WAN Upgrades & SDWAN

As demand for network capacity increases with more remote working it is more important than ever to have flexibility in bandwidth. SD WAN and content acceleration can help with the class of service, reduce latency and enable scaling of capacity up as well as back down again.

It is a myth that a current contract cannot be re-negotiated and enhanced mid–term. Turnstone regularly and successfully do this for clients with their existing supplier deals – and there are always meaningful exposures to address (beyond the legal content). Read on to see our top 10 exposures.

Masergy, Aryaka, Versa, Fortinet, Exertis (managed SD WAN services)
VMware, Silver Peak, Cisco (
equipment suppliers for inhouse deployment)

Now is the perfect time to negotiate an enhanced deal with your incumbent provider – not only for more services, but to review and address the inevitable operational exposures. Read on to see our top 10.

In terms of technology, WAN Edge Infrastructure incorporates a broader group of networking functions including routing, security such as virtual deployed firewalls, SD WAN, and WAN optimisation.

Top 10 Negotiation Essentials for Managed SD WAN

  1. Billing Commencement date * crucial * – define exactly what triggers the supplier to start billing you, and make sure you are happy with it. You may need to add your acceptance criteria. Watch out for suppliers with a unilateral mechanism, who start billing you when they state a circuit is functional.
  2. Third Party Costs – Check that associated costs are stated, such as installation, maintenance, extension work or any additional construction required to complete local access facilities, or line extensions from the designated building point of demarcation to an extended delivery point.
    Even if this requires development later, after survey work onsite and with local exchange carriers, it’s good practice to include as a draft Schedule so it doesn’t get lost.
  3. Acceptance – ensure clarity of what the testing and acceptance of service process is from your point of view. Vendors may default to only showing their testing and go-live process.
    Ideally make this an explicit Schedule to the contract.
  4. Service Availability – Ensure the frequency and duration of planned maintenance outages is defined, including notice periods and controls for you over the timing and duration of outages.
  5. SLA’s – ensure these are negotiated to be ‘real world’ SLA’s in your operational terms, not 99.xx% of their technology stack.
    Check for their ability to make unilateral changes in the SLA which may not support your network requirements.
    If any cooperation is required for fault investigation, ensure it is clear what you will be expected to provide.
  6. Subcontractor Exclusions – check liability for failure of connections provided by subcontractors to see if it has been excluded in some way, including internet connections and local loops.
    network topology diagram in the Schedules will help with clarity here.
  7. Service Credits – check on how outages or performance issues result in a service credit. Ensure it’s a fair and clear process, including what and when you have to do, and that there is a clear calculation of the sum to be credited back by the supplier.
    Equally this principle applies during the deployment / installation phase – Check NRCs (non recurring costs) for refunds if the installation date is not met.
  8. Exit and Transfer– a crucial Schedule, to define who does what, by when, and for how much money. Can include sliding scales / tables of charges for when the service (or components) of need to be exited.
    Needs to include names or roles of who will be responsible.
    And don’t just focus on data to be transferred back to you, often there is config and know-how too.
  9. Co-terminus –you probably want all your circuits to end on the same date, to avoid the ‘never being free’ scenario of having a range of expiry dates. You will need to push for a clear co-terminus mechanism, else the deal will default to a circuit by circuit approach each with its own term, and you’ll end up stuck.
  10. Benchmarking – ensure a contractually binding ability to benchmark the services or pricing, and to alter them accordingly, during the term of your contract. Finally, be explicit about who runs the benchmark and pays for any costs of doing it.

Note this is a top 10 only, we often find many more similar areas which impact both the deployment and ongoing running of the service.

MPLS deals – key areas to address

  1. Billing – most clients experience issues with billing – lateness of invoices (causing difficulties in tying up the relevant budget centre / budget “disappeared” due to financial year straddle), sheer volume and layout of invoicing, too much / too little detail causing large resource to manage and allocate, inconsistencies and billing for connections that are no longer used (but may not be terminated).
  2. Hybrid solutions with an element of SDWAN
  3. Quality of Service – differentiating traffic in the network with the intent of treating one type of traffic differently than another
  4. What are the main components of your network e.g. data, internet pipe, LAN, voice, remote access systems (VPN), VoIP, database hosts, data centres, call centres
  5. What is to be run on it? Data, VoIP (voice), video, web?
  6. Burstability (temporarily going over the data limit on a line to handle a peak)
  7. Resilience
  8. Latency in milliseconds
  9. Pipe sizes and data volumes for list of A to B locations
  10. Current capacities and usage by pipe for each location.

Turnstone have a library of model clauses and Schedules to quickly address all of the above areas and more, to get you into the strongest position.

Do contact us at if you’d like to explore our rapid support.