SD-WAN, which stands for Software Defined Wide Area Network, is an emerging technology in the networking world. The push toward adopting SD-WAN comes from several pain points that legacy networks create. These issues are high cost, security threats, and limited upgrade options. The former cell infrastructure was costly, and capital expense to set up such a network could exceed $1 million, with budgets well over $500,000 per area served. Not to mention the costs of maintaining such a beast yearly for uninterrupted service.

There's no denying that business networks are growing more complex, requiring increasingly advanced wide network solutions to keep pace. This article explains the basics of SD-WAN and how the technology can help your business.

What is SD-WAN?

Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a software framework that connects endpoints via a vast area network with optimized quality of service and real-time feedback about network health and performance. The technology provides the ability to automate and orchestrate network functions, such as policy enforcement and routing, while enabling new applications, such as security and performance monitoring.

SD-WAN is a crucial component of the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) model and provides more control over networks than traditional WAN solutions. The model allows for granular, per-application policies easily configured, monitored, and managed by IT staff, establishing SD-WAN as a network architecture for enterprises of all sizes. SD-WAN also enables enterprises to automate network functions such as policy enforcement and routing while enabling new security and performance monitoring applications.

How Does SD-WAN Work?

SD-WAN is deployed in two ways: overlay and underlay. In an overlay deployment, the SD-WAN solution manages traffic between branch offices and connects them to the central office (CO). Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), which moves traffic around based on pre-determined "labels," still functions as a control plane.

The SD-WAN solution routes traffic based on the application and user profile. For example, if a user is a salesperson who must access customer data to make sales calls, they will be routed via MPLS to the central office. An accounting clerk who only needs access to financial systems can be sent directly over broadband internet.

What are the Benefits of Using SD-WAN?

There are many benefits to using SD-WAN. Basic solutions don't have the intelligence, reliability, performance, and scale needed for a business-driven SD-WAN. A business-driven SD-WAN solution will provide complete end-to-end orchestration of all WAN edge functions. That type of SD-WAN supports centralized configuration and will deploy changes in minutes instead of weeks, minimizing human errors. Machine learning (?) is also leveraged to adapt to network changes automatically.

SD-WAN provides a higher level of security. Since there is end-to-end segmentation and real-time access control, SD-WAN is another piece of the zero-trust security infrastructure. Performance is optimized for applications such as Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and other SaaS applications, as well as optimized workflow for cloud platforms. SD-WAN provides a single, centralized, cloud-delivered management dashboard for the configuration and management of cloud, security, and WAN.It is important to remember that not all SD-WANs are created equal.

How Can SD-WAN Help My Business?

SD-WAN is a powerful tool that helps businesses like yours that are looking to streamline IT infrastructure and get more out of the technology you already have. With SD-WAN, you can:

  • Reduce costs by using less bandwidth and fewer connections
  • Improve uptime by reducing network downtime through automated failover between circuits
  • Get more out of your existing networking hardware by eliminating underutilized connections
  • Improve performance by using lower latency and higher bandwidth connections
  • Reduce network complexity by taking advantage of a single set of policies, regardless of users' physical location.

How Can Anteris Help

SD-WAN can benefit your business by saving costs and improving reliability. With our data center, we've leveraged SD-WAN to connect companies to their resources within our data center. Our solution offers more efficient site-to-site communication than traditional site-to-site VPNs.We can combine hardware to create greater resilience.

We can do this in various ways, such as linking onsite servers to our data center or installing multiple servers on the same site so that if one fails, others are online. These solutions could easily cost up to $100,000, putting a significant strain on your bottom line. At Anteris, we've already made these investments—and more–allowing our Clients to access enterprise-level technology at a fraction of the cost.

SD-WAN is another piece of the architecture we've built to provide our Clients with enterprise-level technology.

We're here if you're ready to talk about upgrading your IT setup or have more questions.