SD-WAN – good reasons why

Digitalization is on the advance: Many companies now rely on software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) for connectivity at their company locations. Analysts expect the SD-WAN market to grow even faster in 2021 and 2022. The next five years are expected to see an average annual growth rate of 24 percent in global sales. This is no surprise because, in the long term, companies with several branches and a traditional approach to network management simply will not be able to keep pace with the increasing demands on digital processes. The advantage of an SD-WAN solution is that any available Internet-based wide area network (WAN) can be used to rapidly deploy digital applications and multi-service networks. We explain here why adopting SD-WAN is the best way to go.

1. SD-WAN replaces expensive MPLS connections

Many companies and organizations continue to operate WAN structures based on MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) for connecting dispersed locations with their headquarters. From today’s point of view, this technology is simply outdated: static, inflexible and also much too expensive compared to DSL connections. SD-WAN is a cost-effective and versatile alternative for implementing worldwide, highly scalable corporate networks. Inexpensive and universally available Internet access (DSL, fiber optics, cellular) are replacing those expensive MPLS connections.

2. SD-WAN cuts back on hardware

Ever thought about replacing the hardware with network resources provided in software? Especially for growing companies with distributed locations, the subject of NFV (network functions virtualization) is well worth considering. An SD-WAN uses generic virtual machines (VM) and “white-box gateways” to support the virtualization of your network resources. Known as vGateways, vFirewalls and vWLCs, these virtual devices offer the full range of functions with two decisive advantages: First, you create and commission them with just a few clicks, for example using Microsoft Azure—which basically means instant deployment,  anywhere. Second, they grow with the demands of the network: Instead of installing more powerful hardware as we used to, a virtual network component scales up at the click of a mouse, for example to support more bandwidth or additional VPN channels.

3. SD-WAN optimizes (cloud) applications

A number of features are available to optimize your WAN traffic. SD-WAN application routing detects cloud-based applications such as Office 365 and routes them directly to the Internet (local break-out). Also, unwanted applications can be completely blocked from certain parts of the network by means of layer-7 policy-based routing. Intelligent load balancing (active / active mode) ensures that all of the Internet connections are operated to the maximum. You further optimize the performance of mission-critical applications by dynamically routing them over the best quality connection (dynamic path selection).

4. SD-WAN combines efficiency with security

Top priority is the effective protection of central business data traffic. Advanced Routing and Forwarding securely separates networks within the WAN by strictly isolating IP networks from one another. VLANs are securely and separately transmitted end-to-end over the entire WAN route—it is even possible to use overlapping IP network segments. With LANCOM you also benefit from HSVPN, a protocol, that delivers further optimization by reducing the number of IPsec tunnels. The aim is to make the transmission path within the IPsec tunnel and router more efficient than with multi-PPTP-over-IPsec.

5. SD-WAN saves time

With SD-WAN, there is no need to manually configure individual devices. When choosing your provider, you should check that the gateways on offer are all SD-WAN-capable and can be integrated into the central management system without major effort. Work is made much easier with the rollout of all gateway configurations via zero-touch deployment. This means that devices receive their configuration completely automatically, and you can even control the different firmware versions on different device types at the click of the mouse. Devices with Ethernet interfaces and an Internet connection can directly connect to the underlying SD-WAN orchestrator and are set up by auto-configuration. New routers are easily commissioned using “zero-touch provisioning”, and entire locations are rolled out automatically.

6. SD-WAN for central control of network components

A management instance in the cloud based on innovative software defined technology lets you manage more than just your WAN; SD-WAN solutions are a step ahead. The same interface lets you control your entire infrastructure—even at dispersed company locations, using a feature known as “SD-Branch”. An SD-Branch solution supplements SD-WAN by managing every part of the network (gateways & WAN, switches & LAN, access points & WLAN, firewalls & security) within branch infrastructures. This brings significant time savings in day-to-day business, because all devices are orchestrated together and fully automatically.

7. SD-WAN in the private cloud

Large enterprise networks and service providers often have increased security requirements and compliance targets. These require the orchestrator to be hosted at a data center as a private cloud solution. You decide whether your cloud is private or public!

When it comes to modifying and expanding your network infrastructure, the future-proof strategy is to switch to an SD-WAN solution. The complexity of static networks connecting dispersed locations used to be time-consuming and error-prone, but this can be significantly improved with an SD-WAN. For yet more advantages of an SD-WAN solution made in Germany, visit our website.

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