Inside Huawei's First SD-WAN Test With EANTC


By: Michael Vizard

The European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) is moving forward with a suite of tests intended to empirically test the capabilities of various software-defined wide area networks. The EANTC test suite measures scalability, multi-tenancy management, user portal management, endpoint configuration, security, endpoint and LEP link resiliency, performance monitoring, and, finally, service chaining and elasticity.

The first SD-WAN vendor to pass a subset of these tests is Huawei. The company elected to test its SD-WAN portfolio against three of the EANTC test suites: scalability, performance monitoring, and endpoint and LEP link resiliency. Given the size and scope of the EANTC test suite it wasn’t feasible for Huawei to test every suite all at once, says Ian Foo, ‎director of product marketing and management for datacenter solutions, SDN, and security at ‎Huawei USA.

The EANTC test suites stems from research that was originally undertaken at the behest of carriers and service providers. Last year EANTC began making those test suites available to SD-WAN vendors as well.

Because of a lack of interoperability between SD-WAN products, Foo says test suites such as the ones developed by EANTC take on added importance. SD-WAN vendors that pass the EANTC tests are showing they have made a level of research and development investment that indicates they intend to compete for the long haul at a time when IT organizations are almost by definition locked into whatever SD-WAN architecture they decide to adopt, says Foo.

“Interoperability will eventually be addressed,” says Foo. “But that will take some time.”

Foo pledges Huawei will continue to test its SD-WAN portfolio against the EANTC test suite. The Huawei portfolio spans everything from a router that has been infused with SD-WAN capabilities and a dedicated SD-WAN controller to Universal Customer Premises Equipment (UCPE) platform that is available in three configurations. That latter platform makes it possible to add additional services from technology partners such as Riverbed Technology and F5 Networks on top of a core SD-WAN platform, says Foo.

In general, Foo says Huawei is gaining traction in a fragmented SD-WAN marketplace both because of the quality of its implementation and the fact that customers can’t count on its continued presence in the market. In contrast, smaller rivals are likely to be acquired in the years ahead by companies that might not continue to invest in the smaller company’s core technology, contends Foo.

Naturally, it remains to be seen how much faith IT organizations put in the EANTC test suites for SD-WANs. But in the absence of any other widely recognized set of metrics for testing SD-WANs, it’s likely many more purchasing decisions will be incorporating EANTC data in the months and years ahead.