Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a popular new technology that is used to connect enterprise networks over wide geographical areas and is typically a more cost effective option than multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) or using private bandwidth.
Although SD-WAN is gaining in popularity, particularly as remote work grows, many businesses are still uncertain about how it works and unaware of all of the benefits it can provide. Here’s an overview of how SD-WAN is implemented, the challenges it can solve, and the top benefits it can bring to your business.
What is SD-WAN?
Simply put, SD-WAN a box that sits between your LAN and two or more internet service providers. Once connected, the device understands that voice packets need the fastest route to the internet as possible. The SDN makes a decision on which ISP to use based on real-time traffic flow data. For example, if one internet service provider is experiencing a virtual “traffic jam,” the important traffic routes through your second internet service provider and is used until the traffic jam clears up.
How can SD-WAN benefit your business?
SD-WAN is particularly advantageous for cutting costs and improving your network performance. SD-WAN provides prioritization and is customizable to the types of traffic that need to take precedence in your environment. In general, SD-WAN is a cost-effective, time-saving option that is easier to implement and maintain.
Here are the most important benefits SD-WAN can bring to your organization:
1. Improve cloud application performance and ease cloud adoption
Firms are increasingly depending on cloud environments to be flexible and efficient. Traditional networks have been designed to deliver applications from a central hub with low latency, to the detriment of the performance of cloud applications and simplification of integration.
2. Simplify WAN complexity
SD-WAN has emerged to abstract the traditional complexity of the WAN by providing a software-defined overlay to manage multiple connection types as well as the ability to automate traffic between links per defined application policies.
3. Deliver failover protection
In the event of a failover, having the ability to instantly transfer tasks from a failed component to an active line avoids disruption and maintains operations, and best of all it is an automated feature.
4. Standardize and improve networking infrastructure across different locations
Driven by the needs of digital business transformation, the market is evolving from traditional branch routers to undergo dramatic change by increasing the use of cloud services and bandwidth-heavy applications across the WAN.
5. Reduced costs and improved network performance
Companies can utilize more bandwidth at a reduced cost, which results in improved communications between different office locations and sites across the globe.
6. Agility to support digital transformation efforts
SD-WAN provides the capabilities that enable organizations to utilize cloud environments at scale — driven by the dynamic network bandwidth they have access to.
7. Improved network management
With less downtime, there is a reduced amount of time that is allocated to fixing or managing the network, thereby resulting in immediate cost reductions without impacting network performance. This results in a direct savings in hardware, access, and maintenance costs.
Things to Consider When Adopting SD-WAN
When assessing if SD-WAN is a good fit for your organization, consider the following:
- How important is constant uptime to your business?
- Do you have a failover/backup solution currently?
- Do you have enough bandwidth to support your current/future cloud applications?
- What are your business-critical applications?
- Where do your applications live today?
- Do all of your applications perform consistently and reliably today?
- What applications are limited due to your current WAN constraints?
- What is the cost of down time to your business?
- What do you do today when the Internet goes down?
- Have you looked to leverage a low-cost carrier in the past to guarantee up time?
Would you like more information about setting up SD-WAN for your business? Contact us here.