Traditional WAN architectures must be equipped to handle the increased network traffic caused by the increased adoption of software-as-a-service and cloud applications. Backhauling traffic from branch offices to the headquarters introduces latency and impairs application performance.
Managed SD-WAN can provide centralized control, automation, reduced operational costs and bandwidth optimization. It can also improve performance for mission-critical applications and boost user experience without sacrificing security.
With more work done remotely and the rapid adoption of cloud applications, reliable connectivity is now a critical business need. Traditional WANs, however, need to be designed to meet these new demands. The result is that productivity needs to improve due to slow and intermittent network connections, leading to latency and poor application performance.
In today’s growing technology landscape, understanding what is SD-WAN in networking is essential. SD-WAN solutions offer a more flexible and cost-effective approach to connecting remote offices and branches to enterprise data, applications, and cloud services. Using link bonding to combine multiple Internet connections provides better last-mile bandwidth and increased availability. They also enable enterprises to replace expensive telco-grade primary networks with lower-cost broadband services without sacrificing site availability.
Another way SD-WAN improves reliability is by allowing the WAN to prioritize data based on its type and choosing the best path to send it. This reduces the amount of time spent troubleshooting issues at individual sites. This also helps ensure that the most important applications receive priority over less-critical traffic, which leads to improved user experience.
Finally, SD-WAN solutions often incorporate secure connectivity into their architecture to protect against potential cyberattacks. This means that data is encrypted as it travels across the WAN, reducing the risk of being intercepted by hackers or other untrusted sources. In addition, some SD-WAN providers offer centralized management and monitoring, further enhancing the infrastructure’s security.
The scalability of SD-WAN allows enterprises to manage networks from one central point, dramatically simplifying the process and reducing operational expenses. Network control is centralized instead of at edge routers, and a single management interface makes it easy to set paths to applications, provision new sites, perform software and firmware updates and flex bandwidth based on real-time performance data.
SD-WAN also provides secure connectivity to support IoT devices. The technology encrypts data as it moves over the internet to ensure only authorized parties can access it, even in a breach. This means employees can confidently work remotely, knowing their sensitive information is protected when they connect to the company network from public Wi-Fi in a hotel or coffee shop.
An advanced SD-WAN can provide business continuity through multi-path routing and a robust failover system. It can also optimize applications that are particularly sensitive to latency and packet loss, ensuring consistent quality of experience. As a result, business-critical applications can continue to run smoothly, even when underlay transport services are down or performing poorly.
With a robust SD-WAN solution, the team monitors performance closely and gathers end-user feedback to help inform configurations and policies. As a result, remote workers enjoy uninterrupted application performance, and IT staff spend more time on higher-level projects. With minimal effort, the enterprise can scale its SD-WAN to support growth and a changing network landscape.
The software-defined architecture of SD-WAN enables the network to be flexible by optimizing traffic over multiple available routes and prioritizing business-critical applications. This improves performance and user experience while saving costs. Moreover, it delivers WAN reliability, transport flexibility and cloud/SaaS connection stability.
The centralized management of SD-WAN enables IT teams to define and enforce policies based on application requirements from a single pane of glass. This simplifies the deployment of new branch offices and streamlines network management and troubleshooting processes.
An added advantage of centralized management is that it reduces operational overhead. It also enables the IT team to identify and fix issues quickly, leading to reduced outages and downtime. The centralized monitoring of network resources and performance helps ensure that the organization’s business-critical applications always function as expected.
In addition to reducing cost and complexity, SD-WAN enables organizations to increase network performance by connecting branches directly to the internet and cloud. This reduces the need to backhaul data over private networks, resulting in lower latency and improved user experiences. It also allows IT teams to utilize low-cost connections for most WAN traffic and save expensive MPLS links for high-priority applications. In the long run, this translates into significant infrastructure, equipment and office space savings. It also frees up IT experts’ time for other tasks.
Security is important in any network architecture, and SD-WAN provides enhanced security. Unlike multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), which relies on hardware and requires expensive equipment at each site, SD-WAN uses virtual appliances in the cloud to provide security services. This reduces the need for costly hardware and IT teams at each location. It also makes connecting remote offices and mobile workers to the corporate network easier without compromising security or performance.
Another important feature of SD-WAN is application optimization, which allows the organization to identify and prioritize sensitive applications. This helps ensure that business-critical applications always get the bandwidth they need and users don’t experience slowness or failures. It can even provide the option to use a low-cost cellular or wireless connection for primary connectivity if the company’s budget is tight.
The experience with SD-WAN taught her several lessons, including the importance of thorough preparation and buy-in for any technology solution. The organization launched a comprehensive program that included collaborative workshops, interactive demos, and online resources to educate employees on the new technology. The team also identified “super users” as advocates and mentors for fellow employees. These efforts helped minimize resistance to the change and accelerate adoption. With the help of these initiatives, Jane’s organization was able to implement SD-WAN and gain numerous benefits successfully.
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