'Pandemic fundamentally changed the WAN' - Aryaka report

21 January 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the way enterprise WANs are architected as well as how and where people work.

That's according to Aryaka’s sixth-annual State of the WAN report, which surveyed 1,600 global enterprises spanning a broad spectrum of industries ranging from software and technology to manufacturing, retail, and business services. It identified four key trends reshaping the WAN market: remote and hybrid work, a growing appetite for managed services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, increased complexity associated with cloud migrations and other cost-saving measures, as well as network security.

According to the report, the past two years have changed the way enterprises think about remote and hybrid work, and many are now opting out of physical locations altogether. Roughly 25% of respondents reported they closed or planned to close 25% to 50% of their branch offices in favor of remote work models. A similar number of respondents reported that 51%-75% of their workforce would likely remain remote even post pandemic.

“We’re seeing a majority of enterprises large and small making hybrid the de-facto option and putting that as a permanent policy,” Aryaka CMO Shashi Kiran said, adding that many enterprises have gone so far as to terminate their leases and go 100% remote.

The shift to remote work also introduced an element of unpredictability to bandwidth requirements. According to Kiran, branch bandwidth consumption dwindled in 2021, but the need to absorb spikes in demand surged.

“The contracts that are being negotiated have more to do with how can you have spikes when there is a certain demand, and how can I shift the pricing model and operational model to accommodate that,” Kiran added.