Transforming the Manufacturing Sector with Intelligent SD-WAN

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Intelligent SD-WAN for Manufacturing Sector

A 2020 Gartner survey shows that less than 50% of the manufacturing leaders have fully implemented or are deploying smart manufacturing strategies. This comes as no surprise as utilising the various IoT sensors, cameras, and other equipment have enabled the sector to survive and thrive in this era of crisis. In fact, IIoT has become a new operational norm. And interwoven into this web of connected devices, machines and processes is a strong, secure network.

The manufacturing sector has unique connectivity requirements and requires a wide area network (WAN) that is capable of operating optimally all day, every day. But standard WAN networks don’t have that 100% flexibility yet. This is where software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) comes into play. An SD-WAN architecture is capable of providing improved connectivity, increased flexibility and scalability, enhanced network visibility levels, easier management of network and end-points, and central management of mission-critical IoT devices.

Pre-SD-WAN era: Reminiscing the state of manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is hampered by manual processes, outdated systems, inconsistent data entry, incorrect labelling and the like. Many manufacturers found that errors in their production lines contributed to delays in creating real-time inventory information, failure in meeting customer expectations, and delays in the supply chain. They also noticed that a great amount of time was needed to troubleshoot issues and activate new policies. This was because of their network and configuration complexity. A largely unsupported system for centralised control, management and monitoring added to that existing complexity.

In addition to the above-mentioned challenges, IT network engineers took time to discover and troubleshoot issues such zero-network visibility owing to high latency, intermittent connection issues and higher MTTR. Enterprise applications weren’t able to analyse insights from networks and applications, which affected SLAs and user experience.

Numerous high-precision manufacturers also struggled with minor variations in production processes or materials, which led to a defect in the entire production process and resulted in a series of defective products. While this challenge can be solved through a typical quality inspection that includes multiple processes a visual review of components to ensure they are of the right shape, colour and size, it was tedious and labour-intensive given the broad range of variations among products.

SD-WAN: The different approach, the better approach

According to an IDC study, markets for SD-WAN infrastructure and SD-WAN devices continue to grow rapidly in the networking market. This growth is being driven by the significant value that SD-WAN technology offers to industries, particularly manufacturing. The study also reveals that SD-WAN will continue to play an important role in transforming businesses into a digital world in 2022 and beyond.

An SD-WAN solution ensures that you and your data are always connected – regardless of location or connection type. It guarantees the promise of next-gen connectivity, near-zero latency and higher capacity needed to succeed in this fast-paced market. An intelligent SD-WAN solution delivers faster, more agile WAN connectivity, serves as a gateway/router at the branches, securely connects and manages billions of devices and applications, automatically routes traffic to the best available mode of transport, and more. Other benefits of SD-WAN include:

  • Reduced OPEX and CAPEX
  • Seamless scalability
  • Faster delivery times
  • Bolstering reachability
  • Central devices access for engineers

Airtel Intelligent VPN enables manufacturers to focus on innovation rather than network infrastructure. How? With significant improvements in latency and bandwidths, seamless failover, smoother quick fixes for latency spurts or local breakout and AWS traffic prioritisation, it reduces both OPEX and CAPEX when compared to MPLS and other connection mediums.

That said, Airtel’s managed SD-WAN solution comes with centralised controller to facilitate easier maintenance of systems and streamline monitoring with real-time alerts and notifications. It uses smart analytics to provide granular visibility into the network, thereby improving both IT network engineers’ and end-users’ experience. Airtel Intelligent VPN also helps to automate conventional processes to help IT managers spend more time on crucial tasks and less time on time troubleshooting and configuring manually.

Make Way for Smarter Business Play

By taking advantage of the right connectivity and wireless networks, you can improve your manufacturing environment. It helps you dynamically adjust your operations and processes to fit your company’s requirements while protecting your data and intellectual property (IP). Make your manufacturing operations more efficient, productive, and cost-effective with SD-WAN.

Manufacturers and their suppliers can leverage emerging technologies to improve business visibility, thereby building a foundation for operational efficiency. With Airtel Intelligent VPN, you get a dual set of benefits for manufacturers and their IT teams as mentioned above. Luckily, enterprises can now take advantage of SD-WAN in the same way that data centers do in order to scale and manage their networks. All you need to do is choose the right managed SD-WAN solution provider.