Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure

Published 26 November 2019

WAN edge infrastructures are undergoing major changes as infrastructure and operations leaders responsible for networking face dynamic and expanding business demands. I&O leaders must identify vendors that address the requirement to support applications with on-premises and cloud-based deployments.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

Through 2021, more than 80% of SD-WAN solutions will continue to be delivered on dedicated hardware, rather than universal customer premises equipment (uCPE), due to performance, price and simplicity.

By 2023, to deliver cost-effective scalable bandwidth, 30% of enterprise locations will only have internet WAN connectivity, compared with fewer than 10% in 2019.

By 2024, to enhance agility and support for cloud applications, 60% of enterprises will have implemented SD-WAN, compared with fewer than 20% in 2019.

Market Definition/Description

Wide-area network (WAN) edge infrastructure provides network connectivity from distributed enterprise locations to access resources in both private and public data centres, as well as the cloud, via infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). It is typically procured by senior networking leaders in the infrastructure and operations (I&O) organization.

This market is evolving from traditional branch routers (often called “customer edge routers” in a Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS] implementation). It is undergoing dramatic change, driven by the needs of digital business transformation and the demands of line of business (LOB) managers.

The market for branch office WAN edge functionality continues to shift from dedicated routing, security and WAN optimization appliances to feature-rich software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and, to a lesser extent, uCPE platforms. SD-WAN is replacing routing and adding application aware path selection among multiple links, centralized orchestration and native security, as well as other functions. Consequently, it includes incumbent and emerging vendors from multiple markets (namely routing, security, WAN optimization and SD-WAN), each bringing its own differentiators and limitations.

WAN edge functionality can exist on or off the enterprise premises via physical or virtual appliances, and is typically sourced from network equipment providers (and their channels), network service providers (NSPs) or managed network service (MNS) providers. WAN edge infrastructure must be agnostic to the underlying network transport provider and services.

In the North American market, more than 60% of deployments are historically do-it-yourself (DIY). In much of the rest of the world, a managed service approach is favoured. In general, we see a trend toward more managed services, even though SD-WAN makes managing the WAN easier. At the same time, this introduces new challenges, with the greater use of internet transport. Large global organizations usually prefer a DIY approach, whereas midsize organizations are more likely to favour a managed services approach. Many companies are now comparing DIY and managed service options as part of the evaluation process.

Increasingly, vendors are differentiating their SD-WAN solutions in the following categories:

  • Ease of use
  • Application performance — including WAN optimization, voice optimization and ensuring quality of experience (QoE)
  • Security
  • Pricing and pricing models
  • Support for cloud workloads

Magic Quadrant

Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure

Source: Gartner (November 2019)


Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.
Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe