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The solutions appeal to smaller businesses that don't necessarily need site-to-site connectivity.

James Anderson

March 31, 2023

4 Min Read
SMB
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Comcast is expanding its SD-WAN portfolio to give more options to SMB and single-location customers.

The vendor on Friday announced two new solutions geared toward standalone business locations. The cableco says the new solutions cater to partners who need to connect to cloud and SaaS applications. However, those clients don’t necessarily require site-to-site networking, a capability often associated with SD-WAN.

A spokesperson for Comcast Business says the solution launch builds on the 2021 acquisition of Masergy. Company leaders have emphasized the security features Masergy brings to the table. The solutions come with 24×7 security operations center (SOC). They also provide intelligent application prioritization and traffic steering.

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Comcast Business’ Shena Seneca Tharnish

“With the addition of capabilities that support standalone sites, we are more prepared than ever to partner with businesses of all sizes to tailor solutions that meet their unique needs,” said Shena Seneca Tharnish, Comcast Business’ vice president of cybersecurity products. “At Comcast Business, we’re committed to preparing every business for what’s next.”

Comcast offers multiple types of SD-WAN. The company for years has promoted its ActiveCore software-defined networking platform, which includes Versa Networks SD-WAN. Then Comcast acquired Masergy, which had an SD-WAN partnership with Fortinet. More recently Comcast added Cisco as one of its SD-WAN technology partners last year.

Different Market Segments

Comcast Business with this announcement is deepening its options for its smaller customers. The news shows how the provider is using SD-WAN to shoring up its footprint across different market segments.

For example, Comcast Business channel leaders have pointed to SD-WAN’s role in helping the company scale its midmarket presence. Craig Schlagbaum, senior vice president of indirect channels, said it all the way back in 2018. Specifically, Comcast Business and its partners were seeing strong growth from multisite customers.

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Comcast’s Craig Schlagbaum

“As much as we sell in the SMB space – that’s our forte – the bigger part of growth now is in the midmarket,” Schlagbaum said in 2018.

SD-WAN has allowed cable companies to sell a solution in areas of the country that lie outside their coax and broadband footprints. The customer can use SD-WAN to pair Comcast with other underlying network providers in areas where the cableco lacks a footprint. As a result, a provider like Comcast can provide more value to a multisite customer whose presence spans across the country.

Then the acquisition of Masergy presented the opportunity to drive more business with global enterprises.

SMB Demand

The announcement comes as some analysts and partners speculate that telecommunications service providers will be putting more emphasis on SMB during the recession. Marketplace providers like Beyond Now and CloudBlue have made the argument that telcos will increasingly use digital commerce to capture SMB spend. But partners are also seeing growth with small customers.

Phil Hugus, who recently started a network technology consulting business, said he sees opportunities for service providers to help smaller customers. Large telcos, in their efforts to land Fortune 500-1000 clients, have often ignored SMBs and the midmarket, Hugus said.

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ISG’s Phil Hugus

“Go where the money is! Different providers pursuing different strategies therein. Comcast, with their broad embedded local footprint and telco history, sizable enterprise business, and local-to-global strategy with the recent acquisition of Masergy, is in a strong position to focus on a technology transformation strategy to retain their largest clients, acquire new enterprise brands who are looking to change through an effective technology and sales road map, and attack the SMB space with a more automated approach (i.e. ‘digital commerce’),” said Hugus, who helps small and medium-size businesses work with networking technologies and providers.

Partners and SMBs

Moreover, partners report seeing opportunity to get in on the SMB action. They say many small customers prefer to procure solutions through an advisor.

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Adaptiv Advisors’ Ashley Rowland

“Over 60% of my SMBs customers have added locations, added seats or increased bandwidth in the last year,” Adaptiv Advisors Ashley Rowland told Channel Futures last year.

Hugus agreed.

“Entrepreneurs and emerging enterprise owners have long been left to fend for themselves in looking for effective network technology support, as we have seen in the trusted advisor channel, where clients have found great success in transforming their network technology,” he said. “The local owner/entrepreneur around the corner now has a place to go for network technology support and more capable providers willing to engage.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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