Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) offers the ability to efficiently manage connectivity costs, increases visibility, and centralizes management of the network. In short, it answers many of the challenges experienced by enterprises trying to match infrastructure capabilities to an increasingly complex environment.
SD-WAN can be accessed in a variety of forms, from an in-house management model to a complete managed services format in which the network is maintained by the provider. Before choosing an SD-WAN product, it’s important to understand what problems need to be solved in the network. While any company with a distributed workforce can benefit from SD-WAN, as with all IT implementations, it’s ideal to begin the process by examining the problems that need to be solved. Here are a few common ones:
Supporting the hybrid WAN (wide area network): One of the key benefits of SD-WAN is the ability to route network traffic over a number of different pathways. Hybrid WAN, in which two or more WAN links are used to increase reliability for branch locations, is a good application for SD-WAN. Enterprises are able to supplement multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines with broadband and public internet in order to provide the best reliability for the most critical transmissions.
Configuring branch locations: For organizations that need quick launching of branch locations, such as with construction sites or a pop-up retailer, SD-WAN offers the ability to quickly configure a new site. It can all be done remotely from the centralized management offered with a virtual overlay of the physical network. Through SD-WAN, network engineers are also able to troubleshoot branch connectivity, an important feature for businesses in which a few hours of downtime can have dire consequences, such as banks or retailers.
Branch security: The need for certain levels of security may vary between branches, but industries like financial services and healthcare need access to certain security features for the secure transmission of private data. SD-WAN technology offers security options and the network can be integrated with third-party vendors that can set up firewalls and other protections.
Unified Communications (UC): Enterprises are increasingly deploying UC systems to enhance collaboration, deliver better customer service and streamline communications. These systems require highly reliable network connectivity to reduce jitter or dropped packets. SD-WAN allows for the prioritization of voice calls and video conferencing over the streaming of YouTube videos in the break room.
SD-WAN has the capability to solve each of these common challenges, but it’s important to choose the right product and the right provider. Contact us at Net Tel One Communications to learn more about the options available for SD-WAN. We’ll help you solve your networking challenges and plan for your connectivity needs in the future.