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Understanding WAN Costs

WAN costs can be an extraordinary part of an enterprise’s budget. Currently, WAN networks are beginning to transition from older more costly private line and MPLS networks to lower cost broadband networks with SD-WAN. On the more traditional side, MPLS and ethernet private lines (EPLs) can range in cost from $700 to $10,000 per-month depending on bandwidth size and distance of the link itself. Some enterprises must also account for redundancies at each site as uptime for higher priority sites come into play. Cost becomes exponential when you have a large amount of sites to deploy.

In addition to each site’s WAN connectivity, a new WAN requirement has come into play. Enterprises are having to architect needs around how to securely and effectively connect to cloud providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google GCP and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. There are varying ways that this can be accomplished, VPN links over the internet, ethernet private lines, and SD-WAN onramps. While VPN or SD-WAN can provide direct branch to cloud connectivity, many enterprises still opt for backhauling traffic to hub locations, subsequently leveraging private cloud cross-connects to gain access to the cloud workloads. These are the AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, GCP Dedicated Interconnect and Oracle FastConnect means of connectivity. In addition to the WAN circuit costs, the cloud provider will charge for usage that can range $0.03/hr for 50Mb to $22.50/hr for 100G.

Those numbers equate to thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year or even more. For those enterprises that are national or international, those costs can double or triple quickly.

In addition, there are the operational costs of monitoring and maintaining the WAN infrastructure including routers, firewalls, WAN optimization appliances and of course, the engineers to perform the work.

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