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Colt is a UK-based SD WAN Managed Service Provider leveraging its own global backbone of 158 points of presence. Colt have a European Net Promoter Score of 70+ and are a visionary in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure.
Author: Netify Research Team
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Colt is a good choice for multinational corporations with connectivity needs centered around globally distributed locations. Their solution is strongest in Europe and Asia, and therefore businesses located in these areas requesting connectivity to public and private data centers along with cloud services are recommended. Colt have a strong partnership with Versa networks, offering a granular SD WAN solution with strong uCPE and VNF features, leveraging their global IP backbone with over 158 PoPs worldwide.
Caution is recommended to clients located outside Europe and Asia, as some of Colt’s services are not available beyond these regions. Further, Colt’s SASE offering is somewhat limited, as it comes only as a hybrid solution for remote workers - however there are a number of strong SD WAN security features available, and SASE can be provisioned from a third-party integrator or service provider.
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Colt (previously City of London Telecommunications) was founded in 1992 with its headquarters currently based in London, United Kingdom. The company offers over 900 data centers and 52 offices globally. In 2019, Colt was named a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure. They also offer a Net Promoter Score of 71 in Europe and 46 in Asia as of July 2021. Colt’s SD WAN offering leverages a key supplier partnership with Versa Networks. The company also offers 158+ cloud PoPs and deployed services in over 185 countries. The company was named a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave SD WAN Services Q4 2020 and a Leader in the ISG Provider Lens, Network - Software Defined Solution and Partners, Germany 2020.
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Colt’s SD WAN as a service solution is based on Versa Networks with 10 network-based SD WAN gateways (to learn more about Versa Networks, see our review here), and leverages the Colt IQ network, a global IP backbone with Colt-owned infrastructure in 32 countries, spanning 4 continents with over 158 PoPs worldwide. The service is NFV-based with fully automated setup and configuration, combining SD WAN with open and scalable hardware. The service is available with zero-touch provisioning and supports VoIP, SIP trunking and IPv6 (Internet protocol version 6).
Colt do not offer a direct SASE solution as such, however they offer SD WAN Remote Access, a SASE-enabled hybrid solution powered by Versa Networks SASE. The solution secures connections between remote workers and business applications and data, regardless of physical location. The service is available with management from a single pane of glass. Further SASE may be available from Versa Networks via an integrator or service provider.
Colt offer multi-cloud connectivity that connects branch sites directly to cloud-based SaaS and IaaS, managing the solution from the Colt SD WAN portal (see, What Reporting and Management is Available Via the Colt Portal?). Direct connectivity into multiple cloud environments is available with Layer 3 connectivity and/or MPLS into multiple different cloud providers in one comprehensive solution. Backed with end-to-end security, analytics and performance SLAs (see, What is the Colt SLA?).
Colt’s multi-cloud solution includes Colt network-hosted gateways that offer dedicated connectivity to the cloud via AWS DirectConnect, Google Cloud Interconnect and Azure ExpressRoute. Currently the Colt multi-cloud solution is only available in Europe, but there are plans to extend the service in the future.
Colt uses WAN acceleration and optimization to improve site network reliability and performance over multiple WAN links, enriching the user experience. WAN optimization and acceleration reduces network congestion and maximizes bandwidth utilization by nullifying the effects of latency. TCP retransmission problems such as bit errors, handoff errors and errors caused by delays are curtailed through the use of intelligent traffic flow management. See below for the WAN acceleration and optimization features offered by Colt:
To meet the needs of contemporary network issues such as SASE transition, digital transformation and anywhere network usage, Colt uses Versa Secure Access as an SD WAN feature. This distributed solution connects teleworkers to enterprise applications across public or private clouds as well as enterprise data centers. See below to find out what components make up the Secure Access Solution:
Colt offer a managed SD WAN solution either directly or through a carrier. The solution may also be co-managed depending on the service provider chosen.
The Colt customer self-service portal provides network management that delivers on customer needs and is available for both end users and carriers. The portal features traffic data reporting, visibility, policy control and both carriers and end users are provided with portal customization options through their wholesale service. The portal enables on demand, real time orchestration, use and modification of network services such as mapping applications to specific WAN uplinks or choosing when applications should be switched to a secondary path. The portal offers the features as listed in the table below:
Colt Portal Features, Colt SD WAN External Service Guide (Colt, 2021).
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