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A wide-area network, or WAN, is necessary for any company that is seeking to expand or has resources separated by distance. It allows separate branches to communicate with each other and the headquarters and smaller branch offices in separate buildings to connect.
Traditionally, WAN requires proprietary hardware, but in the new era of cloud-based applications and services, SD-WAN has rapidly been moving in.
According to SDX Central, SD-WAN is an application of software-defined networking technology used for WAN connections.
In other words, instead of WAN, which requires special hardware to operate, SD-WAN operates through the internet and private virtual networks.
WAN can be thought of as taking a trip by road, whilst SD-WAN can be seen as making the same trip by plane. As an analogy, consider taking a trip from New York to Los Angeles. A car or train can get you there, but if you were to take a plane, then there is no need to be bound to follow the road transport infrastructure below suffering from traffic congestion.
WAN is used to connect two physically separate networks to a single office using two different types of connections to handle the network traffic.
SD-WAN uses a virtual network overlay to bring services across broadband, LTE, and other WAN connections streamlining application based traffic.
With many business applications finding a new home in the cloud, SD-WAN offers an overlay architecture that lends itself to SDN technology which provides many benefits over legacy WANs. Among those benefits are:
Cost-effectiveness: Traditional WANs used to connect branch offices can be expensive. SD-WAN is much less expensive because it optimizes current network traffic, minimizing costs for infrastructure upgrades due to bandwidth usage increases.
Transport Independence: SD-WAN is entirely virtualized. Therefore, it does not require a transport protocol to be built around it. As such, businesses and organizations are given more flexibility when transporting their assets. Options for SD-WAN that give total transportation independence include 4G LTE, 3G, MPLS, Internet, Ethernet, Serial and/ or Wi-Fi.
Improved Security: While traditional WAN works with many applications at various branch offices, SD-WAN is able to integrate with a centrally located web filtering service that offers malware protection and other cybersecurity measures to every branch and remote device in the company.
According to our 2019 SMB IT Survey released earlier this year, 40% of small and midsize businesses operate in at least five physical locations. As a result, work teams have become spread across increasingly large distances and rely on bandwidth-intensive business applications, such as video conferencing or VoIP, to stay connected. Using more bandwidth per application, along with the increase in connected devices on the network, increases the need for businesses to transition to SD-WAN, as as affordable network deployment option.
Branch Offices can take advantage of greater deployment flexibility at a lower cost than traditional WAN or MPLS options.
Since SD-WAN is a virtual network overlay rather than a singular, physical space, it’s necessary for businesses to adopt solutions from vendors that offer the same or similar-strength security stack where and when it is needed.
Instead of backhauling and deploying expensive security applications at every branch, a well designed software defined network solution provides all the same security benefits to each branch remotely.
SD-WAN and the centralized approach to cybersecurity it operates with become symbiotic in a way so that everything the two encompass can be more streamlined and allow businesses to focus more on the core of their goals.
For more information and support on the benefits of Untangle SD-WAN Router and centralized security for branch offices, contact Untangle today!
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