Windstream Enterprise is expanding its SD-WAN portfolio by including an offering from Fortinet. The company had relied on VMWare solutions since 2017 – adding Fortinet’s SD-WAN technology will give customers additional choices and offers secure, cloud-ready networking capabilities combined with a firewall, regardless of connection type or carrier, according to Windstream.

Fortinet’s SD-WAN capabilities are available on the same edge device as their Next-Gen Firewall (NGFW) with UTM (Unified Threat Management). Consolidating these network functions adds efficiency and lowers overhead, Windstream said.

SD-WAN is designed to provide a cost-effective upgrade path from MPLS-based network solutions to help improve reliability and performance. Windstream Enterprise’s SD-WAN solution is fully-managed and —regardless of the platform option selected — may be paired with Cloud Connect, for secure, private and high-performance connections to cloud-based applications, the company said.

“Business customers are increasingly looking for security that is native to their WAN,” said Mike Frane, vice president of product management at Windstream Enterprise, in a prepared statement. “The Fortinet SD-WAN technology is particularly attractive due to its security pedigree. It complements our offer, broadening its appeal to customers at all levels of the enterprise spectrum.”

Windstream has long pursued the SD-WAN opportunity, seeing it as a growth engine for its important enterprise business unit. Windstream CEO Tony Thomas has gone so far as to proclaim the carrier the nation’s largest SD-WAN service provider. An SD-WAN leaderboard ranking from Vertical Systems Group pegged Windstream as the number four SD-WAN provider, behind Verizon and AT&T.

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