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By Kevin Vachon, COO, MEF

Frost & Sullivan estimates the global SD-WAN service market will grow from $2.85B in 2020 to $14.5B in 2025 (CAGR of 32%). The market is expected to finish up about 30% in 2021 and pick up more steam in 2022. Work from anywhere has become a key driver of SD-WAN, as the enterprise network model evolves to provide secure user access to resources from any location and device. Security has quickly become the ‘killer app’ for SD-WAN.

Lack of common terminology and standards slowed SD-WAN adoption early on, as proprietary solutions were developed, and confusion existed over the “flavors” of technologies and services. Recognizing the need for standardization—and similar to how it standardized the Carrier Ethernet services market—MEF published the industry’s first global SD-WAN service standard, MEF 70, in 2019.

As the SD-WAN market has evolved, so too have MEF SD-WAN standards. MEF recently released MEF 70.1, which adds new service attributes for underlay connectivity, measurable performance metrics for application flows, support for partitioning subscriber IP hosts into zones, and support for multiple virtual topologies that can be assigned by policy.

To augment the inherent security capabilities of SD-WAN, MEF has developed, or is in the process of developing, cybersecurity standards. MEF 88, available now, is MEF’s first cybersecurity standard and is the basis for the new MEF 3.0 Secure SD-WAN certification program. It specifies policy criteria and actions to protect application flows over an SD-WAN service. Additionally, MEF has work underway to evolve secure SD-WAN to the next level. In 2022, MEF will introduce standards to define SASE (MEF W117) and Zero Trust (MEF W118) frameworks and service attributes, helping accelerate adoption by standardizing abstract concepts and terminology early in the market.

Taking SD-WAN standards to the next level with certifications

In addition to developing SD-WAN service standards, MEF offers the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification program for service providers and technologies vendors. These certifications validate compliance with MEF standards for delivering managed SD-WAN services and the underlying technology, enabling market adoption acceleration. In 2022, secure SD-WAN requirements will be added to the MEF 3.0 certification program. To date, 17 companies have achieved MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification. Demonstration of conformity to SD-WAN standards is also a valuable reference for companies choosing a service supplier in a fast-growing market.

Training and certification are equally important for the professionals defining and implementing SD-WAN services and technologies. The MEF SDCP Professional Certification training and certification provides an opportunity for the engineers, architects, product managers, and others deploying SD-WAN solutions to demonstrate their expertise in MEF 3.0 service standards. Worldwide, there are over 700 MEF-SDCP professionals employed by more than 120 companies.

We encourage you to explore the MEF website to learn more about MEF’s work in SD-WAN, SASE and Zero Trust and MEF 3.0 certifications.

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