SD-WAN in simple terms

It’s a topic we’ve talked about a lot over the years, as demand for intuitive networking — with agility, security and cost-efficiency at the core — has continued to rocket. But still a number of clients don’t truly understand what SD-WAN is, why it differs from other architecture, and where the benefits lie. So here, we break everything down to the simplest of terms, because you don’t need to be a ‘techie’ to understand the role it could play in a modern IT estate…

What does SD-WAN stand for?

A software-defined wide area network. 

(We know, the terminology still doesn’t really make much sense to lots of people!)

How does it work?

Unlike the traditional corporate networking approach, SD-WAN draws on a centralised control function to intelligently route traffic across the network, by being application aware. Hardware can also be managed remotely, via software, without the need for engineers to be physically present. 

(In simple terms, it means you’re able to manage lots of complex things, over the internet, using external intelligence.)

When it comes to security, user experience, and productivity levels, It works around pre-defined, centrally-configured rules to ensure network integrity at all times. However, through continuous monitoring — not to mention self-learning — it adapts in real-time, to ensure optimal cloud performance if the network is congested, outages arise, or a threat is detected. 

The goal is to drive optimal business resilience and user continuity, with security in-built from end-to-end

Why has SD-WAN become so popular?

It feels like the whole world has migrated to cloud services and applications, with so many business-critical operations now centring on SaaS solutions. The volume of traffic now being handled on a day-to-day basis is therefore huge, and the environment is ever-changing. 

Organisations are also typically operating in more disparate locations than ever before. As such, there is a growing need to connect business HQs, branch-based teams, and satellite workers with their data centres and cloud resources.

SD-WAN deals with all of these challenges without skipping a beat. It protects application performance throughout, continually adapting to change, overcoming latency issues, driving productivity, boosting the user experience, and maintaining the highest security standards at all times. 

Is SD-WAN cost-effective?

SD-WAN brings back visibility and control, which drives IT efficiencies and therefore cost savings from the outset. The reporting element is fantastic, so when the root cause of a problem needs to be identified, everything is plain to see. It is affordable to deploy, and organisations usually find themselves saving money on things like desktops and firewalls too.

The flexibility of right-sized circuits also adds to the cost-effectiveness of SD-WAN, but from a productivity and business resilience perspective, the financial benefit is often priceless.  Thanks to several high-bandwidth connections — with traffic prioritised via the fastest possible route — organisations keep operating at full tilt, when they need speed the most. 

A reputable tech partner will provide support to build a business case for your SD-WAN solution, if you don’t know how the numbers will stack up.

How do you get started with SD-WAN?

If SD-WAN is completely new to you, talk to us — advice costs nothing. And whether you have an ultra-experienced cloud architect, a super-techy network engineer, or a performance-conscious manager who simply needs your IT estate to work harder for you, we’re here to speak to you in a language that makes sense.

Contact us, with any questions, large or small. 


Posted By Vapour Comms Team

The A-Z of Workplace technology.

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