Is SD WAN a good fit for your startup?


Last updated on April 3rd, 2024 at 5:18 am

SD WAN, or Software Defined Networking as part of a Wide Area Network, has been causing quite the buzz in the world of business IT. You might have heard some of this for yourself if you have interest in the area.

The problem is, there is just so much questionable information on the internet surrounding SD WAN and what advantages it can have for a business. It’s not that there is no good information out there – it’s just difficult to parse out what’s the straight truth from what is either exaggeration, or misinformation.

To that end, we’ve written this no-nonsense look at some of the common questions people have about SD WAN – so read on to find out whether or not this technology is the real deal.

SD WAN explained

You can’t fully understand SD WAN without having at least a little knowledge of what a WAN is – so let’s address that first. WAN stands for Wide Area Network. A WAN is a series of multiple devices, all of which are connected over a physical area – the Internet itself is essentially a WAN.

When used by a business, a WAN will generally consist of a hub in the center, with multiple branches, cloud services, and offices coming off of it. The hub is where the servers and the infrastructure devices which are essential to the network are stored.

Usually each location involved in the WAN, will have a LAN – a Local Area Network. The WAN is formed once these LANS are connected to the internet as well as to each other. Once the WAN is set up, everything stored in the hub can be shared across the WAN, giving each location access to the resources such as central systems, software, as well as storage.

Common questions about SD WAN

Nothing on your WAN is replaced once SD WAN is implemented. What SD WAN does is offer you more control over your WAN – an overlay, so to speak. The software which provides this overlay will work with the devices on your network, replacing the controls. This allows control over devices where previously you would have had to be at their physical location to have access.

The fact that SD WAN allows you to access the devices on your network without having to be at their individual location is incredible news for technicians working on the network – think of all the time saved which would otherwise have been lost to traveling.

So that’s one advantage of SD WAN right off the bat. Now it’s time to answer some common questions about SD WAN’s other benefits – let’s get to the bottom of what’s true and what’s not when it comes to SD WAN.

Will SD WAN make expansion quicker?

Having the ability to instantaneously get hardware all set up remotely is the thing of dreams – especially for the individuals who have to do the setting up. Unfortunately, since SD WAN just provides an overlay through software – as opposed to changing hardware – you’ll need existing connections in order to use new sites with SD WAN.

SD WAN will certainly be useful when it comes to setting up new sites, but the connections have to be there already for it to work. If you don’t have these connections set up, long circuit installation times will still be an issue.

Will SD WAN completely replace MPLS?

Many businesses which need to have a lot of apps spread around multiple locations opt to implement a fairly expensive MPLS based system. It stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching, and is a technique for managing data.

MPLS allows the routes which data takes through a network to be altered on the fly, according to how high a priority it is – which is also alterable. Using this technique, applications which simply have to stay online and running quickly can be allowed to do so, as the MPLS system can keep an eye on the data to ensure it’s using the most efficient paths.

SD WAN offers a CoS – Class of Service – system which works in a similar way to ensure priority traffic gets where it needs to be. The difference is, as we previously mentioned, SD WAN is just an overlay – MPLS works as part of your network’s infrastructure, and as such can take more robust actions.

Due to this, it’s unlikely that SD WAN, and other software solutions, will completely supersede hardware solutions like MPLS. Nonetheless, the future is uncertain – it’s possible reliance on hardware solutions will begin to wane at some point.

Will SD WAN completely overhaul my network?

Whilst it’s true that your network can be improved by implementing SD WAN, it’s incredibly important that you don’t just rely on SD WAN to give your network a boost. SD WAN, being a software solution, can help you squeeze all the potential out of your current network, but your network needs to be up to scratch in the first place – and completely changing your infrastructure is generally only possible by changing the hardware.

Will SD WAN improve the usage of SaaS?

The way a WAN is structured, with all a business’ satellite operations being able to access the same apps thanks to the hub in the centre, means that SD WAN can absolutely be helpful when it comes to utilising Software as a Service – SaaS – applications on your network.

Any real-time applications need to be running as efficiently as possible and to their fullest potential – particularly if your customers and end-users are relying on them. SD WAN ensures that you’re able to address any WAN issues which may pop up when using SaaS applications – which can go a long way towards reducing downtime.

Can SD WAN change your business for the better?

SD WAN may well be a great fit for your business – but then again, it might not. At the end of the day, the way you run your network really makes all the difference.

You might be working with an MSP, who addresses all your issues before you even notice them – in which case, SD WAN may not make that big of a difference to your network.

If the opposite is true, and you’re currently working with an IT team who is fed up with spending time going from site to site to address issues – SD WAN could be exactly what your business needs.

Author Bio:

Dinesh Lakhwani

Dinesh Lakhwani, the entrepreneurial brain behind “TechCommuters,” achieved big things in the tech world. He started the company to make smart and user-friendly tech solutions. Thanks to his sharp thinking, focus on quality and the motto of never giving up, TechCommuters became a top player in the industry. His commitment to excellence has propelled the company to a leading position in the industry.

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