Enterprises with a traditional wide area network (WAN) architecture are finding that limits on their ability to access affordable bandwidth and an increased need for reliability and flexibility are causing major network management challenges. To address these problems, many are turning to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
In the past, these enterprises have relied on multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines to access a reliable connection. As bandwidth demands have grown, MPLS has become cost-prohibitive, and setting up a new branch location with MPLS can take weeks, limiting the enterprise’s ability to quickly launch into new markets.
SD-WAN offers a number of benefits that provide additional features while solving the current complexity of network management:
Centralized, zero-touch management: SD-WAN employs a virtual overlay for the physical network, allowing network engineers to configure, provision, and troubleshoot connectivity problems from a central location. Additionally, the implementation of a network automation tool like NetBrain (https://www.netbraintech.com/solution/troubleshooting/) can help detect any problems and respond to incidents in a short time, thereby removing network bottlenecks and allowing seamless troubleshooting. This all but eliminates the need for network technicians to travel to branch locations because they enjoy a high level of visibility into the network at headquarters.
Optimized network performance: SD-WAN allows for the segmentation of network traffic, prioritizing mission-critical data transmissions to highly reliable pathways, while less-critical traffic is routed to public internet connections. This reduces the cost of networking by routing data transmission that doesn’t require real-time connectivity away from costly MPLS lines.
Improved security: The ability to segment network traffic also enhances security for the network. Whether it’s a forgotten tablet or a suspected breach over a voice call, a potential security threat can be identified, then isolated and addressed without affecting the rest of the network.
Scalability: For retail enterprises that support pop-up shops or seasonality in their business cycles, the ability to scale up or down with SD-WAN is an advantage over other network approaches. With SD-WAN, the enterprise pays only for the number of users they need, and the payments can be categorized as operating expenses.
It’s important to note that not all SD-WAN providers offer the same features on their network management solution. It’s critical for you to define what problems you’re trying to solve before identifying the provider that has the right SD-WAN features. For instance, are you struggling with WAN connectivity only on certain types of applications, or is it a more general WAN issue? Some types of enterprises, like those in retail, finance, healthcare, and restaurants, may have many branch locations and remote employees spread over a wide area, which will require a more major SD-WAN deployment.
To learn more about how SD-WAN might benefit your specific network management situation, contact us at Wanify. Our unmatched customer support begins by helping you evaluate the ideal SD-WAN solution for your networking needs.