SD-WAN is used widely for a couple of years now, but how is it working, and how is it different from WAN? And the most important: is SD-WAN a good choice for multi-location companies?
In this post, you will learn about its major components and discover the advantages compared to the traditional WAN solution.
Traditional WAN networks
Let’s take a step back and have a look at how WANs management looks like. They are designed to maintain the connection between different locations: companies’ departments, data centers, and headquarters. Access can be granted via different links, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) or lines, wireless networks, cellular networks, or internet access. For many years, this type of architecture ensured the security of all connections, as all traffic was routed through a private data center.
This infrastructure has its limitations though. The need of renting a line from an internet service provider using their network should be taken into consideration. It generates an additional cost, the bandwidth load is increased, and the connection is often slow, which affects the comfort of users. Moreover, the companies have to handle the increasing workload of branches and users, who are also demanding new services such as software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). Therefore, traditional MPLS systems are no longer able to support these dynamic environments and new traffic patterns.
What do companies need?
Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to implement WAN with a more dynamic structure, which:
-provides an insight into the application performance,
-increases the flexibility of managing WAN endpoints,
-allows you to access the Internet directly from remote locations without passing traffic through the data center.
Hybrid WAN appears as an interesting answer for greater connection bandwidth demand. The only thing you should do is to start an additional MPLS system or connect with the Internet. But, as simple as it seems, when it comes to many company’s branches the client has to configure routing manually, and it must be implemented on every device in every branch. So, this is where the problem begins.
So why SD-WAN?
As the name states, software-defined wide-area networks use software to control the connectivity, management, and services between data centers and remote branches or cloud instances. Like its bigger technology brother, software-defined networking, SD-WAN decouples the control plane from the data plane.
SD-WAN architecture allows to add another internet connection to existing ones, and then optimize its use through intelligent routing. SD-WAN not only supports common network connectivity functions but also transports applications at maximum efficiency for excellent performance and security. Load balancing is done directly with a single control panel acting as a virtual “overlay” layer. The control panel allows you to define and automate routing schemes from a single dashboard.
5 reasons why SD-WAN is a perfect solution for your business
SD-WAN’s driving principle is to simplify the way big companies turn up new links to branch offices, better manage the way those links are utilized – for data, voice, or video – and potentially save money in the process. More advantages are:
- Single WAN structure (control plane) is easy to use and can be scaled to thousands of remote locations.
- Global support for all types of connections, including MPLS, Internet, 4G LTE and 5G.
- Physical or virtual network devices can be deployed in a branch, cloud site or datacenter.
- Instant deployment (in minutes) of services such as SD WAN, unified communications, firewall, and more, including third-party services.
- Real-time optimization of all applications based on insight to facilitate forecasting and planning with analytics to act and solve problems faster.
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