The Road to SD-WAN: The Evolution of WAN Infrastructure & Why This Changes Everything

 Jul 1, 2021   |    Black Box

Well, WAN You Put It That Way…

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is the network that is used to connect various office environments over large geographic areas by linking the data center to remote locations. Generally, it consists of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) infrastructure to connect branches to headquarter networks. However, this infrastructure was never meant to support cloud applications or the thousands of devices that we use today. Traditional WAN architecture also includes single points of failure due to its structure relying on one provider and data center, leading to a lack of a performance guarantee.

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So, what should today’s WAN architecture look like?

Modern WAN Architecture needs to offer: performance, reliability, cost-efficiency, simplicity, security, and intelligence

It should be: smart, efficient, easy to manage, and know how/when to appropriately steer traffic over various network paths, all while maintaining performance and reliability.

It should help businesses adopt cloud-based services and applications while optimizing bandwidth and traffic from every area. Finally, it should keep everything secure regardless of the type of connection. 

Enter SD-WAN

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) brings “network virtualization” to traditional WAN infrastructure and controls the traffic over all circuits. This enables IT professionals to transfer the operational responsibilities of WAN to the cloud controller and to seamlessly manage every branch network centrally. SD-WAN overlays a software-driven network on a physical network, breaking up the WAN network into a set of capabilities, and giving enterprises the ability to diversify their providers, network management, traffic, and monitoring functions. According to an IDC – US Enterprise Survey, more than 70% of medium to large U.S. companies intend to implement SD-WAN by 2022.1

Enterprises that have that have adopted SD-WAN’s can choose from a plethora of service providers, transports, and locations to ensure optimum performance at all times and business continuity. This “network virtualization,” or cloud network, routes traffic over multiple routes to a destination(s) providing better performance and network uptime assurance. With SD-WAN, companies reported a staggering 94% reduction in network downtime.2

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SD-WAN simplifies policy creation and network configuration by aligning business-level policy decisions with network policies. Businesses are able to add devices and circuits while keeping the old infrastructure and making the transition seamless. Control Plane Servers can be very flexible, hosted in existing hardware or even through the cloud. This makes the implementation of SD-WAN highly cost effective due to the lack of new hardware components, and can reduce or even eliminate the need for data closets or even onsite IT.

Why Should I Care About SD-WAN?

Today’s network requirements have far surpassed the capabilities of WAN, hybrid MPLS, and internet broadband. Due to the massive influx in network-connected devices, traditional WAN infrastructures simply cannot keep up with the bandwidth required to run a business smoothly and securely in today’s day and age. Enterprises are implementing SD-WAN’s networking capabilities in order to survive and adapt to rapidly-changing business and technology landscapes.

Furthermore, there is a high-cost, labor-intensive, and time-consuming process associated with the complex hardware, maintenance, and provisioning of in-house data centers and network operations. Some enterprises simply do not have the funds, capacity, or size to maintain on-premise networks especially as they moves towards a total digital transformation. Adding to network complexity of on-premise network operations is being tied to a long-term contract with a single provider.

How Will SD-WAN Change Things For My Business?

The implementation of SD-WAN into your network infrastructure can solve many of the problems associated with last-century WAN architectures. Traditional WAN does not have the capabilities to support cloud applications or handle the demands on bandwidth that go along with digital transformation.

SD-WAN’s Benefits:

  • Migrate to cloud applications easily and efficiently, prioritizing cloud traffic.
  • Easily add bandwidth from multiple carriers to accommodate growth in the number of devices, without being locked into a contract.
  • Expand easily with intelligent and flexible policies which enable you to scale and customize your network without apprehension.
  • Keep all types of traffic secure by leveraging the existing VPN infrastructure.
  • Centralized management simplifies the addition of new offices and devices, without the need for onsite IT resources.
  • Save money on circuit costs by prioritizing traffic and optimizing bandwidth.

With SD-WAN, a North American service provider experienced a 30% reduction in connectivity costs, as well as an incredible reduction in fulfillment time from an average of 21 days to just minutes.3

How Do I Implement SD-WAN Into my Enterprise Network?

It’s a lot easier than you think based on the simplicity of SD-WAN and we’ll walk you through how to get a flexible, versatile SD-WAN solution for your growing enterprise. We’ll work with you to configure, program, and scale an SD-WAN based on your network and security access needs and get you set up with the right combination of carrier services. It’s very likely you won’t need many boots on the ground or new equipment deployments, but if you do, our global tech force is everywhere you are.

The future of enterprise networking is SD-WAN. It’s cost-effective, flexible, and gives you the ability to utilize the full capability of carrier-provided networks and cloud infrastructure. SD-WAN simplifies the complex landscape of hardware, carriers, and IT headaches.

Have more questions? Want more details? Take a look at this white paper: Understanding the Benefits of SD-WAN.
For more information, call us at 855-324-9909, or email us at contact@blackbox.com.

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1. US Enterprise Communications Survey: SD-WAN SMB Uptake, 2020
2. Help me SD-WAN, you’re my only hope!
3. Cisco Benefits of SD-WAN