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What Is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN, or software-defined wide area networking, was first introduced 10+ years ago. It is a method of managing the connections between different locations over long distances, such as connecting the branches of a chain of retail outlets.

SD-WAN aimed to improve WAN (Wide Area Network) connectivity by moving away from networks that relied on hardware-controlled mechanisms and moving towards a more flexible, internet-based system. SD-WAN can utilise multiple hardware and network options to create a flexible, efficient, and fully scalable WAN.

In traditional WANs, a network engineer would have to manually configure each device at every location, which can be time-consuming and costly. With SD-WAN, the network is controlled by software, allowing for centralised management and configuration of the network.

With the explosion of cloud-based traffic, an improved method of communicating large amounts of data over multiple large distances through the WAN has become increasingly important.

SD-WAN seeks to manage the wider network effectively by gathering broadband, mobile, and MPLS users and securely connecting them to applications. It increases flexibility, allowing users to access the network through different connections, for example, MPLS and 4G/5G LTE broadband. This flexibility can increase efficiency and improve application performance. Find out more about SD-WAN vs MPLS from a WiFi expert.

What are the Benefits of SD-WAN?

It is important to consider the benefits of SD-WAN—a good decision can significantly impact a company’s ability to perform effectively and efficiently.

The WAN environment has changed in recent years as it buckles under the pressure of increased cloud-based applications.

Traditional WANs were supported by MPLS technology, a system that allowed point-to-point connectivity. These connections required significant hardware investment and were not designed for businesses operating within the cloud, where internet speed and bandwidth play an important part in modern business wifi solutions.

SD-WAN technology and its benefits include:

  • Operational simplicity – devices and networks can be managed centrally, and change management is easily applied.
  • Faster Response TimesSD-WAN allows direct access to SaaS (software as a service) and cloud-based applications, improving response times. Cloud traffic is directed automatically, and bandwidth is defined centrally.
  • Better Connectivity —SD-WAN provides carrier-independent connectivity, improving bandwidth and reducing downtime due to network outages. Businesses can choose an internet service provider that best suits their location, specific requirements, and budget.

What does SD-WAN Cost?

Installing previous MLPS systems required significant capital expenditure on hardware.

SD-WAN does not require specific investment. One of the major benefits is that it uses commercial off-the-shelf equipment or existing hardware.

  • The cost to the business is usually through a managed service monthly subscription, which can be tailored to each company’s needs.
  • The ability to manage the network centrally and connect to applications through inexpensive 5G, satellite, and direct internet reduces cost and increases efficiency.
  • Scalability – the service can be matched to the current size and needs of the organisation.

How much could your business save?

Speak to an SD-WAN expert to find out exactly what it will cost your business.

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SD-WAN Has More Flexibility

SD-WAN networks are controlled from a single point, enabling simple change management. When a new site is added to the network, a simple plug-in is all that’s required. As it is software-based, there is no need for an engineer to visit to install, configure, and test the hardware.

Process changes that would previously take time to implement over sites can happen instantly over the SD-WAN. This centralised approach to the wider network is a massive incentive for an organisation to adopt SD-WAN.

Improved Security with SD-WAN

The public network and remote working have greatly increased the surface area of cyber attacks in recent years. Network & Data security is clearly critical to a business.

SD-WAN offers multiple layers and types of security, with the ability to centrally manage security being of significant benefit. This has eliminated the need to configure each item of IT equipment.

  • Security processes and strategies are implemented in a central, unified way.
  • Security fixes are rolled out quickly across the whole environment.
  • Reduced opportunity for error as changes are made once, centrally.

FAQs

Can SD-WAN Replace MPLS?

How Much Does SD-WAN Cost?

How to Deploy SD-WAN

DIY or Managed Service?

WiFi survey by Performance networks

Final Thoughts from a SD-WAN WiFi Expert

SD-WAN technology has been a game changer in the digital, cloud-based world. And the trend is set to continue as the move towards hybrid working gathers pace. A typical business will operate with, alongside, or through various cloud-based applications, increasing pressure on the wider area network.

Next-generation SD-WAN seeks to benefit enterprises further. Companies will experience improved security and a more efficient cloud data flow through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.

Contact me or one of my team of wifi specialists to discuss your SD-WAN needs.

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