In the corporate network environment, it boils down to this: All people want is everything working as it needs to be—quickly, efficiently, invisibly. Enter the SD-WAN.
The software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a disruptive capability that is being widely adopted to replace legacy network routing tools and bring in next-generation connectivity. Security, efficiency, redundancy, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, ease of management…all these are reasons companies are turning to SD-WAN as an essential aspect of their network plan. But what exactly is SD-WAN? Channel Futures recently asked AVANT to share our expertise on the subject for their readers, and it seemed like a good time to share it here with you as well.
An SD-WAN is a control option that enables a company’s communication traffic to take advantage of the best available network path, as determined in real time, intelligently and securely. Since what is ‘best’ for one application may be different than for another, in an SD-WAN you assign priority to your various applications based on importance, with routing preferences tied to acceptable performance thresholds for such current conditions as loss, latency, jitter, and available bandwidth. So you can configure your SD-WAN to ensure that all voice and video applications, for example, are routed over the circuit that currently has the least amount of latency and packet loss, though it may cost more, whereas file or email traffic may be confined to the least-expensive functional routes.
To ensure that packets are routed over the best possible circuit at any given moment, SD-WAN solutions are constantly taking measurements—sometimes hundreds of times per second—between a customer’s locations, to determine the performance of the network and enforce application performance and security policies. Thus SD-WAN can immediately detect a blackout (e.g., a fiber cut), or a brownout (poor or degraded performance), and reroute traffic accordingly. With SD-WAN, traffic for a given application is constantly moving between possible network paths, providing the absolute best performance to the end user.
Further, SD-WANs provide industrial-grade, standards-based authentication and encryption for all traffic between a customer’s sites, using AES-128 or AES-256 bit encryption from end to end. So the customer’s data is secured. It is comparable to VPN encryption, although it is much easier to set up and manage across multiple sites and multiple circuits. With SD-WAN, security is maintained despite any routing changes and regardless of the underlying circuit, whether it is MPLS, DIA, broadband, or LTE.
And security requirements can govern the routing options for any given application. For instance, certain traffic might be set to only ever ride the private network between sites. Or known and trusted apps might be allowed to break out locally via the basic SD-WAN firewall (to access cloud applications, for example), while all other traffic might be backhauled to a more powerful security stack at the data center. SD-WAN provides the granularity and intelligence to make these decisions, maximizing performance while giving the customer better control of their network than they have ever had.
Want to hear more about how to bring SD-WAN to your customers? Turn to AVANT. As the leader in next-generation connectivity, AVANT brings the latest industry innovations to our trusted partners. Our sales engineering team is here to assist you in understanding the options and capabilities of SD-WAN and other disruptive technologies.
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