SDN Blog

SDN Communications quietly improving its vast network

Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 in Broadband Internet , WAN Connectivity

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Most business clients probably won’t notice the work taking place, but SDN Communications will improve network connectivity in 23 communities across South Dakota and parts of Minnesota and Nebraska throughout 2014.

SDN customers might not immediately notice the improved flow of electronic information enabled by the equipment upgrades.

The transition to the new equipment will be fairly seamless, says Mitch Elfstrand, vice president of engineering and operations for SDN.

“We’re always striving to make services better for our customers,” he says.

SDN is investing millions of dollars on next-generation equipment to upgrade MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) connectivity in South Dakota communities including:

  • Bison
  • De Smet
  • Madison
  • Sioux Falls
  • Vermillion

Improvements also will be made to service nodes in several communities in western Minnesota, including:

  • Lakefield
  • Pipestone
  • Ruthton 

Upgrades also will be made in Bellevue, Neb., which is next to Omaha.

The work involves installing equipment such as new switches and routers to expand performance potential of the network.

Most of the communities where work is planned already are connected to SDN’s network, but the platform might not be as robust as the one being installed, Elfstrand says.

Improvements also are being made to customer-premises equipment to provide clients better access to SDN broadband services.

SDN’s MPLS system efficiently ties together various transportation methods to link clients’ scattered offices and help them protect electronic assets. Newer technologies allow data from different sources to travel the same optical fiber at the same time.

Telecommunications technology is always evolving and getting better, Elfstrand says.

“If you talk to someone who’s been out of the industry for 10 years, they’re in the Dark Ages,” he says.

Client needs drive improvements

The needs and wants of business clients and member companies drive SDN to keep its network operating at a high level.

At the core of many of SDN’s products and services is a multistate network of more than 30,000 miles of fiber optic line that connect the region’s leading businesses and institutions. SDN’s 17 member companies contribute thousands of those miles to the network.

Access to broadband connectivity helps businesses and institutions move, store and protect data and other information.

Most of the field work overseen by Elfstrand and his staff relates to operating, maintaining or upgrading the network. Occasionally, repair work also must be done.

But SDN connects businesses and institutions throughout the region with high-speed, broadband Internet service that is highly reliable. SDN’s uptime rate is more than 99 percent – a level of performance that is as close to perfection as possible, given the state of technology.

Good connections help client companies and institutions securely and efficiently communicate with branch sites from Minneapolis to Denver, Omaha to Fargo, Casper to Des Moines, or hundreds of smaller communities in the Upper Midwest.

In addition to upgrades planned to improve community and premise access, SDN is adding equipment to increase overall network throughput and to enhance technical capabilities for providing managed services to help clients with their routers, firewalls and contact center options.

SDN is also considering other projects that could expand or improve its network.

“We have a couple of big projects hinging on customers’ commitment, at this point,” Elfstrand says.

In the meantime, SDN will go quietly about the business of operating, maintaining and upgrading the premier broadband network in the region.

For more information about SDN and its products and services, visit the SDN Communications website.