AT&T, Hughes and Verizon top Vertical Systems Group's SD-WAN Leaderboard

For the second straight year, AT&T, Hughes and Verizon, respectively, held down the top three spots on Vertical Systems Group's Leaderboard. Following those three, in order were, CenturyLink, Windstream, Aryaka and Comcast. Those top-seven service providers each accounted for 2% or more of the installed and billable carrier managed SD-WAN customer sites across the U.S. at the end of last year.

Overall, billable U.S. installations of carrier managed SD-WAN service increased by 89% last year as organizations moved on from their early do-it-yourself (DIY) installs of SD-WAN. In particular, Vertical Systems Group said that large businesses and enterprises are relying more on service providers to configure and manage their SD-WAN deployments.

“The U.S. managed SD-WAN market expanded rapidly in 2019 as backlogged orders from the prior year were fulfilled by key service providers,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “While the duration and depth of the coronavirus economic collapse is unknown, we expect resiliency across bandwidth intensive VPN markets, but acute vulnerability for the SD-WAN networks supporting the retail and travel verticals.”

While the travel and retail verticals for SD-WAN could take a hit during the coronavirus, vendors and service providers have been clamoring to enable SD-WAN and higher-grade VPN connections to some of the millions of employees that are now working from home using their own broadband connections.

With the move to managed SD-WAN services, service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Orange, CenturyLink, are now partnering with multiple SD-WAN vendors based on their customers' business needs.

There were a few shifts in Vertical System Group's U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN Services Leaderboard, including CenturyLink moving into fourth-place while Windstream dropped from fourth to fifth. Comcast Business, which was the only service provider on the Leaderboard to achieve MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification last month, moved from eighth-place two year ago to seventh last year.

RELATED: Four service providers earn their MEF certification stripes for SD-WAN

Five companies made the move into Vertical System Group's Challenge tier last year; Fusion, GTT, Masergy, Meriplex and TPx. In order to make the Challenge tier, service providers needed to have between 1% and 2% share of the U.S. carrier managed SD-WAN sites.

On the other hand, Bigleaf and Sprint dropped down from the 2018 Challenge tier into last year's Market Player tier.

Five vendors helped fuel the SD-WAN services offered by the 2019 U.S. Carrier Managed LEADERBOARD plus Challenge Tier providers: VMware/VeloCloud, Cisco/Viptela, Cisco Meraki MX, Fortinet and Versa while everal of the SD-WAN providers used their own internally developed technologies. Among the top-five SD-WAN vendors, Versa was the only one to date to achieve MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification.

RELATED: Nuage, Versa and Infovista make the grade for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification

Market Players was comprised of companies that sold carrier managed SD-WAN services in the U.S. with site share below 1%, including global network providers that manage U.S. customer sites. For 2019, the Market Player tier included the following companies: AireSpring, Bigleaf, BT, CBTS, Cincinnati Bell, Cogent, Colt, Consolidated Communications, Cox, DQE Communications, FirstLight, Frontier, MetTel, Neutrona, Intelsat, NTT, Orange Business, PCCW Global, PS Lightwave, RCN Business, SES, SDN Communications, Segra, SingTel, Spectrum Enterprise, Sprint, Syringa, T-Systems, Tata, Telefonica, Telia Carrier, Veracity Networks, Virgin Media Business, Vodafone, and Zayo, among others.

Vertical Systems Group defines a carrier managed SD-WAN service as a carrier-grade offering for business customers that is managed by a network operator, utilizes an SDN architecture, enables dynamic customer edge site connectivity, and provides centralized network control and end-to-end visibility.