COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on everyone’s life. Businesses are requesting staff to work from home and with the implementation of many other restrictions such as travel, shops and school closures, the “home office” has become a whole new environment that IT has to manage, in part at least.

Poor network connectivity hampers productivity

The typical home office worker uses multiple tools during their working day. SaaS based such as Office 365, Teams, Zoom and a growing list of bespoke LoB providers alongside voice, video and the traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). While the employee is working, the rest of the household is also online, learning, collaborating, socialising, gaming or streaming. Add it all together and throw in the inconstant nature of internet connectivity in the home and something has got to give.

If you’ve worked from home over the past 6 months, you’ll be familiar with the knock on effect of poor network connectivity. Dropped calls, issues with joining online meetings, poor quality video and downloads that take an eternity. UK IT industry publication Computer Weekly has recently reported that UK based home workers are losing on average 30 minutes productivity a day due to poor or intermittent network connections. That’s two and a half hours a week wasted due to poor connectivity, for each and every team member that’s working, or at least trying to work from home. Doing some quick maths, if you have 15 people working from home losing 2.5 hours a week, it’s the equivalent to a whole member of staff – assuming a 37.5 hour working week. (15 * 2.5 = 37.5 to save you working it out)

Home working also provides many challenges for IT departments

  • How and what do they provide the home worker with, to securely access their working environment?
  • How do they scale out their current WAN to include the home office remote worker and finally ditch the legacy VPN?
  • How do they deploy WAN devices and make onboarding simple and timely with zero or minimal user intervention?
  • How do they handle deployment, keeping costs down and ensuring the environment is secure by protecting users, data, applications, and the network?

Citrix SD-WAN is the solution

The Citrix SD-WAN 110-LTE-WiFi-SE appliance (pictured below) addresses all the needs of the small/home office. It’s a small form factor device around the same size as a typical broadband router that provides the ability for both wired and wireless connectivity for trusted devices in the home office. Note the term trusted devices, so no risk of an unpatched WiFi camera in the home hacking the corporate network.😉

Wired connections provide connectivity to local broadband routers and 2 x SIM slots add 4G for WAN side connectivity. That means that the box can send your traffic to and from your user over up to 4 routes, allowing the SD-WAN solution to ‘steer’ around problems that any one route has. Internet is blocked, take the mobile route. Mobile is blocked, take the other mobile route and so on.

4G can be configured to bond with the main WAN link to increase bandwidth available to users and be used as a permanent WAN link or alternatively as the “Link of Last Resort”, a link that is maintained active, consumes little data but provides instant failover should the main WAN links suffer congestion and or fail. This keeps the costs associated with mobile network data use in check.

The Citrix SD-WAN SoHo device next to one of our SD-WAN mugs at Citrix Summit 2020. Note the dual SIM card slots on the front and two LTE antennas fitted to the right. Watch the video below to learn more.

SD-WAN for the home worker

A typical Home office deployment would look like this, with seamless integration of the home worker into the home network and 4G providing an alternative route.

The SD-WAN solution is configured to deliver the home worker’s traffic, providing a secure, isolated corporate network using the home broadband as the primary form of connectivity. The rest of the household connect normally to the existing home network and share the available bandwidth with the SD-WAN device.

For the home worker, the solution is plug and play so it’s no more complicated than installing a new broadband router. Once activated, a Virtual Path is established across the available WAN and LTE interfaces from the home office SD-WAN to the core SD-WAN environment, providing a secure edge access point for the home worker. This makes it easier to maintain corporate security standards way beyond legacy VPN based solutions.

1st look at the Citrix SD-WAN 110 at Citrix Summit Orlando 2020

Unboxing and installing the Citrix 110 SD-WAN SoHo device

Our friend Shoaib Yusuf at Citrix has a familiar looking mug 🧐

FIND OUT MORE

To find out more about Citrix SD-WAN and how it can help to address user and enterprise requirements call 0330 010 3443 or email hello@clouddnagroup.com.

Secure, cost effective, UX centric home worker service delivery, from £149 per month.

Subscription based fully managed Citrix SD-WAN service with low upfront commitment from just £449 and monthly billing from as little as £149 per month for a typical home worker device.