What are the Top 10 Benefits of SD-WAN?

If you are not familiar with SD-WAN technology which stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network (WAN), it is the application of software based or Software Defined Networking technologies to connect …
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Telco Broker offers a number of telecommunications solutions for businesses large and small including the integration of SD-WAN technology. SD-WAN technology stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network (WAN). 

It is the application of software based or ‘Software Defined Networking’ technologies to connect one or more enterprise networks together typically over large geographically dispersed areas.  

The SD-WAN network can be used to connect multiple Local Area Networks (LAN) or Wide Area Networks (WAN) inclusive of broadband, NBN, 3G/4G LTE or MPLS Networks. 

Here are the Top 10 benefits of considering a SD-WAN integration for your business. 

#1 Agility 

Technology is changing at a rapid rate, businesses that want to remain competitive must be able to adapt and change to keep up. As a result, IT departments are under pressure to be able to deploy new WANs that support business projects or roll outs for new sites.  

SD-WAN is a valuable tool allowing network engineers to be able deploy new WAN services and make changes to the existing network rapidly. SD-WAN allows IT teams to make network changes in a matter of minutes, these same changes in the past may have taken several hours or even days to complete, potentially longer if vendors need to be engaged. 

#2 Real Time Traffic Management 

Another benefit of SD-WAN is that it offers the real-time management of traffic across your network, the SD-WAN gateway monitors the condition of each of the WAN links connected to it, and if a link goes down, there is network congestion or the link fails entirely, the IT Administrator can quickly reroute traffic. Being able to manage this internally is a significant benefit. 

#3 Rapid Deployment 

Setting up network equipment using traditional gateways and routers is not easy. Fortunately, SD-WAN makes it much easier for you to set up new network equipment at new locations. All the network engineers need to do, is design the node using the SD-WAN dashboard or console, an SD-WAN appliance or session border controller is shipped to the site, the device can be plugged in by even non-technical staff.  

When the device is switched on, this appliance becomes part of the network and connects to the main SD-WAN controller. The controller then provisions and configures that equipment to bring it online and part of the network. The process is fast and straightforward. It really is that simple! Your software defined WAN ensures that provisioning can be done remotely, and IT does not need to go to site to complete the setup, which saves you a lot of time and money. 

#4 Dynamic Path Selection 

Your network relies on the internet and public WANs for connectivity, unfortunately performance uncertainty can be a real problem. The path taken by network traffic is typically never the same between any two transmissions between source and destination devices. As a result, there could be a significant variation in latency. 

Bottlenecks can develop across the network due to bandwidth constraints and network congestion over the course of a day, especially for last mile connections with no QOS and without guaranteed bandwidth. Most organisations setup redundant data links at each internet breakout point to reduce the risks associated with bottlenecks found at the last mile. 

Software-defined WAN checks the condition of WAN links and uses dynamic path selection to route traffic optimally across the network, SD-WAN has the ability to differentiate between user traffic and application traffic, the traffic can be prioritised based on importance, i.e. VoIP transactions can be routed across connections with minimal congestion, sensitive data can be routed across secure and encrypted connections, the traffic of lower priority transactions such as file backups can be routed across less reliable connections. 

#5 Cost Savings and Flexibility 

Over the past ten or so years, MPLS networks (or multiprotocol label switching) have been a critical element of enterprise data networks. 

Some of the benefits that come with MPLS Networks include: 

  • Delivering privacy 
  • Security and encryption 
  • Guaranteed bandwidth 
  • Latency is predictable 

MPLS networks can be quite costly and have limited availability.  

On the flip side, broadband internet is available all around the world, and despite issues with uptime, bandwidth and latency, broadband internet is much cheaper than MPLS. 

Organisations are now using hybrid WANs, by blending multiple broadband connections of various grades, in these networks business critical application traffic is sent via the MPLS network, with all other data being transmitted over the broadband network. 

With SD-WAN, setting up hybrid-WANs is easy, and you will be able to find a balance between reliability, performance, and cost depending on your application traffic. By utilising dynamic path selection and the capabilities of the policy-based management framework, these blended hybrid networks are a viable and cost-effective alternative to MPLS networks. 

#6 Application Performance 

Constantly checking the health of links and being able to redirect traffic when required, provides the ability to improve the performance and availability of applications significantly. SD-WAN can selectively improve (or reduce) the performance of each application operating on the network. 

Deep packet inspection or deep packet analysis aids in the identification of applications associated with network traffic. Network engineers can assign policies for applications which require higher priority and the channels they will flow through. Policies can be set to route bandwidth heavy traffic across links with the highest capacity, sensitive data can be sent via VPN or the MPLS network, low priority traffic such as backups or software patches and updates can be sent over lower grade links and to schedule them out of hours or when bandwidth requirements are low. 

SD-WAN also increases performance for cloud-based apps by simplifying the work involved in setting up remote office’s internet breakouts. Once you eliminate the need for backhauling traffic via a central point of access, you will be reducing latency and improving cloud application performance. 

#7 More Cost Efficient 

Network administrators can perform a lot of work remotely from head office, using centralised, policy-based management. Another benefit of SD-WAN is that you can easily move low priority network traffic from expensive MPLS links to cheaper broadband links.  

Centralised policy management allows network administrators to load up links with more traffic or reduce traffic on links without having to manually configure routers one device at a time. Not having to send network engineers or technicians to site and being able to configure devices remotely, saves significant administrative costs, especially for routine maintenance and servicing the network. 

#8 SD-WAN’s Effect on ROI 

SD-WAN can improve your ROI in a number of ways, technical staff are able to respond to issues quicker, deploy faster, which improves overall performance, the efficiency of your time and makes the process more agile.  

Depending on the size of your network, how many changes you typically make and how much you are paying for data links, it is not uncommon to reach break-even within a matter of months. 

When deciding about investing in SDWAN, cost and short-term ROI shouldn’t be the main consideration, you should consider more than the initial upfront cost and focus on the long-term benefits and ROI. 

#9 Managing Complicated Networks 

The benefits of SD-WAN extend well beyond just cost savings and being able to save money on your MPLS networks, SD-WAN allows for the simple management of complicated networks. 

As networks become even more complicated, with internet consumption increasing and more requirements for connectivity between different sites, hybrid network and the explosion of cloud services, being able to effectively manage your networks quickly and easily is critical, as managing traditional WANs is not scalable enough for increasing demands. 

#10 Security 

Another huge benefit of SD-WAN is that it increases security by segmenting the network, encryption of traffic, all managed by centralised provisioning software. 

The centralised software overseeing the WAN, allows for optimisation of the network, provides greater visibility of traffic flow, communication between nodes, resulting in overall better performance.  

In the event of a cyber-attack, having a segmented network and good control over each node, allows network administrators to isolate the threat to a small section of the network and limiting the potential of more significant damage to a section of the network. 

SD-WAN is set to revolutionise the way network administrators manage their networks, from improved provisioning times, scalability, security, reliability, performance, costs savings and improved ROI compared to traditional management of MPLS networks. 

If your organisation has multiple sites, is spending a lot of money on your network infrastructure and data links, then being able to use the centralised console to manage your WAN will introduce significant efficiencies and provide greater control over your network. 

Telco Broker can work with you to find the best SD-WAN provider and solution for your needs. 

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