What Is An SD-WAN?

Over the last decade or so, there has been a massive revolution in IT. We’ve moved from the era of bespoke hardware to the use of generic hardware with the specialisation coming via software. The same is happening to the enterprise wide area network.

The Software Defined Wide Area Network, or SD-WAN, uses software to optimise the transport of data across WAN links.

Michael Wood, a vice president at VeloCloud Networks says the three issues with WANs are latency, packet loss and jitter. These interfere with network services resulting in stuttering video, dropout on VoIP calls and other service interruptions.

SD-WAN uses software and cloud-based technology to optimise connectivity. In the old days, each time you added a new office you’d typically set up a VPN link or some other point-to-point connection. With SD-WANs, software is used to dynamically manage traffic flows to use the best connection and path to ensure data flows are optimised.

The SD-WAN software can run on generic hardware or an appliance. The multiple Internet connections are connected to the device and it determines the best path for network traffic. It can apply business rules to prioritise specific traffic as well as determine the best connection or combination of connections to send and receive data.

As well as optimising traffic flow, SD-WANs can reduce costs. Rather than paying for a one super-fast, and expensive, connection in order to fulfil the needs of a remote office, SD-WANs can take advantage of multiple, less expensive connections to meet business needs.

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