SD-WAN Explained: Simplifying Wide Area Networking

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a virtual architecture that securely connects remote locations to applications. It shifts the decision-making process from local edge routers to a central controller, improving performance and reducing costs. It enables organizations to reduce reliance on expensive MPLS links by sending lower-priority traffic over cheaper public Internet connections. It also provides redundancy by routing traffic to a different path when the primary one is congested or fails.


What is an SD WAN? Unlike traditional networking technology, SD-WAN uses software to manage networks. This allows it to scale quickly and provides flexibility for IT teams to respond to changing network conditions. In addition, it allows organizations to choose multiple connectivity options and improve performance and cost by reducing data loss. However, it is essential to note that it doesn’t replace existing network infrastructure and may require an additional investment in hardware. In addition, it’s important to educate stakeholders about the deployment process and ensure leadership is on board with the project. In the past, WAN connections were backhauled from branch offices to a centralized internet security point in a data center: this increased WAN management costs and limited application performance. With SD-WAN, traffic is rerouted across multiple paths to the data center based on policies configured by IT. This helps to eliminate costly MPLS links and boosts application performance.

Moreover, SD-WAN’s centralized management interface makes it easy for IT teams to monitor the performance of their network from a single location. This helps them to identify potential problems and make changes accordingly. This enables businesses to optimize bandwidth and achieve significant cost savings. The most important features to look for in an SD-WAN solution include centralized management, path intelligence, and application visibility. It should also support cloud connectivity and provide a secure posture for sensitive data. However, it is essential to remember that the features you need will depend on the applications you use and how you plan to work in the future.


As WAN technology evolves, network operations must be more agile and responsive. The traditional WAN isn’t suitable for this since it relies on backhaul connectivity services that add latency and impair application performance. This can be costly and can affect business productivity and customer satisfaction. Fortunately, SD-WAN can improve performance by routing traffic over multiple connections. This provides a more reliable network and ensures that applications will remain online even in the event of a failure at one site. SD-WAN aggregation also reduces network costs by leveraging existing bandwidth. This allows organizations to deploy new sites at lower costs and quickly get them online. Another benefit of SD-WAN is its flexibility. It can use a wide range of network connectivity, including broadband Internet, 4G cellular connections, MPLS, and more. It can also be used to connect to SaaS and cloud-based applications. In addition, it can support remote workers by allowing them to work securely from home or public spaces. A key feature of SD-WAN is its ability to manage network policies centrally. This eliminates the need to manually configure individual edge routers, which is time-consuming and error-prone. In addition, centralized management can help reduce operating expenses by eliminating the need for dedicated IT staff. It can also help businesses save money by avoiding unnecessary hardware purchases and upgrades.


While SD-WAN offers many benefits, it does not replace security. It would be best to have a robust infrastructure and an appropriate security policy to ensure your business data is secure. This is why choosing a vendor with robust security features is essential. These include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to protect encryption keys and multifactor authentication for privileged accounts. It also should be built on a hardened platform and support directory-driven, role-based access control. Unlike traditional networking architectures, where traffic created in branches is returned to a centralized Internet security point in the corporate data center, SD-WAN enables branch locations and remote users to connect directly to the public Internet. This eliminates the need for backhauling and improves application performance. The SD-WAN optimization technology allows organizations to prioritize traffic by business application requirements. This prioritized traffic is routed over a cost-effective internet connection, such as broadband or 4G LTE. This improves application performance and user experience, even during network congestion or stability issues. In addition to reducing costs, SD-WAN can increase scalability. It can support integrating multiple devices, including IoT sensors and edge computing. Moreover, it can improve security by encapsulating and protecting the security payload of packets. This can prevent the retransmission of packets containing malicious code, such as a Trojan horse.


With the proliferation of remote work, businesses demand fast, flexible connectivity to applications and networks. To help improve performance and reduce costs, organizations are turning to SD-WAN. However, not all solutions are created equal. To ensure a quality SD-WAN, businesses should look for a solution that provides security, WAN optimization, application performance, and secure remote access services. An SD-WAN enables organizations to connect branches and headquarters to centrally managed data centers, cloud platforms, and internal business applications using a mix of transport technologies, such as MPLS, LTE, and broadband Internet. This enables enterprises to optimize bandwidth utilization and lower operating costs by reducing dependency on expensive MPLS circuits and routing less sensitive data over low-cost, public connections. In addition, an SD-WAN allows enterprises to synchronize networking policies across the network, which reduces complexities and enables greater efficiency and agility. It can also improve security by separating the data from the control plane. This decoupling of hardware and software reduces the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. Finally, a comprehensive SD-WAN solution should include built-in redundancy. For example, an SD-WAN with dual active uplinks enables a seamless transition to a secondary link during a network outage, preventing the interruption of business-critical applications. In addition, it should have a centralized management portal where business insights are gathered, and traffic paths to applications can be prioritized based on criticality.

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