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- Defining SD-WAN
- Increasing Speed and Performance
- Improving Security
- Reducing Costs
- Simplifying Your Network
- Smoothing Out Cloud Usage
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Amongst large companies, SD-WAN is being lauded as a new frontier in networking technology that can revolutionize network infrastructure. Traditional wired network infrastructures weren’t designed with 21st-century digitization and centrally stored applications in mind; a network overlay that can provide centralized methods of working and various connection types can transform your IT systems.
Whether you’re thinking of implementing SD-WAN into your network or you want to know more about how it works, we’ve gathered some key points about this technology below.
SD-WAN – which stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network – is a kind of software overlay you can apply to your network that offers a software-based control system that provides a huge range of functionality, from traditional network settings to physical switches that would usually need an on-site engineer to happen.
Evidently, this has the potential to shift the bulk of your network to a more central location, letting configurations that may have been impossible now become a cohesive part of your network – but how does this specifically benefit businesses?
Increasing Speed and Performance
Not all data has equal priority on your network – you’ll know this if you’ve ever tried to hold a video call with lots of users while another activity is taking place. As video calls have suddenly become a far more necessary part of running a business, this irritation has become all the more commonplace, as you face regular problems like poor performance or the call dropping completely due to another user sending a large file in another part of the office.
How can implementing SD-WAN prevent this? Basically, it gives you a network-wide class of service (or CoS) control; the way this is provided will depend on your own network infrastructure. For instance, it may create a dedicated tunnel between necessary devices, alongside a dedicated amount of bandwidth that can’t be used by any other processes. On the other hand, it may just run in the background, rerouting data from your mission-critical devices to make sure congestion is avoided.
This means improved uptime for your most important applications; as downtime can cost your business thousands, this could mean the difference between staying afloat and shutting down.
While the world has certainly had other things to worry about in 2020 than keeping data secure and worrying about digital security, every business remains a significant issue. Thousands of businesses are the victims of cyber attacks every year; despite everything else happening, there are still criminals out there looking to breach your company’s network.
How can SD-WAN help to reinforce your defenses? By reducing the negative impact of security on your customers and end-users. While this might not seem to help directly, the irritation of running firewalls and security infrastructure that cause slower processes can result in them not being considered important.
Instead of these traditional methods, SD WANs can have built-in security systems that integrate into your network with no speed issues (AV, encryption, sandboxing, etc.). In addition to this, they’re constantly working dynamically to ensure that every system runs as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For instance, if a firewall is backing up your data and stopping the use of an application for a customer or end-user, an SD-WAN system will step in and find a way to move the data quicker – even if this only saves a few seconds, it could mean the difference between a positive and negative end-user experience.
You need to know upfront that SD-WAN isn’t a system that comes cheap and isn’t something that will help in reducing your budget by any means. However, despite costing a lot in itself, it could be helping to save you money in other areas you might not otherwise consider alongside its other host of benefits.
One huge money-saving advantage of SD-WAN is the smart way to route data around a network over any geographical distance. Instead of needing an expensive business-grade dedicated circuit to achieve the optimal speed, an SD-WAN can utilize local internet or even 4G channels in some cases to create its own data channels, potentially taking some of the burdens off of the primary IT infrastructure and creating bandwidth.
Simplifying Your Network
Generally speaking, a more complicated system is a more costly system in the world of IT. Greater complexity means that you require more staff, more travel to other sites, more support outsourced, slower fixing of problems, and more data paths to get lost in.
SD-WAN can simplify this WAN infrastructure in several ways: sending lower priority data down its own internet paths to reduce strain on the central network, automating monitoring jobs and providing centralized control to reduce IT staff’s workload, and more. You might not be looking into SD-WAN for greater simplicity, but it comes as a great fringe benefit.
Smoothing Out Cloud Usage
Almost every business now regularly uses a cloud-based application in their daily running, and if they didn’t get it before 2020, they most likely are now with the advent of vastly increased home working.
SD-WAN can make it possible to control the class of service while simultaneously letting end-users directly access the cloud-based applications that they need. This is invaluable for any business with multiple branches that utilizes centralized applications, as customer-facing experience and end-user experience aren’t negatively impacted in any way.
Additionally, SD-WAN can make working from home much simpler too; even if you have to work with domestic standard internet, your network overlay can give any home workers the performance and app access they would be provided with at the head office.
Thank you for reading!