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Carriers, MSPs, or ISPs – the connectivity vendor landscape

They come in all shapes and sizes

In the dynamic world of global enterprise connectivity, the process of sourcing the right solution, from the right vendor, can be a daunting task. In the past, large enterprises with a global presence would probably have leaned towards equally large carriers, but new players in the market and a pressing economy have mixed up things a bit. Today, there’s a broader variety of options. Ranging from global, regional, and local carriers to Managed Service Providers (MSPs), ISPs, and aggregators – each has its own strengths and limitations depending on the customer and use case.

Whether you aim to increase agility, reduce costs, or manage complexity, understanding the vendor landscape is crucial for navigating your connectivity options effectively. So, let’s begin:

Global Carriers

Global carriers, like AT&T or BT, have built a name for themselves in the networking and technology space – for a reason. In contrast with other vendors, they tend to own significant chunks of the telco infrastructure and offer a broad portfolio of connectivity solutions. Because of their size and reputation, carriers may seem the obvious choice in your global WAN strategy. But is it?

Here’s a tip: take into account the cultural fit.  Often, large global companies will not fully focus on medium-sized organizations. Or large ones with smaller projects. Further, carriers will want to sell mostly connections that can be delivered on their network (on-net access), resulting in sub-optimal connectivity in areas where the carrier is not strong. Other things to consider when dealing with a global carrier are a high cost and a low-touch support team.

Look out for: cultural fit, on-net and off-net coverage vs your site locations.

Managed services providers (MSPs)

It’s very likely that you are either implementing or renewing your SD-WAN or SASE solution with a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

MSPs also come in all shapes and sizes. You might be dealing with global players, owning the SD-WAN technology, or local resellers of partner solutions. When it comes to the underlay, some of these vendors will offer connectivity as part of their solution, and they will likely be neutral as they do not own any network infrastructure. However, (underlay) connectivity is not their strength, especially on a global scale where they have no presence or local knowledge.

Look out for: geographical coverage that matches your underlay needs, avoid vendor/technology lock-in for both the overlay and the underlay.

Local ISPs

Working with local connectivity vendors like ISPs can offer enterprises a more agile experience. They are experts in their region/country and can help you navigate permissions, regulations, and local bureaucracy, which comes in handy when you have no direct presence or limited knowledge of the region.

The downside is that you will need to go through the same process of getting to know their offering, assessing their quality, and onboarding them into your financial systems. Depending on your geographic spread, this could mean setting up relationships with dozens (if not more) of local ISPs, each with a different number to call for support and separate billing entities to deal with. Also, consider the cultural differences (and languages) that you’ll need to work with.

Look out for: Make sure you have enough resources dedicated to sourcing, evaluating, and managing different ISPs. It may be very time-consuming when several countries are involved. Depending on your diversity requirements, you may want to use two ISPs per site, but this doesn’t always mean full diversity (as sometimes they could be sharing the same infrastructure).

ISP aggregators

Connectivity aggregators provide you with a neutral model where they can provide a multitude of solutions for connectivity challenges. Depending on the geographic locations of your sites, the choice can be limited as some aggregators have a focus area where they are strong. If your scope is global, consider a true global aggregator for optimal results.

Another advantage of using ISP aggregators is the flexibility they offer when selecting the right connectivity vendor. Further, they will help you simplify global connectivity by managing the deployment of your services, standardizing the support process (one support contact), and centralized invoicing (one invoice). That’s a point to note: check whether your aggregator really takes care of your full service or is just functioning as a marketplace. In the latter case, they will help you find the right local ISPs for your sites, but you will still have to deal with all aspects surrounding provisioning and support and will not have centralized invoicing.

Look out for: a transparent and neutral model that puts your requirements first. Also, make sure the provider has global knowledge to cater to all your sites’ needs and will support you throughout the full lifecycle of your connectivity.

GNX – an Aggregator with a Plus

Correct. We are an aggregator of internet and private connectivity, helping enterprises and MSPs source, deploy, and manage their global connectivity in 190+ countries, all under one single contract, invoice, and support contact.

But there’s more. All GNX customers have access to the expertise we’ve built over the years, the local knowledge, and market insights they need to continue their connectivity journey and make more informed decisions. Our GNX+ platform offers information on pricing, availability, lead-time, SLAs, and more, from competing local vendors. Our goal? To enable your teams to reduce procurement time and operational costs. Not only that, with GNX+, customers can manage the lifecycle of their networks, track performance, and access detailed service information, invoices, and running contracts. Pretty neat, right?

Wanna give it a try?
Contact our team for a demo or to discuss your global connectivity needs. We look forward to hearing from you!