SD-WAN or SDWAN also know as the software-defined wide-area network is an application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections and It connects enterprise networks including branch offices and data centres also over large geographic distances.
A key application of SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially that available Internet access, enabling businesses to partially or wholly replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies. Key advantages include reducing costs with transport independence across MPLS, 3G/4G LTE, etc, Improving business application performance and increasing agility, optimizing the user experience and efficiency for SaaS and public cloud applications and simplifying operations with automation and cloud-based management.
A WAN might be used, for example, to connect branch offices to a central corporate network separated by distance. Before this WAN connections often used technology that required special proprietary hardware. When companies extend networks over greater distances and sometimes across multiple carriers’ networks, they face operational challenges including network congestion, packet delay variation, packet loss and even service outages. Modern applications such as VoIP calling, video conferencing, streaming media, and virtualized applications and desktops require low latency. Bandwidth requirements are also increasing, especially for applications featuring high-definition video. It can be expensive and difficult to expand WAN capability, with corresponding difficulties related to network management and troubleshooting. It relies on four central components:
- Edge Connectivity Abstraction
- WAN Virtualization
- Policy-Driven, Centralized Management
- Elastic Traffic Managemen
SD-WAN products are designed to address these network problems. By enhancing or even replacing traditional branch routers with virtualization appliances that can control application-level policies and offer a network overlay, less expensive consumer-grade Internet links can act more like a dedicated circuit. This simplifies the setup process for branch personnel. SD-WAN products can be physical appliances or virtual appliances and are placed in small remote and branch offices, larger offices, corporate data centers, and increasingly on cloud platforms.
The traditional WAN function was connecting users to applications hosted on servers in the data center. Typically, dedicated MPLS circuits were used to help ensure security and reliable connectivity. This no longer works in a cloud-centric world.
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