A Snapshot of SD-WAN: Understanding its Functionality

Written by datasolutions

January 19, 2023

The Importance of Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)

As businesses continue to expand and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology, the way we connect and manage our networks must also evolve. With the rise of cloud computing, the internet of things, and the increasing use of real-time applications, traditional wide area networks (WANs) are struggling to keep up. This is where Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) comes into play. SD-WAN

is a type of networking technology that allows for the management of a wide area network through software. It provides a way to connect multiple sites together over the internet or other types of wide area connections, while also providing a way to manage the traffic that flows over those connections. In this blog post, we will explore the key benefits of SD-WAN and how it can help organizations improve their network performance, increase flexibility, reduce costs, and better security.

Improved Network Performance

One of the most significant benefits of SD-WAN is improved network performance. SD-WAN uses a variety of techniques to optimize the performance of the network, such as traffic shaping and path selection. This can lead to faster and more reliable connections between sites. For example, with traffic shaping, SD-WAN can prioritize certain types of traffic, such as real-time applications like voice and video, ensuring that they have the bandwidth they need to function properly. Additionally, path selection allows SD-WAN to choose the best path for traffic to travel, avoiding congested or unreliable connections. This can help to ensure that data is delivered quickly and reliably, even over long distances or over the internet.

Traffic shaping is a technique used to manage the amount of traffic that flows over a network. It can be used to prioritize certain types of traffic, such as real-time applications like voice and video, ensuring that they have the bandwidth they need to function properly. Additionally, traffic shaping can also be used to limit the amount of bandwidth used by other types of traffic, such as file downloads, to ensure that the network has enough capacity for critical applications.

Path selection is another technique used by SD-WAN to optimize network performance. It allows the SD-WAN to choose the best path for traffic to travel, avoiding congested or unreliable connections. This can help to ensure that data is delivered quickly and reliably, even over long distances or over the internet.

Increased Flexibility

Another benefit of SD-WAN is increased flexibility. SD-WAN allows for the easy deployment and management of multiple connection types, such as broadband, LTE, and MPLS. This allows organizations to choose the best type of connection for their specific needs. For example, an organization with multiple remote locations may choose to use broadband connections at some sites and LTE connections at others, depending on the available infrastructure and the specific needs of each location. This increased flexibility also allows organizations to easily adapt to changes in their network requirements, such as adding new locations or changing the type of connection at a particular site.

The use of multiple connection types also provides organizations with redundancy and failover options. For example, if the primary connection goes down, the SD-WAN can automatically switch to a secondary connection, ensuring that the network remains online.

Reduced Costs

One of the most significant benefits of SD-WAN is the potential to reduce costs. SD-WAN can reduce the costs associated with traditional WAN connections, such as MPLS, by using less expensive internet connections. This can be especially beneficial for organizations with multiple remote locations, as the costs of MPLS connections can add up quickly. Additionally, SD-WAN can also reduce costs associated with managing and maintaining the network, as it allows for centralized management and eliminates the need for multiple devices at each location. This can lead to significant cost savings for organizations, especially those with a large number of remote locations.

Another cost-saving benefit of SD-WAN is the ability to use a variety of different connection types, such as broadband and LTE. This allows organizations to choose the most cost-effective option for each location, which can result in significant savings over time. Additionally, SD-WAN can also reduce costs associated with upgrading or replacing existing network equipment, as it can be implemented as a virtualized network function (VNF) on existing hardware.

Better Security

SD-WAN can also provide advanced security features such as VPN, firewalls, and intrusion prevention to protect the network from cyber threats. With the increasing number of cyber threats, organizations must ensure that their networks are secure. SD-WAN can provide an added layer of security by encrypting traffic between sites and protecting against unauthorized access. Additionally, SD-WAN can also provide real-time monitoring and alerting, allowing organizations to quickly detect and respond to potential security threats.

In addition to these security features, many SD-WAN solutions also include advanced threat detection and response capabilities. This can include intrusion detection and prevention, as well as advanced threat intelligence capabilities. This can help organizations quickly detect and respond to potential security threats, minimizing the risk of a security breach.

Implementation

In terms of technical implementation, SD-WAN is typically implemented as a virtualized network function (VNF) that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware or as a service offered by a cloud provider. SD-WAN solutions often include a centralized management console that allows for the configuration and monitoring of the network. This centralized management allows for easy deployment, configuration, and monitoring of the network, making it simple to add new locations or make changes to the network.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SD-WAN is a powerful technology that can provide organizations with a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage their WAN connections, while also improving network performance, increasing flexibility, reducing costs, and better security. With the rise of cloud computing, the internet of things, and the increasing use of real-time applications, traditional WANs are struggling to keep up. SD-WAN provides a solution to these challenges, giving organizations the ability to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of technology and meet the demands of their business. If you are considering updating your WAN, SD-WAN is definitely worth taking a closer look at.

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