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Systems Engineering Blog

An Introduction to SD-WAN - Part 1

November 09, 2018 | Posted in:

Digital Transformation, Technology Trends

Posted by Dave Rizzo

Business networks are changing rapidly every day -  mobility, the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating this phenomenon that is causing companies to re-evaluate efficiencies and security. As a result of these network design requirements, SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a great fit as it provides a dynamic control of the WAN for the end user. In this blog article, I will go over an introduction to SD-WAN which is quickly becoming a game changer for businesses everywhere.

SD-WAN Explained


An SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by separating the networking hardware from its management and control mechanism. This can allow for lower costs and more flexibility within network designs.

WANs used to connect multiple business locations such as headquarters, branch offices, and data centers to one another. There are a variety of WAN technologies that provide varying levels of performance, security, and costs. Different, underlying technologies are used such as MPLS networks, frame relay circuits, VPN connections, ELAN, and many more.

What they all have in common is that the “intelligence” is embedded in proprietary network hardware whereas the SD-WAN movement seeks to move more of the network control to the cloud, or to the end user, using a software-based approach.

SD-WAN

SD-WAN Business Drivers

Businesses are demanding more flexible, cloud-based WAN technologies rather than installing WAN technology that often involves expensive, fixed circuits, and proprietary hardware. Many SD-WAN solutions can improve and secure Internet connectivity, making it more cost effective than expensive legacy WAN technologies such as T-1 or MPLS. The cost per MB for public Internet is much less expensive than legacy technologies like MPLS.

In some cases, SD-WAN technology uses Internet broadband connections to replace these more expensive solutions. Virtual Private Networking (VPN) technology can be applied over less expensive broadband Internet connections, making them more secure; this is a more efficient setup all around.

Business Focus: Cost, Reliability, and Security

The main goal of SD-WAN technology is to deliver cost-effective, business-class, secure, and simple cloud-enabled WAN connections. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control (ADC), or load balancing. Other benefits that are realized through an SD-WAN deployment are:

  • Centralized control management
  • Better application performance and bandwidth usage - this is particularly true with remote office locations
  • Real-time support for core business and cloud applications
  • More reliable and secure network at the same or less of a cost
  • Fully meshed connectivity to ever-increasing applications in the cloud

As more companies begin to transition from a traditional WAN environment to SD-WAN; cost, reliability, and security will all improve; however, there are considerations organizations must realize before making the move which a colleague of mine will discuss in a future blog article.

If you would like to know more about how an SD-WAN solution and whether it could benefit your business, contact your SE Account Manager, email info@syseng.com, or call 888.624.6737.