A big gap exists between what customers want and what network providers are delivering.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

October 27, 2020

4 Min Read
Global WAN

Enterprises rely heavily on the internet for their wide area networks, according to a new Telia Carrier study.

The company on Tuesday unveiled results from its Enterprise Network Insights 2020 report. The authors concluded that a significant gap exists between customer demand and supplier performance. Suppliers are struggling to match expectations in security, service flexibility, customer service and performance.


Source: Telia Carrier Enterprise Network Insights 2020

Security in particular stood out as a big problem, as 55% of respondents called it a pain point. The findings match a recent Cato Networks study, which also reported problems around WAN security and flexibility.

The Internet

The Telia study also touched on the internet’s role. Ninety percent of enterprises use the public internet for all or at least some of their WAN services. On a similar note, 82% believe public internet functions as a reliable network underlay for WAN applications, according to Telia.

Telia Carrier concluded in its study that WAN technology is still evolving and suffers from a lack of clarity. For example, more than half (51%) of enterprises said they understand what the internet backbone is, yet 61% said that public internet connectivity does not vary from supplier to supplier. According to Telia, this assumption leads businesses to make hasty and uniformed decisions about suppliers and network development strategies.

“Global Tier 1 networks with a strong customer experience ethos and a commitment to sustainability and cutting-edge innovation can bridge the divide between the WAN ideal and the WAN reality. To do so, though, they may need to close a knowledge gap first — and debunk the myth that public internet connectivity is always the same,” the Telia report authors wrote.

This becomes all the more important when we consider the fears respondents expressed about WAN outages. For 48%, a corporate WAN outage lasting a day “would be catastrophic.” U.S. companies actually reported less concern about outages, especially compared to their French counterparts.


Source: Telia Carrier Enterprise Network Insights 2020

Telia Carrier chief evangelist Mattias Fridström said network development strategies often fall short on the backbone side.


Telia Carrier’s Mattias Fridström

“This means that Tier 1 suppliers, such as telcos and carriers, are often overlooked when it comes to choosing a method to build their WANs and connect to the cloud,” Fridström.

Additional Findings

Savanta conducted the study on behalf of Telia Carrier. More than 400 people in the U.S. and Europe participated in July and August. Each respondent worked for a company with more than 3,000 employees, and 56% held the last word in their company’s network development strategy.

Telia noted that enterprises seem set to keep private networks in their security plans. The plurality of respondents (33%) said they prefer to access their cloud providers using private connectivity – particularly with VPN – while only 14% prefer to use the public cloud.

The report made an interesting observation about how sustainability functions as a buying criterion for many customers. More than one-third (38%) of respondents only add a supplier to their shortlist if the supplier shows a “strong commitment to sustainability.” And 95% of companies said they would pay a premium for a such a supplier. On the other hand, just one in five only consider price and performance. U.S. enterprises were most likely to take a sustainability-agnostic approach — and that information comes as a huge shock to us.

The study also found that customers would like more automation and machine-to-machine workflows from their network providers and partners.


Source: Telia Carrier Enterprise Network Insights 2020

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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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