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Summary

BT: Review, Pros, Cons and Marketplace Research Data 

Analyst: Abigail Sturt  Contact: asturt@netify.co.uk 

If you have questions about BT and how their capability is aligned to your needs, email the Netify research team. UK: uk@netify.co.uk North America: northamerica@netify.com

(Please use the UK email for ROW - Rest of the World - questions or enquiries)

Categories: 

  • Hybrid WAN
  • SD WAN Service Provider 

Sub-categories:

  • Mobile 

Pros:

  • Offer a hybrid WAN solution with 4G LTE backup provided by BT’s acquisition of EE - Halo for Business.
  • BT are the UK’s largest fixed line, mobile service (EE) and broadband provider. They offer BT Global Services, leveraging their global IP backbone. 
  • Offers connectivity to China through a joint venture called BT China Communications and provides SD WAN, MPLS, VPN, IP and internet service provider (ISP) services in this area. 
  • Offers internet services in over 90 countries, via partnerships with 225 direct ISP partners. 
  • Has good partnerships with Cisco Viptela and Cisco Meraki - strong offering in this area. 

Cons:

  • Customers report that BT have retained their legacy processes associated with MPLS which may mean some of the agility is lost when dealing with complex or faster change requests. 
  • Do not offer co-managed or DIY services for any of their vendor partners. 
  • BT’s global internet coverage is not as comprehensive as their MPLS coverage. Because of this they rely heavily on ISP partners to extend their internet coverage, complicating the network by involving third-party businesses. 

Netify Review:

BT is recommended for all SME and large corporate UK clients, however their Global Services products are typically bought by large multi-national companies. The large size of BT often creates unnecessary bureaucracy and process which can be detrimental for some businesses. Netify would recommend considering BT for underlay with added services from integrators in some instances. 

Worldwide coverage is offered via BT’s global IP backbone, with PoPs situated in 198 countries, recently even in hard to reach areas such as China. Their SD WAN offering is based primarily on hardware from Cisco Viptela or Meraki, but also offers solutions from other vendors, giving clients a wide range of choice. The company also have a strong managed services offering, with experience working with government, military and emergency services. 

BT have a strong mobile capability due to their acquisition of mobile phone network provider EE in 2016. They leverage 4G and 5G LTE capabilities with connectivity speeds of up to 10Gbps. 

Contents:

  • About BT
  • What is the BT SD WAN solution?
    • Configuration-Based Key Features
    • Security-Based Key Features
    • Performance-Based Key Features
  • What is the BT SASE Security Solution?
  • How does BT Access Cloud Vendors?
  • Does BT Offer WAN Acceleration and Optimisation?
  • How Does BT Support Remote Users?
  • Which Connectivity Underlay Services are Supported?
  • Do BT Manage and Support SD WAN Underlay?
  • What is the BT Managed Services Solution?
  • What Reporting and Management is Available via the BT Portal?
  • Does BT offer DIY and Co-managed SD WAN?
  • What is the BT SLA?
  • Which  vendors do BT support? 

About BT:

BT Group (formerly British Telecom) is the UK largest provider of broadband, fixed line and mobile services. BT as it stands today was founded in 1981 and its headquarters are in London, United Kingdom. BT is a multinational telecommunications company that operates in around 180 countries providing enterprise mobility, unified communications, connectivity, IP and security solutions as well as managed services. 

What is the BT SD WAN Solution?

BT offer fully managed SD WAN services (See, What is the BT managed, co-managed and DIY services solution?) based on hardware from their vendor partners (See, Which vendors do BT support?). They have especially strong partnerships with Cisco Viptela and Cisco Meraki, and offer managed cloud security from Zscaler and Cisco Umbrella (See, How does BT access cloud vendors?).

Configuration-Based Key Features:

  • BT and Cisco Viptela: BT have a strong partnership with Viptela which is aimed at those with more complex network requirements and allows clients to upgrade existing Cisco routers. The offering includes granular security features (see, What is the BT SASE security solution?) And path selection which is good for data-heavy applications. For more information on Cisco Viptela, see our vendor listing here.  
  • BT and Cisco Meraki: BT’s offering using Meraki hardware is a good option for clients looking for a straightforward WiFi, WAN or LAN network service, with the ability to either replace legacy equipment or layer it on top. For more information on Cisco Meraki, see our vendor listing here. 

  • Dedicated Internet Access (DIA): Provided via a BTnet leased line which sends and receives large data files and runs bandwidth-hungry applications such as Azure and Office 365. Smaller businesses can use BTnet Express which offers speeds of up to 50Mbps, whilst keeping a fixed price; and for larger businesses BT Internet Connect Global offers internet access services for sites located worldwide. 
  • Ethernet virtual private network (VPN): Connects into BT’s global network via a local PoP. Physical connectivity is created using access circuits, which can be either superfast, a generic Ethernet Access; or fibre or copper, which is Ethernet in the first mile. A range of resilience options are also available. Ethernet VPN can support IPv6, multi-cast and non-IP legacy technology. 
  • IP VPN: IP Connect is BT’s IP VPN solution, which allows clients to connect sites on a regional, national or global scale using a single IP VPN. It also has the capability to converge video, voice and data applications onto one IP network. 
  • Global Internet Backbone: Offers PoPs in various locations worldwide, including in China. 

Security-Based Key Features:

  • Cyber Security: BT have 3,000 cyber security experts that monitor networks constantly, for businesses as well as government, military and emergency services. 
  • BT Cloud Security Architecture: BT Cloud Security helps to prevent data breaches and protects business-critical devices such as servers, desktops and laptops. The service can integrate with existing set-ups and is provided via partnerships with cloud security providers (see, How does BT access cloud vendors?). Currently BT are looking to update this architecture to a full SASE offering. 

Performance-Based Key Features:

  • Ethernet Virtual Connections (EVCs): Allow users to prioritise traffic by setting classes of service, whilst defining connectivity between sites which could be: hub and spoke; point-to-point; or any-to-any.  
  • 4G and 5G LTE from EE: Boast connectivity speeds up to 10Gbps. 
  • Network Function Virtualisation (NFV): BT’s NFV service offers security, routing, WAN optimisation and performance and has partnerships with two uCPE vendors. 
  • Virtual Network Functions (VNFs): Clients can bring their own VNF and deploy it from 33 NFV service nodes or uCPE devices. 

What is the BT SASE security solution?

BT do not offer their own SASE security solution. However, SASE is available from the following of BT’s vendor partners: Fortinet, VMware, Versa and Cisco Umbrella Cloud security from Meraki and Viptela. 

How does BT access cloud vendors?

BT offers cloud connectivity to 8 major providers in 74 cities globally. BT has global partner agreements with Microsoft Azure and AWS. The third party cloud providers that BT supports are: Azure, Oracle, IBM, AWS, T-Systems, Salesforce and Equinix. BT offer hybrid, private and public cloud as well as colocation or telehousing in one of their 48 data centres. BT utilises 22 cloud enabled data centres to provide far reaching cloud coverage and all private clouds can be optionally deployed in a BT or own datacenter to ensure data sovereignty. BT’s partnership with Azure includes: BT Cloud Connect Azure, BT Cloud Connect Azure vWAN and BT Cloud Connect Azure Express Route. BT also offer Cisco One Cloud, Cisco Webex and Cloud Contact Next Generation (CCNG). 

Does BT offer WAN acceleration and optimisation?

Yes, BT leverages partners such as Cisco or Riverbed to utilise cloud based and software deployed technologies. Using a flexible ‘slow and grow’ model so clients only pay for what they use. BT Connect Intelligence Services can reduce bandwidth by 90%, provide 10x faster response for SaaS applications such as Salesforce and Office 365. BT also offer end user monitoring for office and home workers to provide full visibility of the network underlay and application landscape. BT WAN acceleration and optimisation is best applied through the use of Visibility-as-a-service (VaaS) and SaaS Accelerator in conjunction with each other. 

  • VaaS: Provides a clear view of end user experiences and application performance through a single portal. The VaaS portal centralises all network infrastructure to improve visibility of user issues, and enable decisions over reducing hardware or license costs, or show the impact network changes are having on the business. 
  • SaaS Accelerator for Home and Office: A collaborative fully managed solution by BT and Riverbed that can be delivered via cloud, data centre or ‘as-a-service’. Accessed through a single dashboard, it is best used alongside VaaS to identify poor performing SaaS applications that can then be optimised for the best end user experience. Leverages a secure and fully compatible software client that is tech and network agnostic so can be applied to SD WAN networks. Reduces bandwidth by up to 99%, improves the global UX of SaaS applications by up to 10x and accelerates businesses applications by 60x. 

How does BT support remote users?

BT offer their own remote access service that supports remote users through BT Cloud Work. The product provides collaboration and connectivity features to teleworkers such as screen/file sharing, HD video meetings and digital white boarding. It can also help ensure data privacy by centralising IT approved tools and applications amongst the workforce. Business critical voice calling utilises priority bandwidth usage to ensure optimal performance. The BT Cloud Work’s online portal can be used to monitor network performance and provides 24/7 service reporting. This is offered in three different packages: Basic, Connect and Collaborate. Remote access is also supported via overlay vendors such as Meraki and Viptela through their managed SD WAN services. 

Which connectivity underlay services are supported?

BT supports the following connectivity underlay services: Full fibre, MPLS, BTNet DIA and 4G/5G LTE. 

Do BT Manage and Support SD WAN Underlay?

Yes, BT offer proactive underlay management and monitoring with security options to meet clients needs. The SD WAN underlay is managed by a single UK service desk that is manned 24/7. The BT dashboard allows for historical reporting and real time performance monitoring as well as application priority protocols for any site, network or application. International customers are able to receive in-county support (where available) through BT Global services’ worldwide Network Operation Centres (NOCs).

What is the BT managed, co-managed and DIY services solution? 

BT have a strong focus on managed SD WAN services. They offer clients their own dedicated management team with a project manager to help to set up and integrate the network. From then on clients have constant access to operations centres which monitor the network with the help of ITIL-accredited global network experts. Each solution is tailored to the individual business, which means that BT can cater for small to very large enterprises and have the ability to match new or pre-existing security policies. Finally, clients can access the BT dashboard which offers historic analytical data and real-time performance statistics for increased network visibility. They offer managed services in bundles from Cisco Viptela and Cisco Meraki. 

What Reporting and Management is Available Via the BT Portal?

The BT portal provides end-to-end network visibility via a single dashboard. The fully managed solution supports monitoring and management from a single managed service desk in the UK that is manned 24/7. Reporting on historical events and real time performance is available via the BT portal. The management of application and network priority protocols can also be accessed. The VaaS solution provides a single portal for all network infrastructure to improve end-to-end visibility of user issues. 

What is the BT SLA?*

Installation:

Number of working days beyond Customer Committed Date (CCD)

Reduction in connection charges 

1-10 

5%

11-15

10%

16-20

15%

>20

20%

N.B. UK Customers Only. Service on or before the Customer Committed Date (CCD). If CCD is not met On Time Delivery Service Credits are issued by reducing the standard service connection charge based on a standard 1 year connection cost for the installed service.

Network Connection:

 

UK Core Network Connection

Transatlantic Network Connection

Service Availability 

100%

~

Network Latency 

≤20ms

≤95ms

N.B. Credits are provided upon missed SLA in the form of reduced rental charges. Service availability downtime must be reported to BT to receive a service ticket to apply for service credits. 

*BT SLA is the SLA for BTnet dedicated leased line.

Which vendors do BT support?

BT have strong partnerships with Cisco Viptela and Cisco Meraki. They also offer services based on Nuage, VMware, Fortinet and Versa. BT supports the following third party cloud vendors: Salesforce, IBM, Azure, Oracle, AWS, Equinix and T-Systems.

 

 

 

Focus

Proposition Focus

27.5%
10%
27.5%
35%
Managed Services
SASE Security
Management Portal
SD WAN

Cloud Focus

20%
30%
20%
30%
AWS
Azure
Oracle Cloud
Cisco

Other Focus

40%
20%
40%
Remote Users
Simplicity
Complex Requirements

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