When customers ask me why they should care about hybrid networks,

I ask them the following questions.

  • Did the number of mobile devices in your enterprise increase?
  • Did the number of applications on your datacenter increase?
  • Do your employees and guests expect to stay continuously connected while in the office?

If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, you may need more bandwidth! If you want more bandwidth without a major increase in your OPEX, then you should consider hybrid networks.

What is a hybrid network?

A hybrid network is a combination of different circuits, for example a combination of MPLS and Internet Circuit can be your hybrid network. Or as shown in this figure below, it could be a combination of MPLS, Cable and 3G/4G.


Next I typically hear, “OK, so I think a hybrid network is what we need. What about reliability of the network, availability, and application performance?”

When I hear this, it reminds me of when I decided to buy my first hybrid car years ago. The dealer told me that the mileage was great, but I wanted to know about pickup, warranty, trunk space, legroom, and headroom. I asked the dealer if they have existing customers I could talk to about their experience. Hybrid cars were such a new concept; I knew I wouldn’t find a lot of existing customers. Looking back, the hybrid car was one of the best decisions I made, not to mention that carpool sticker I got at that time!

So I get it, when network administrators and customers express their concerns about deploying a hybrid network in their enterprise it’s a new experience, one that might take thoughtful consideration.

Here are the top items you should consider when thinking about a hybrid WAN solution:

  • Your solution needs to have availability higher than that of your individual components and it should also be transport independent. That way, if in future you swap MPLS with 4GLTE link, you don’t have to change your WAN design.
  • Connectivity is important, but what really matters is application experience. After all, most of us have experienced a choppy voice call or blurry video call at one point of time.
  • Not all WAN links are created equal, so make sure that your critical applications are on the best link.
  • Visibility is key, that’s the only way to locate and identify a problem, and to ensure accountability from your service providers.
  • Your solution should scale. You don’t want to invest resources and energy only to find out that it cannot handle future business expansion.
  • Lastly, it goes with out saying, you need a solution that is simple and easy to deploy.

Cisco’s Intelligent WAN solution with PfRv3 (Performance Routing version 3) addresses these challenges because it is highly scalable; it has a single administration point and a seamless way to express business intent. PfRv3 also delivers fabric-integrated solution that helps make decisions based on application performance.

Pushing for change is always hard, but implementing this solution should not be! With Cisco’s PfRv3, we can make this journey together. Learn more and ask your questions during our upcoming Cisco TechAdvantage webinar on March 26th at 8am PST: Enabling Business Class Internet with Intelligent WAN (IWAN).


Sumanth Kakaraparthi

Senior Product Manager