Sitting in my home office Friday night, travel plans canceled due to Covid-19, I look back at this week’s body of work and am astonished at how much was accomplished. I’ve never been more productive while also being so available to my fellow employees. Yes, commute and travel time were reclaimed, however, there was something else happening. Due to the same circumstances, many of my co-workers were also home and the faster collaboration and reclaimed commute times were amplifying all of our work product.

As a lifetime network engineer and a borderline prepper, I’ve enabled my home office. I’ve created my personal productivity paradise. I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood built with fiber to the home with strong competition from a major cable operator. I decided rather than buying the top tier from either, I’d purchase mid-tier services from them both. To take advantage of the diversity I’ve deployed an inexpensive next-generation firewall with SD-WAN functionality. I’ve also extended this diversity with a tertiary internet option utilizing LTE. My internet experience is glorious.

You see, I work for a global company that provides global wireless, mobility, voice and managed networking. I design resilient networks for fortune 1000 companies, small businesses, and retail. Just days ago, I put a design in front of a large enterprise customer to upgrade their network infrastructure with a leading SD-WAN technology. This design was built to connect their offices to their hybrid head-end architecture across multiple data centers and cloud providers. The use case was enabling better security, providing greater availability and a better end-user experience to our applications. In short, better productivity. This is a typical use case for our customer base, and I’ve seen the results and they are astounding.

The canceled travel provided extra time for solitude and reflection and I’ve become critical of my own short-sightedness on the design. My SD-WAN proposal stopped at the office and left the teleworker out of the use case. As this week has demonstrated, the teleworker may well outnumber the “office” workers in short fashion. Even if we’re back to the office soon, business continuity plans are going to demand more. Can we leave our biggest contributors at home without their own productivity paradise?

As a company’s survival depends on the productivity of its workforce, this workforce is our greatest asset.

To solve for this, good SDWAN technology provides traffic smoothing capabilities that can steer the traffic across the diverse services to give you the best experience.

As a company’s survival depends on the productivity of its workforce, this workforce is our greatest asset. If company leaders are not extending the productivity use-case to their critical assets where one can continuously produce despite the venue, they risk extinction. On top of that, these co-workers are extended family and we need to provide them the tools they need to provide for their families during difficult times.

This pandemic will change us forever. Employees will be asked to stay home or be sent home if they exhibit any symptoms. These employees might not be sick from the pandemic, but enabling them for effective telecommuting is imperative. Coronavirus may also become a seasonal threat, where telecommuting during this season becomes commonplace. We have to consider these requirements while designing our network of the future.

Consider the pandemic and the impact it is having on home internet use. Your spouse is home with the kids, perhaps she is home working too while the kids are glued to their digital internet sucking devices. Magnify this by every house in the neighborhood, in every part of the city, and you start the see the problem. Residential class internet is shared, and there is no SLA or dedicated pipe. To solve for this, good SDWAN technology provides traffic smoothing capabilities that can steer the traffic across the diverse services to give you the best experience.

The current road warrior model which utilizes client VPN to provide secure access back to the companies’ applications is an insufficient strategy to counter this new challenge. This model is sufficient for casual access, but what happens when you utilize this technology over a poor internet connection? It’s painful, to say the least. Voice and video are choppy and unusable, screen sharing fails, applications are sluggish and the VPN connection is constantly disconnecting. Effective collaboration is difficult, and productivity suffers.

How much would it cost you to build a paradise for your most valuable assets? Roughly $880 for the SDWAN firewall with 3 years 24/7 support and full UTM feature set. Allow the employee to expense the second internet connection at $49/mo or provide them access to a pooled LTE plan for even less. What are we waiting for?

Jamie Pugh - Globalgig CTO
Jamie Pugh
Chief Technology Officer

Globalgig Pugh co-founded Unified Scale which was acquired by Globalgig in early 2019. Pugh joined Globalgig as Chief Technology Officer, responsible for global technology, infrastructure strategy, network architecture, and product innovation. Pugh has over 25 years of experience in networking and information technology. Prior to Unified Scale, Pugh served as the Vice President of Network Engineering for One Source Networks (OSN) and leadership positions at OuterNet and Symbiot.

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