What is SD-WAN?
Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) doesn’t need to be a mystery. It is technology that simplifies the operation and management of the many network connections between sites in an organization. SD-WAN lets you control how traffic is directed and prioritized across multiple uplinks and enables your network to immediately and intelligently adapt to changing performance conditions — ensuring latency-sensitive traffic like VoIP or point-of-sale services have the throughput and optimization they need. A key application of SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially available Internet access, enabling businesses to partially or wholly replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies such as MPLS.
Software-defined WAN capabilities in every security appliance reduce operational costs and improve resource usage for multi-site deployments, allowing network administrators to use available bandwidth more efficiently and ensure the highest possible level of performance for critical applications without sacrificing security or data privacy. WANs allow companies to extend their computer networks over large distances, to connect remote branch offices to data centers and each other, and deliver the applications and services required to perform business functions. When companies extend networks over greater distances and sometimes across multiple carriers’ networks, they face operational challenges including network congestion, packet delay variation, packet loss and even service outages. Modern applications such as VoIP calling, video conferencing, streaming media, virtualized applications and desktops require low latency. Bandwidth requirements are also increasing, especially for applications featuring high definition video. It can be expensive and difficult to expand WAN capability, with corresponding difficulties related to network management and troubleshooting.
Unbeatable Simplicity and Control
Whether it’s one site or ten thousand, the SD-WAN solution leverages our intuitive, web-based dashboard to give you instant insights about your WAN’s health, access to built-in live tools, packet capture, centralized visibility and control over application usage both inside and between your networked sites. SD-WAN products are designed to address these network problems. By enhancing or even replacing traditional branch routers with appliances that can control application-level policies and less expensive consumer-grade Internet links can act more like a dedicated circuit. This simplifies the setup process for branch personnel. SD-WAN products can be physical appliances or virtual appliances, and are placed in small remote and branch offices, larger offices, corporate data centers, and increasingly on cloud platforms. A centralized controller is used to set policies and prioritize traffic. The SD-WAN considers these policies and the availability of network bandwidth to route traffic. This helps ensure that application performance meets SLAs (service level agreements).