November 3, 2020

As the demand for bandwidth doubles every 18 months1, IT departments struggle to deliver improved cloud-based application performance along with budgets limiting the amount of bandwidth companies can afford. Advances in cloud and mobile applications have helped, but traditional networks can no longer keep up. When using public internet to connect most cost effectively, businesses are urged to consider an SD-WAN solution.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is an application of software-defined networking (SDN) that is applied to WAN connections and used to connect enterprise locations across vast geographic distances. It connects branch offices, data centers, and other business sites to a central corporate network, using a software approach. This means a network admin can remotely program appliances via a central controller, reducing provisioning times and minimizing the need to manually configure traditional routers in branch locations. Ultimately, this solution aims to move more network control into the cloud.

How Does SD-WAN Work?

SD-WAN is an overlay technology, meaning it’s not a network in itself. Instead, it sits on top of your network and allows you to prioritize individual applications. There are two ways to deploy: one requires no devices at your location and the other calls for an inexpensive box that powers SD-WAN functions pushed to it from the cloud.

Two Architecture Types:

  • Hybrid – A business has an MPLS circuit in place, but also has public internet. This gives the power back to the branch, allowing you to transport independently so you don’t have to route every piece of traffic over the private network. As a result, non-critical traffic doesn’t bog down the private network.
  • Dual Internet – Believed to be the future of WAN. It allows for transport independence, cheap circuits, and use of multiple providers in order to use the best path available to get the job done. Adapts to how the network is actually being utilized, making it the most future-proof solution.

Also, like MPLS, SD-WAN allows you to apply Quality of Service (QoS) and prioritize data that you send through your network, down to an individual application. This means you can choose to send the traffic that is most important to your business faster than other types. For instance, if clean, clear, and reliable calling and immediate CRM access are most important to your business, you can make voice and your CRM top priorities so a greater portion of your bandwidth is dedicated to sending those apps.

What Are SD-WAN’s Benefits?

  • QoS through prioritization of data (voice, video, apps etc.)
  • Cost-effective connection of over thousands of branches across a WAN
  • Elimination of reliance on dedicated circuits, allowing for flexibility in network choices
  • Can deploy new branches 20x faster than MPLS deployments
  • A future-proof solution because it adapts to how the network is being utilized
  • Reduction of stress on management because of its reliability
  • Remote management of branches and other business sites
  • Works with any WAN architecture because it’s an overlay technology

As a carrier agnostic service provider, Reach Telecom Solutions can help solve your most complex networking and communication challenges. Learn how one of our many carrier partners can help you reach your full communications potential. Contact Valerie at 715-330-4200 or fill out the form below.

1. “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Trends, 2017–2022 White Paper,” (updated 27 February 2019).