For many years, traditional wide area network (WAN) technology has been the standard for IT, voice, and data networking in organizations of all kinds. WANs connect local area networks in multiple office locations together through routers and virtual private networks. As the demand for cloud activity in business has increased traditional WANs have struggled to keep up, resulting in performance issues and reduced productivity.
To solve for these issues, many organizations are considering replacing traditional WANs with software defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions. While traditional WAN infrastructure is hardware-defined on individual devices, SD-WAN solutions allow organizations to set policies in one centralized location and push them out to all devices on a network. A centralized virtual controller defines how traffic on the network is routed.
SD-WAN offers considerable benefits to organizations attempting to manage complex data networking requirements. In this blog, we’ll explore five big reasons your organization should consider making the switch to SD-WAN.
SD-WAN Improves Network Performance
One of the biggest benefits of implementing SD-WAN is drastically improved network performance. Different types of traffic respond differently to network performance. Voice and video data, often referred to as real time data, can become choppy if the network is too bogged down. Realtime data requires reliable connections.
With an SD-WAN solution, policies are predefined and centrally located. Instead of configuring policies individually on branch equipment, they’re set in one central location and pushed out to branch controllers. An SD-WAN solution allows your organization to automatically steer traffic based on network conditions to identify more reliable and efficient routes for high performance traffic.
Solve Network Complexity Issues with SD-WAN
Traditional WAN systems were not designed to do what they’re tasked with in most organizations today. As our needs have evolved, these systems have become increasingly large, complex, and difficult to manage with multiple layers of connectivity. Policies must be defined and configured individually for every single branch link. If an organizational security change occurs, policies also must be updated on each of those branch links.
SD-WAN solutions drastically simplify WAN management. The centralized controller serves as a single pane of glass, or portal, into the performance of the entire network. All policies are managed from a central location and pushed down to branch equipment. Traffic can be easily monitored and rerouted. Troubleshooting also becomes significantly easier. Instead of needing to physically check individual pieces of equipment when issues arise, SD-WAN gives your team an understanding of the network from one portal, without needing to get on edge devices.
Automation and Zero-Touch Provisioning to Improve Efficiency
Before SD-WAN, deploying connectivity to branch sites required a lot of manual upfront configurations. For many IT teams, that meant a lot of employee hours provisioning routers and going on site to complete device configuration. If you need to deploy a configuration change at sixty different sites with a traditional WAN solution, that means you need to touch every site to deploy it.
Most SD-WAN solution offerings have self-provisioning baked in. As a result, configuration is pulled from the central controller and branch equipment doesn’t require as much individual configuration. Devices can be plugged in at branch locations with no configuration, and the device automatically checks in with the network and is configured accordingly. Setting up a branch location, which used to take days from a network perspective, can often be done in about 20 minutes with an SD-WAN solution.
Reduce the Costs of Your WAN Configuration
WAN usage always comes with a price tag. The greater the requirements for reliability and security, the higher the cost. Most organizations with a traditional WAN solution use a private MPLS connection, which offers a great deal of reliability and security. But it can also come at a significant expense.
SD-WAN solutions often reduce the cost required for a WAN configuration. Instead of depending on high-cost connections like MPLS circuits, SD-WAN can utilize affordable broadband public internet circuits to build a reliable and secure connection. If you’re located in an area without access to reliable internet connectivity, an MPLS connection may not even be an option. SD-WAN opens organizations like yours up to alternative connectivity options.
SD-WAN Delivers Flexibility and High Availability
Traditional WAN networks can only route traffic through a single connection. If you were receiving a telecommunications connection from one internet provider, and they had issues, you had issues too.
An SD-WAN solution can actively use and integrate a wide variety of connections and multiple forms of traffic into the WAN infrastructure. If you want to continue to utilize your MPLS connection for specific types of traffic, for instance, you can. You can also integrate connections from multiple telecommunications companies. Utilizing multiple connections, you can set policies for which networks specific data types use. Traffic can be directed based on policies, or circuits can be integrated to serve strictly as a backup. Additional connections can easily scale to your organization’s pool of SD-WAN resources.
If versatility and a consistent, reliable connection matter, SD-WAN can help you achieve it.
Applied Technologies Can Help
There are a wide variety of SD-WAN solutions, ranging from simple to complex, depending on your unique circumstances and needs. Applied Technologies works with clients to identify, configure, and implement a tailored SD-WAN solution to help your organization get the most from the benefits outlined in this article.
In addition, we offer training to help your staff manage the network with limited third-party involvement. Traditionally if your team didn’t have the expertise to do configurations, you needed to bring someone in to make them. While we’re still available to support you when needed, with the appropriate training a SD-WAN solution will allow you to bring more expertise in house.
When you’re ready to realize the benefits outlined in this blog, make Applied Technologies your first call. Our team will work with you directly to understand the complexities of your network requirements and implement an SD-WAN solution suited specifically to your needs.