Unleashing the Power of SD-WAN: The Role of Providers in Modern Networks

With the right solution, SD-WAN can automatically steer traffic based on business intent. It also continuously probes the quality of network paths to avoid outages and routes around congestion.

It uses real-time performance telemetry to make autonomous decisions, boosting application and network performance. It can also reduce reliance on costly MPLS circuits by routing low-priority data over lower-cost public internet connections.

Network Service Providers

Network service providers can use SD-WAN to deliver a more reliable, secure, and cost-effective WAN. By leveraging multiple forms of transport like MPLS, broadband internet and LTE, network bandwidth is increased while improving performance and redundancy. This reduces the need for costly hardware encoding and infrastructural changes. Additionally, centralized control of WAN management simplifies the process. Individual gateways and routers obey operational policies and rules from a central SD-WAN controller.

For remote offices and workers, secure connectivity is a necessity. SD-WAN helps enterprises connect distributed workers to applications and data in the cloud or on-premises. It also connects mobile employees to the corporate network using a secure VPN.

SD-WAN creates a virtual overlay that abstracts underlying private or public WAN connections, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), broadband internet, wireless or LTE, while enabling real-time application traffic management across those links. This allows businesses to use lower-cost commercial internet access (CIA) connections and eliminates the need for expensive private WAN connectivity technologies like MPLS.

An advanced SD-WAN such as Versa Networks can provide improved QoE by directing traffic on an application basis down a single path. If that path is unavailable or performing poorly, the traffic can be automatically rerouted to another path. This enables consistent application performance and QoE for all users, even when a primary connection fails or experiences poor quality.

Cloud Service Providers

Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology delivers business-critical benefits such as lowered costs, increased bandwidth efficiency, improved application performance, and secure remote connectivity for branch offices. It also eliminates WAN complexity by centralizing network management and leveraging existing broadband Internet, 4G LTE or MPLS connections to create a smart hybrid WAN.

The SD-WAN platform automatically selects and directs traffic on an application basis across the most suitable path based on network conditions, application performance and security requirements, quality of service (quality of service) and circuit cost. It supports application optimization, which reduces latency and packet loss to boost performance for critical applications like voice or video conferencing.

A basic SD-WAN solution can send low-priority data over lower-cost public internet or 4G connections and reserve higher-priority traffic for private links. It can also improve network reliability by introducing redundancy and enabling failover from one path to another without needing costly, leased MPLS circuits.

A business-driven SD-WAN offers advanced security capabilities such as granular micro-segmentation to isolate, prioritize and assign network traffic to specific devices and centralized policies that ensure the right people get the right information at the right time. It enables organizations to implement a secure on-ramp to the cloud, eliminating performance issues and costly data backhauling to the main office. It also allows a seamless connection to SaaS and IaaS cloud applications.

Internet Service Providers

Managing the WAN has long been one of the most challenging aspects of network management. It involves adding capabilities like load balancing, WAN optimization and disaster recovery features to network infrastructure that connects multiple LANs across geographically distributed locations.

With SD-WAN, centralized control functions help teams change and replicate policies among network edge devices with low or zero-touch provisioning (ZTP). This helps reduce costs by minimizing the need for IT staff to manage each gateway and router individually. SD-WAN also enables companies to centralize and manage application traffic with real-time best-path routing that optimizes performance over existing connections.

Aside from providing a more flexible and cost-effective WAN connectivity, SD-WAN also improves security and visibility, boosting application performance and user experience. It uses a software-defined overlay network architecture to connect branch offices with centrally managed data centers via MPLS, broadband internet, LTE and other connection types.

While traditional MPLS networks are reliable and secure, they’re expensive and cannot keep pace with the demands of WAN traffic from cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. SD-WAN allows organizations to use public internet services to offload traffic to save on bandwidth costs while reserving private network capacity for applications with high latency and low reliability. This is also known as a dual-connectivity strategy. SD-WAN also enables a unified, secure and seamless experience for employees working remotely from home or while traveling on business.

Software Vendors

Many SD-WAN vendors partner with security providers to integrate protections into their platforms. This makes it easy for enterprises to secure their networks and ensure the safety of their data. The vendor-partner relationship also allows organizations to choose from different deployment models, such as DIY (where the organization deploys and manages SD-WAN itself), fully managed (where a third-party handles all facets of the solution, including implementation and management) or co-managed or hybrid (where the enterprise is responsible for some aspects of network administration but outsources others to an MSP).

SD-WAN leverages software and a centralized control function to intelligently steer traffic across your WAN based on business needs. This improves application performance and resiliency, reduces networking costs and complexity, improves IT agility, and increases network security.

In addition, SD-WAN can help organizations better use existing capacity by routing lower-priority traffic over low-cost public Internet connections and saving more expensive MPLS circuits for high-priority applications. This allows organizations to avoid unnecessary spending on power that they don’t need and can dramatically cut infrastructure costs.