ğŸ“žDemystifying SD-WAN: Unleashing the Power of Reliable, Cost-Effective Voice over the Public Internet, with a Glimpse into NAPAfrica's 100% Uptime💡

ğŸ“žDemystifying SD-WAN: Unleashing the Power of Reliable, Cost-Effective Voice over the Public Internet, with a Glimpse into NAPAfrica's 100% Uptime💡

Reliable Voice Over Public Networks: Practical Examples and Budget-Friendly Strategies


5 min read

In a recent discussion about optimizing voice connectivity over the last mile, I found myself in a spirited debate. The opposing viewpoint championed the idea of running a separate Layer 2 point-to-point VLAN over dedicated connections, dismissing SD-WAN as incapable of delivering reliable voice quality over the unpredictable terrain of the public Internet. The contention was that achieving any form of service level on the public Internet was a pipe dream. I, however, stood firmly in support of SD-WAN, especially when configured with the right tools, like bidirectional Quality of Service (QoS), and organized as a hub and spoke architecture. But there's another chapter to this story that highlights the reliability of SD-WAN over the public Internet.

Challenging the Notion

The first and foremost point of contention was the belief that the public Internet couldn't deliver consistent, high-quality voice services. Many are skeptical about relying on the Internet for mission-critical communications, fearing jitter, latency, and packet loss. While it's true that the public Internet can be unpredictable, it's not an insurmountable challenge.

For instance, consider the remarkable use case in Ukraine, where Internet-based services, such as Starlink, are utilized to control drones in a war zone to strategically engage Russian enemy forces. In this hostile and complex environment, the ability to accurately control a drone's movements, gather critical intelligence, and execute precise actions over the Internet demonstrates the robustness and reliability that modern online networks can offer.

When such intricate operations can be executed seamlessly over the public Internet in the midst of conflict, it becomes evident that delivering high-quality voice services is a far less daunting task. With the right technology and strategies in place, concerns about Internet-based voice communication can be effectively addressed and overcome.

The Power of SD-WAN

SD-WAN, or Software-Defined Wide Area Networking, is not the technology of the future; it's the here and now. It's a dynamic approach to network management that harnesses the capabilities of the public Internet while ensuring reliable connectivity. Here's how it can work its magic:

  1. Bidirectional Quality of Service (QoS): SD-WAN allows for the prioritization of voice traffic in both upstream and downstream directions. This means that your voice data gets the attention it deserves, regardless of the network's congestion.

  2. Packet-Based Solution: Unlike legacy systems that rely on session-based solutions, SD-WAN operates on a packet-based model. This means that individual voice packets are treated with care, reducing the likelihood of latency or jitter.

  3. Hub and Spoke Architecture: SD-WAN, when organized as a hub and spoke architecture, centralizes control and optimization. This setup ensures that voice traffic follows the most efficient path to its destination, minimizing potential disruptions.

  4. Dynamic Path Selection: SD-WAN is smart; it can dynamically choose the best path for your voice traffic. If one path experiences issues, it seamlessly switches to an alternative, ensuring minimal disruption.

  5. Traffic Visibility: One of SD-WAN's strengths is its ability to provide detailed traffic visibility. This means you can monitor your voice traffic in real-time, identify bottlenecks or issues, and take proactive measures.

The Cost-Efficiency Factor

But there's another compelling reason to consider SD-WAN for voice: cost-effectiveness. Public broadband links are significantly more affordable than dedicated Layer 2 services. By leveraging the public Internet, businesses can access robust voice connectivity without breaking the bank. SD-WAN optimizes these cost-effective broadband links to deliver voice quality that rivals dedicated, costly alternatives.

Where in the world is the Firewall?

Often we encounter people who believe their firewall is capable of SD-WAN but in reality its only a renamed VPN with a plastered UI to hide the ugliness. Also the plaster itself is not that pretty.

These solutions which are available from big Silicon Valley players are not seamless. If you have a call centre that has multiple upstream legs and managed by the firewall, you'll experience call centre wide disconnections each time there is an event on the last mile. This is because the solution is session based and not packet based such as the one from Fusion Broadband South Africa !

A Glimpse into NAPAfrica's 100% Uptime and Redundancy

In the realm of connectivity, South Africa has a hidden gem known as NAP Africa. Hosted by Teraco, this local peering exchange boasts an impressive 100% uptime record. NAP Africa operates with carrier-grade networking kit, ensuring not only reliability but also lightning-fast connectivity.

What sets NAP Africa apart is its commitment to redundancy. By default, NAP Africa offers multiple redundant paths, both locally within the exchange and at alternative geographic locations. This redundancy ensures uninterrupted connectivity, making it miles better than a dedicated singular path on Layer 2, often known as a cross-connect. With NAP Africa, you're not just connected; you're fortified against any disruptions.

A Real-World Success Story

Fusion Broadband and Workshop17 As evidence of SD-WAN's prowess in delivering crystal-clear voice services, look no further than Fusion Broadband's partnership with Workshop17. Across 12 locations, Workshop17 relies on up to 1600 voice endpoints to facilitate communication, collaboration, and productivity. Since the implementation of Fusion Broadband's SD-WAN service in 2019, Workshop17 hasn't encountered a single voice-related problem.

This remarkable success story underscores the effectiveness of SD-WAN, even in environments with significant voice traffic demands. Workshop17's experience demonstrates that with the right SD-WAN solution, businesses can confidently embrace the public Internet for their voice communication needs, knowing they'll enjoy reliable, high-quality service, and a disruption-free work environment.

So, whether you're a multinational corporation or a growing startup, SD-WAN offers the solution to your voice connectivity challenges, backed by real-world results from Fusion Broadband and Workshop17.


In the debate over voice connectivity, it's clear that SD-WAN is not just a viable option; it's a game-changer. With bidirectional QoS, packet-based solutions, a hub and spoke architecture, and the inherent cost-effectiveness of public broadband links, it transforms the unpredictable public Internet into a reliable, high-quality, and budget-friendly voice network. It's time to dispel the myth that the Internet can't deliver service levels; SD-WAN is here to prove otherwise.

So, the next time someone argues against SD-WAN for voice over the public Internet, you can confidently share the real story: SD-WAN isn't just up to the task; it's redefining what's possible in voice communication, all while keeping your budget in check. And when discussing the reliability of South Africa's local peering exchange, NAP Africa shines as a testament to the country's commitment to world-class connectivity, fortified by unmatched redundancy.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. 👉 Contact Fusion