new SD-WAN technologies, service providers have not come to a consensus on how to standardize SD-WAN.

Still, the MEF found that SD-WAN multi-service providers grew revenue over 30 percent in 2021. According to an MEF survey, the standards organization found there could be another 30 percent increase in 2022.

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