Anyone who works in the telecommunications sector or holds the role of IT manager will surely have heard of SD-WAN technology and the fact that, according to many, it is destined to revolutionize the world of telecommunications. However, if you don’t deal with computer systems or are far from the world of telcos, let me explain why I also consider the SD-Wan system extraordinary.
What Is SD-WAN, And How Does It Work
The acronym SD-WAN comes from the union of two expressions: “Software-Defined Networking” (SD) and “Wide Area Network” (WAN), whose meaning is easily found on Wikipedia. Without going into too much detail, it is useful to know that a WAN equipped with SD-WAN technology differs from a traditional Wide Area Network in that the management and control of data traffic are not entrusted to the classic hardware devices ( routers, switches, etc.), but to software, which is commonly referred to as a “controller”.
The advantages given by this configuration are obvious: since companies using the SD-WAN system are no longer tied to the presence of network devices, they enjoy greater flexibility and ease of management, as well as significant cost savings.
Why Does The Business Need SD-WAN?
Suppose it is true that not all companies can afford complex connectivity solutions. In that case, being able to count on a functional architecture and a high-performance Internet connection is equally the basis of the principle of competitiveness, especially in a more global market.
Thanks to SD-WAN technology, companies can virtually meet their customers, suppliers and collaborators. In addition to freeing them from the burden of the usual travel expenses, it facilitates those who have difficulty reaching the meeting places. Furthermore, the SD-WAN system allows you to use your mission-critical applications in total safety and rationalize expenses to obtain the best ratio between service cost and bandwidth.
Why Should IT Managers Care About SD-WAN?
Gone are the days when IT team members were forced to work in basements or buildings. Today, the IT Manager is a figure of primary importance, so streamlining and simplifying the work of those who occupy this delicate position is almost a duty. Tasks such as optimizing Internet bandwidth and managing VPNs take away precious time from IT Managers. Thanks to the SD-WAN system, time can be recovered and invested in decidedly more productive activities.
What Does The SD-WAN System Do?
Now that we have seen what the advantages are due to the adoption of SD-WAN technology let’s see what activities it takes care of.
Bundling Of Available Internet Connections
If we checked how the technological infrastructures are distributed on the territory, we would realize ours is an extremely uneven country. On the off chance that, from one perspective, there are regions of our promontory that can depend on quality Web associations, on the other, there are similarly as many – the purported “market disappointment regions” – in which the digitization cycle is slow.
Considering the latter, it is important to know that the SD-WAN system allows you to add together Internet connections of different natures and brands (fiber, wireless, copper, etc.) to obtain a single transmission flow whose bandwidth can be redistributed between the various applications and different services.
Internet Bandwidth Optimization
Once installed on your network, the SD-WAN Box, the true “heart” of the entire system, can be remotely controlled and programmed according to your needs. Unlike a common QoS (Quality of Service) system, in which resources are allocated statically, and it is no longer possible to free them, SD-WAN reserves only the bandwidth necessary for each application and service to make it available again.
Unlike the common Cisco HSRP protocol, which provides that the backup line of a network is activated only if the main one stops working, the SD-WAN system allows you to simultaneously exploit all available data lines, both main and non-main.
Branch Office Management
When you need to interconnect the peripheral offices of a company, there are only two possible ways to go: create the classic VPN connection (Virtual Private Network) or rely on the more modern MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching). In the first case, the limit is represented by the complexity of connecting or disconnecting one or more sites from the network circuit.
In the second, however, the cost represents a serious problem. SD-WAN replaces VPN and MPLS. It is sufficient to install an SD-WAN Box on each site. After that, the “on-board software” will take care of configuring and managing everything.
SD-WAN At A Glance
Wanting to summarize what we have seen so far, we can say that the SD-WAN system:
- Can unite two or more connections of different natures and brand
- It can replace (or complement) VPN and MPLS connections, making configuring and managing your corporate network easier.
- Dynamically configure routes to optimize resources and prioritize the applications and services needed by the company.
- Monitor each connection and its performance.
In conclusion, if it is true that each of these activities can be performed by traditional network equipment, it is equally true that these are usually very expensive and that managing them requires the intervention of personnel with particular technical knowledge. This is no longer necessary with the SD-WAN system. That’s why I, as well as other operators in the sector, consider SD-WAN a real revolution.