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SD-WAN Latest 2022

What is SD-WAN?

A Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to leverage any combination of transport services—including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services—to securely connect users to applications.

An SD-WAN uses a centralized control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN and directly to trusted SaaS and IaaS providers. This increases application performance and delivers a high-quality user experience, which increases business productivity and agility and reduces IT costs.

SD-WAN architecture

Traditional WANs based on conventional routers were never designed for the cloud. They typically require backhauling all traffic, including cloud-destined traffic, from branch offices to a hub or headquarters data center where advanced security inspection services can be applied. The delay caused by backhaul impairs application performance resulting in a poor user experience and lost productivity.

Unlike the traditional router-centric WAN architecture, the SD-WAN model is designed to fully support applications hosted in on-premises data centers, public or private clouds, and SaaS services such as, Workday, Dropbox, Microsoft 365, and more, while delivering the highest levels of application performance.


How does SD-WAN work?

Unlike SD-WAN, the conventional router-centric model distributes the control function across all devices in the network and simply routes traffic based on TCP/IP addresses and ACLs. This traditional model is rigid, complex, inefficient, and not cloud-friendly and results in a poor user experience.

An SD-WAN enables cloud-first enterprises to deliver a superior application quality of experience (QoEx) for users. By identifying applications, an SD-WAN provides intelligent application-aware routing across the WAN. Each class of applications receives the appropriate QoS and security policy enforcement, all in accordance with business needs.

Secure local internet breakout of IaaS and SaaS application traffic from the branch provides the highest levels of cloud performance while protecting the enterprise from threats.


Times have changed, and enterprises are using the cloud and subscribing to software-as-a-service (SaaS). While users traditionally connected back to the corporate data center to access business applications, they are now better served by accessing many of those same applications in the cloud.

As a result, the traditional WAN is no longer suitable mainly because backhauling all traffic—including that destined to the cloud—from branch offices to the headquarters introduces latency and impairs application performance.

SD-WAN provides WAN simplification, lower costs, bandwidth efficiency and a seamless on-ramp to the cloud with significant application performance especially for critical applications without sacrificing security and data privacy. Better application performance improves business productivity, customer satisfaction, and ultimately profitability. Consistent security reduces business risk.

Basic SD-WAN vs business-driven SD-WAN

Not all SD-WANs are created equal. Many SD-WAN solutions are basic SD-WAN solutions or “just good enough” solutions. These solutions lack the intelligence, reliability, performance, and scale needed to ensure a superior network experience.

And remember, without a fast, secure, and high performing network, enterprise digital transformation initiatives can stall because they rely on apps that rely on services that in turn rely on the network. SD-WAN is a pivotal digital transformation enabler and is driving strategic decisions across the enterprise. So, what is a Business-driven SD-WAN and why is Basic SD-WAN not good enough?

Lifecycle orchestration and automation. Most basic SD-WAN offerings provide some level of zero-touch provisioning. However, basic SD-WAN solutions do not always provide full end-to-end orchestration of all WAN edge functions such as routing, security services, including service chaining to advanced third-party security services and WAN optimization.

When enterprises deploy new applications or when a QoS or security policy change is required, a business-driven SD-WAN supports centralized configuration, enabling the required changes to be deployed in a few minutes instead of weeks or months. Centralized orchestration greatly minimizes human errors that can compromise performance or security.

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