Direct internet access booms as legacy networking shrinks: TeleGeography’s WAN Manager survey


TeleGeography, a global telecommunications market research and consulting company, has published its 2021 WAN Manager Survey, that shows that DIA is hot on the heels of MPLS, with 42% of average sites running the product in 2021.

Also, survey responses show a marked decline in the use of MPLS, falling from a key high of 82 percent of sites running the product in 2018 to 46% in 2021. This is the first time this figure has fallen below half of the average sites.

The report by TeleGeography highlights how the expansion of remote working related to COVID has accelerated several ongoing WAN trends such as migration to the cloud, the adoption of SD-WAN, and the inclusion of alternative access technologies into underlay. To that effect, the team found that DIA and business broadband use is on the rise, with DIA experiencing a 3% growth in four-year CAGR and a 1.5% increase in broadband logging.

“Through our survey, we can see that enterprise companies are embracing hybrid networks more and more. MPLS usage in our respondents’ WAN has been declining steadily, and in 2021 we saw a near-equal ratio of MPLS and DIA in the average network. Given these rates, we’ll have an eye on DIA usage to perhaps overtake MPLS in future surveys,” said Elizabeth Thorne, Senior Analyst at TeleGeography.

The new survey of TeleGeography also reveals WAN managers’ views on adopting zero trust security (ZTS) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). ZTS adoption is on the rise, rising from just 8% of respondents in 2019 to 35% in 2021, a significant increase in just two years.

“Enterprise networking is evolving, in part due to an increase in remote working. Network managers are facing the challenge of accommodating a remote-friendly, work-from-anywhere environment and many will likely be moving toward internet-first networks and further away from MPLS in the coming years,” said Greg Bryan, Senior Manager at TeleGeography.

TeleGeography’s WAN Manager Survey features analysis based on the experiences of WAN managers from 185 companies with a median revenue of $10 billion USD. The 2021 focuses on IT managers whose day-to-day role covers designing, sourcing, and managing U.S. national, regional, and global corporate wide area computer networks. It also includes 60 new responses across various industries.

The WAN Managers Survey of TeleGeography features analysis based on the experiences of WAN managers from 185 companies with average revenues of $10 billion USD. The 2021 focuses on IT managers, whose day-to-day roles include sourcing, designing, and managing U.S. regional, national, and global corporate wide area computer networks. It also involves 60 new responses over different industries.

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