What is SD-WAN?

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) is the application of software-defined networking (SDN) to Wide Area Network’s (WANs). 

What is SDN? It is a centralised method of creating application specific network pathways, which compared to traditional methods of network routing, attempts to understand what traffic you are sending and how best to deliver it to its destination. 

An SD-WAN solution often takes the form of a small virtualised hardware box used to run common networking function. It simplifies management and operation of WANs, and allows companies to build higher performance WANs using commercially available internet access. This enables the replacement of expensive private WAN technologies, such as MPLS. SD-WAN can also be integrated with WAN optimisation and acceleration to further improve application delivery. 



There are four characteristics which are commonly accepted as required for an SD-WAN

  • Must support multiple connection types - SD WAN can operate across Internet connections, and also across private data services such as MPLS. This means that there is no need to replace existing network infrastructure.
  • Ability to perform dynamic path selection – SD WAN can dynamically determine the most efficient route through the network. This allows for loads to be shared across WAN connections, and allows the network to failover to working links when there is an outage.
  • An interface that allows for simple configuration and management – SD WAN simplifies the management and configuration of WANs. It can be as simple as setting up basic home wifi to configure a new branch.
  • Ability to support third-party services – SD WAN can support additional network services, such as firewalls, WAN accelerators and VPNs. There is no sacrifice of functionality or security when switching to SD WAN, as all these services can still be used.



SD-WAN enables the use of less expensive and more quickly deployed broadband circuits, whereas traditional WANs would require the purchase of additional lines when scaling up resources.


The increased choice and control over access technology offered through SD-WAN gives you more flexibility, depending on your overall and specific use cases. 


When enabling features such as WAN-optimisation and combined with a global cloud fabric, SD-WAN can help your traffic get to global public cloud services faster.


SD-WAN provides the ability to encrypt WAN traffic as it moves from one location to another. Security is also improved by segmenting the network, minimising damage when a breach occurs.


If your site requires more than one network type, SD-WAN can help you optimise their usage. 


SD-WAN can allow instant configuration across WAN’s, as well as detailed reporting and real-time network visibility. 

Extra Information

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