An SD-WAN solution is a modern approach to wide-area networking. It offers several business benefits, including cost savings, improved performance and enhanced security.
The centralized controller of an SD-WAN automatically directs data across the overlay network based on policies configured by administrators. It also monitors latency, jitter and packet loss and moves data to another link as needed.
The centralized control function in SD-WAN automates traffic steering in an application-driven way based on business intent. This improves network security and application performance and provides a seamless on-ramp to the cloud with significant bandwidth efficiency.
Traditional routers are command-line driven, making it difficult and time-consuming to change rules as traffic conditions vary. On the other hand, SD-WAN can respond to traffic and environmental conditions in real-time through its underlying software and virtual connections.
This flexibility is particularly beneficial for businesses prioritizing traffic over a particular connection. For instance, when an organization needs to prioritize VoIP calls over a high-quality internet connection, they can do so quickly and easily using their SD-WAN solution.
SD-WAN solutions also provide redundancies through the use of policy-based routing and the selection of multiple transport methods (e.g., XDSL, cable, 5G). This helps to eliminate single points of failure and enables high-availability configurations. It also allows link bonding to overcome the trombone effect, improving last-mile performance for mobile users and cloud applications. This enables organizations to save on expensive MPLS bandwidth and reduces reliance on costly leased lines.
Many businesses rely on applications hosted in the cloud and need to ensure reliable connectivity and performance. Traditional networking approaches like MPLS require backhauling all traffic to headquarters, introducing latency and impacting application performance. SD-WAN implementation in networking enables a better and more cost-effective system with significant improvements to productivity and the customer experience.
With an SD-WAN, network managers can use policy-based routing to steer traffic based on the type of application, saving higher-performance connections like MPLS circuits for mission-critical applications. This allows a more cost-effective approach to business-critical internet and SaaS performance without sacrificing security.
SD-WAN also enables businesses to utilize low-cost network connections, such as broadband or 4G/5G cellular, to reduce WAN costs. This provides fast-start and temporary connectivity for branch offices, remote locations and mobile employees.
Finally, secure SD-WAN provides a seamless onramp to the cloud with significant application performance improvement and consistent security for SaaS and IaaS platforms such as Salesforce, Office 365, Dropbox, Box, etc. Unlike traditional WAN technology, this is accomplished with zero-touch provisioning and easy, centralized network management.
When compared to MPLS, SD-WAN is more easily scalable as it eliminates the need for costly hardware at each site. Instead, businesses use a single virtual system to connect each location to a central control and management point, reducing costs and simplifying the solution.
As a result, business sites can be onboarded quickly and with minimal cost. Moreover, business-critical data can be routed over the most reliable network link, improving application performance for employees working remotely or from home. This improves productivity and customer satisfaction while reducing security risks.
Additionally, SD-WAN monitors WAN links for performance degradation and automatically switches to another path when the threshold is met. This eliminates problems like latency, jitter and packet loss that can negatively impact application performance and user experience. It also allows for traffic to be rerouted over public connections if needed. This reduces WAN costs while maintaining high-quality performance. This enables businesses to scale up or down as necessary without losing connectivity to important applications.
A business-driven SD-WAN automatically responds to network conditions by provisioning application policies and applying them at a centralized management point. This gives IT visibility into their network, applications and users, allowing them to ensure that connectivity remains optimal for business goals.
An SD-WAN allows enterprises to prioritize traffic and route it based on importance. For example, high-bandwidth applications like video and voice can be given priority and sent across a dedicated circuit, while low-priority data might use less expensive public connections. SD-WAN also allows for the use of multiple internet service providers to minimize cost and improve performance. This helps address the trombone effect by routing data via the best available connection and improving last-mile performance.
SD-WANs combine overlay and underlay networks to deliver a logical communication link for secure data transmission between locations. An overlay network is created through virtual connections, typically VPNs, that leverage more affordable internet connections to connect remote sites and data centers to their central office. An underlay network provides the physical foundation that supports these virtual connections and allows organizations to reduce reliance on costly leased lines.
An SD-WAN uses a virtualized connection that is abstracted from the physical contact and sits above it, enabling agility that traditional MPLS can’t match. This allows IT to onboard new sites in minutes rather than months. With a business-driven SD-WAN solution, traffic can be routed based on the application’s needs through continuous self-learning. This means that even if a network is experiencing congestion or impairments, an SD-WAN will respond with the ability to monitor and reroute traffic in real-time continuously.
SD-WAN also prioritizes traffic to ensure mission-critical applications receive the best performance possible. It does this by utilizing mechanisms via probes to select the best network link for application traffic. This helps to eliminate latency, jitter and packet loss while reducing bandwidth utilization across all network connections. It also saves costs by directing low-priority traffic over lower-cost networks like broadband internet and saving more expensive MPLS circuits for high-bandwidth applications.