As companies grow, businesses must form a network infrastructure connecting branch offices in distinct geographic regions or locations. Information technology teams balance the organisation performance, simplicity, security, and reliability requirements while considering compliance and costs.
As geographic distance can reduce performance and increase connectivity costs, figuring out how to connect remote sites may be challenging.
Introducing the Wide Area Network (WAN)
An extensive network of information that facilitates the exchange of information between devices is defined as a ‘wide area network’.
Nowadays, many businesses welcome digital transformation by adopting cloud-based applications. It opens up new ways to efficiently connect users in their network to the cloud and SaaS resources. Previously, the two most common and popular methods for setting up a network for your organisation were multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and the internet.
A standard WAN has limitations regarding security breaches, bandwidth allocation issues, and maintaining minimal downtime. So, what is the best way for businesses to connect multiple locations and users to business resources while balancing reliability, performance, and cost? Here comes Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) as the best solution to tackle our scalability and expenditure problems.
Let us understand how the information technology teams have started considering including the SD-WAN overlay.
What is SD-WAN?
A newer approach to wide area networking, a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), acts as a network access point. SD-WAN separates network control and the management processes from the underlying hardware and is available in the software that can be deployed and configured easily.
SD-WAN benefits businesses looking for flexibility to connect with remote networks. SD-WAN manages various kinds of connections, including LTE (long-term evolution) or MPLS broadband, and routes the traffic over a prudent path in real-time.
In the cloud case, SD-WAN can forward the cloud-bound traffic directly to the branch without backhauling. By routing the traffic over distinct network paths based on the business priorities, you get the potential to empower productive teams, lower service disruptions, and optimise application performance.
SD-WAN has the potential to deliver a good user experience and a better application performance, but there are limitations. For example, reliability and network performance may still suffer as it leverages congested internet through WAN. IT teams can solve such challenges by building their own dedicated, complex SD-WAN infrastructure and interconnects or by hiring multiple service providers and vendors. However, hiring various service providers may increase the cost and complexity.
SD-WAN can provide enhanced agility and flexibility, reduced cost, and a facilitated user experience.
Final verdict: Should you opt for the SD-WAN solution for your organisation?
The best connectivity is based on various variables involving geographic spread between corporate headquarters and remote branches, compliance requirements, and operating budget, with a single universal factor being security. Times have evolved, and businesses are using the cloud route for subscribing to SaaS (software as a service).
Users who once connected to the corporate data centre to access the business applications are now better served as they can access most of them in the cloud. As an outcome, traditional WAN is no longer suitable as it backhauls the traffic, including those destined for the cloud, from branch locations to headquarters, impairing overall application performance.
SD-WAN can provide WAN simplification, bandwidth efficiency, lower costs, and a seamless on-ramp to the cloud with many application performances without compromising data privacy and security. Better application performance improves customer satisfaction and productivity, yielding your business profit. In addition, constant protection lowers business risk.
So, the choice is yours. If you want to make the most of current technology at a lower cost, opt for SD-WAN. If you are satisfied with the existing network, stick with it.