What Is SD-WAN and How Is It Different From Traditional WANs?

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A software-defined networking strategy called SD-WAN offers increased application performance without compromising security, WAN simplification, cheaper costs, bandwidth efficiency, and an on-ramp to the cloud.

Unlike traditional WANs that backhaul all traffic from branch offices to headquarters, SD-WAN intelligently selected and prioritizes traffic based on real-time network conditions and configured policies. Should there be an outage or degradation in the line, SD-WAN instantly switches traffic to alternate paths.

Streamlined Network Processes

SD-WAN can help you streamline your network processes and achieve digital transformation by delivering a new level of unified networking. It enables connectivity between offices, shops, and other working environments while offering easy deployment and ongoing management.

The underlying infrastructure that supports this modern approach to networking is software-defined, which can save organizations a lot of money. It can do away with the requirement for privately owned data networks like what is sd-wan and leased MPLS connections, lowering bandwidth expenses.

Another advantage of it is its programmability and cloud-native capabilities, which reduce the time and resources required to manage network complexities. With centralized orchestration and zero-touch provisioning, policies can be pushed to thousands of appliances across branches without manual intervention.

A business can also benefit from these by minimizing bandwidth usage through a policy-based routing solution. It lets the software controller decide what kind of connection to use for each user based on their workload and other factors.

For example, suppose a user needs to connect to their local office for a low-priority task. The software controller can direct them over a public Internet connection rather than a leased MPLS link. It reduces bandwidth utilization and improves performance for everyone in the organization.

With this, you can also optimize the network for security. It can be done through automatic security policies that prevent devices from being compromised while routing traffic over the web.

It is an essential consideration in a world where cyberattacks are increasingly prevalent. For a company to protect itself against these attacks, it must be able to monitor traffic on each path and ensure that unauthorized devices are not connected.

Additionally, it is essential to guarantee that each route’s traffic is checked before being routed through the network. It can be accomplished by deploying a new secure access service edge, or SASE.

This technology combines SD-WAN with cloud-delivered security functions sent over the network to inspect end users’ device traffic and ensure that data is protected. It allows cloud-first strategies and secures digital transformation initiatives to be easily deployed by organizations with distributed workforces and critical data in the cloud.

Easy Deployment

Branch offices are linked to their company network and the Internet via a software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN). Its main benefit is controlling and automating traffic on an enterprise network, reducing costs, improving performance, and providing superior security.

Unlike traditional WANs, SD-WAN is a programmable technology that can be implemented flexibly, meets the needs of the business, and is easy to deploy and maintain. Additionally, a wide variety of data services, including MPLS, dedicated Internet access (DIA), broadband, and wireless, are supported.

It can be deployed in a few steps, such as identifying candidate sites and branch locations that need connectivity, determining bandwidth and application requirements, and implementing the appropriate transport mix. This approach can save IT time and money and enable a faster return on investment.

In addition to offering a high-speed global private backbone for dependable and secure internet access, it may connect remote sites to the cloud or multiple clouds with lower latency and more fantastic performance. It also supports a segmented architecture that reduces vulnerabilities and risks from external and internal threats.

Another vital benefit of it is that it provides network operations and traffic visibility. It allows administrators to track performance and troubleshoot issues in real time. It also allows them to plan capacity and prioritize applications for a better user experience.

This visibility can benefit organizations with more bandwidth-heavy applications, giving them a bird’s-eye view of the network and helping them identify and resolve problems before they impact end users.

With SD-WAN, administrators can route some traffic over a more expensive MPLS network and some on cheaper, more affordable broadband internet circuits, which can ease congestion and improve application performance. It can also allow administrators to deprioritize non-mission critical applications so critical ones can be used when needed.

In addition, it can limit the amount of traffic going over the LAN, WAN, and cloud by allowing administrators to create micro-segments. It can help to reduce the risk of data breaches by keeping ransomware and other exploits from spreading rapidly throughout an organization. It can also limit the impact of a data breach by giving IT more time to detect, block and purge unfolding attacks.

Optimal Routing

Optimal routing is an essential feature of SD-WAN. It offers many advantages for companies, including quickly implementing network changes and ensuring traffic flows through the shortest paths possible.

Unlike traditional WANs, which use a router-based routing scheme, SD-WAN utilizes a more sophisticated path selection method. It relies on application performance, link availability, and utilization cost to determine the best route for each connection.

For example, you can create one path using all available connections if you have multiple Internet links containing different bandwidth capacities and access types. This way, you can optimize traffic on each connection and eliminate waste.

Another benefit of this approach is that it can detect and mitigate various performance issues before they become severe, saving organizations time and money. It also allows you to deploy new services and applications as your network becomes more reliable and responsive.

Suppose you have a lot of outbound traffic, such as gaming, video streaming, and other public-facing services or applications. In that case, you can benefit the most from SD-WAN’s route optimization features. However, this solution can help a wide variety of other use cases.

The most significant benefit of SD-WAN’s route optimization capabilities is that it can automatically select the best routes for each link, even when the network is overloaded with data or other traffic. It helps ensure that users can experience the fastest speeds possible while avoiding expensive downtime and other problems caused by over-saturated networks.

In addition to optimizing the best paths for each link, SD-WAN also uses network security measures to protect users and devices from external threats. These include zero trust session integrity driven by secure vector routing and deny-by-default access policies, which reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

The optimum routing of each connection is determined by the Master Controller, which provides device-specific information to all endpoints in the network. Each endpoint makes a forwarding decision based on the information it has received and its link availability and forwarding tables.

Secure Connections

Security is at the heart of SD-WAN. It protects your data and provides real-time detection of threats before they can cause any damage to your network. This technology uses encryption, virtual firewalls, and IPsec to protect your connections from internal and external threats.

One of the primary security features of IPsec is end-to-end encryption, which ensures that data stays protected during transfer. It also reduces the risk of data being stolen or intercepted. This technology is highly effective and can be used with other solutions like virtual private networks (VPNs) for additional security.

Another feature of secure SD-WAN is application-aware routing, which allows you to identify and prioritize applications for better performance. It enables you to create a unified network that provides optimal path selection and quality of service (quality of service) for the applications that are vital to your business.

You can use this technology to improve application response times and increase your ability to respond to incidents quickly. Additionally, this technology can help you reduce costs by allowing you to use broadband Internet services instead of expensive MPLS to provide access to cloud resources.

Moreover, you can use this technology to make your network easier to manage. It provides a single point of management that lets you control your network, including routing and firewalls, in a central location. You can modify your policies on time and apply them to all network devices.

It means that you can create a more flexible and efficient network that offers superior branch office and cloud connectivity, which is vital to successful digital transformation. It also helps you save money by eliminating costly traffic backhauling to centralized locations.

You can even choose to connect your cloud applications with a secure connection for increased visibility into the network and performance of your applications. It can help you keep up with your competitors and give your business a competitive edge.

You can also keep your network secure by using a next-generation firewall, inspecting network traffic, and detecting malware, botnets, and other threats. It prevents your network from becoming a target for hackers, spammers, and other bad actors who would otherwise be able to penetrate your network and steal sensitive information.

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