During a panel discussion moderated by Bloomberg on June 25, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said the company was going to allow employees to work from home indefinitely. In his comments, he acknowledged that once a company heads down the path of remote work, where its workers adjust how and where they work, “unwinding that is a little bit hard to imagine.”
Slack is not alone. Since May, enterprises have begun to announce similar plans. According to CNBC, Nationwide Insurance has 98% of its workforce at home, with a plan to transition to a hybrid model once the pandemic ends. Similarly, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said that corporate offices with thousands of employees “may be a thing of the past.” Even French automaker PSA was cited on CNN as announcing a "new era of agility," in which its non-production staff will work remotely from now on.
This mass transition to remote work has been challenging for companies of all sizes, with home networks tested by the surge in activity. The New York Times reported that 10 days after the March shutdown, AT&T noted a 27% increase in traffic compared to the same day in 2019; and Verizon saw a 22% increase. Across the country, corporate IT teams were caught off-guard and unprepared to manage all the distributed connections and variable network performance of their employees’ home networks. And the consequences range from the benign to the frustrating: we get bumped off video conferencing calls; we wait for files to download; we can’t access critical enterprise resources.
When it comes to business applications, the typical residential internet service doesn’t have the necessary capabilities – such as application prioritization or congestion mitigation – that an enterprise network delivers.
In the enterprise networking world, whenever branch locations or stores span a geographic footprint, they inevitably have vastly different terrestrial infrastructure and broadband capabilities, depending on where they are located. Think of gas stations, restaurant franchises, banks, and other national retail chains. For these businesses, a location in a large suburban area will have access to higher bandwidth fiber, cable, or ethernet lines, while locations in more rural regions may not. As a result of these disparities, enterprise networks employ numerous technologies to ensure all sites, regardless of infrastructure, are able to maintain IT performance at a required level.
For years, Hughes has been solving these challenges for distributed enterprises through Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions – serving over 41,000 managed SD-WAN sites and nearly half a million WAN sites worldwide. So when confronted with the mass exodus of employees from networked enterprise sites to home offices, it was natural for us to extend our SD-WAN solution to encompass these new residential distributed locations. Our new Work@Home solution delivers many of the benefits of SD-WAN to the home networking environment – like high quality, uninterrupted, secure connectivity to Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.
With an easy-to-install, low-cost VMware SD-WAN Edge device in their homes, employees can connect to the enterprise data center, the internet, and organizational cloud applications securely and reliably. The device enables automatic prioritization of business traffic over that of other users in the home, improving the employee’s user experience. Along with the edge device, our Work@Home solution offers a VMware SD-WAN Orchestrator, which enables the Zero Touch Provisioning of the device and makes it easy to push out predefined configurations to optimize performance.
With speedy rollouts, simplified management, reliable access and assured performance, Hughes Work@Home solution offers enterprises a path from what we all thought was to be a short-term remote work arrangement to a successful – and sustainable – work from home environment.
Watch this video to learn more about work from home scenarios and how you can outfit your workforce.