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IT Insights / 2 minute read

What is SD-WAN: Software Defined Networking?

Adapting at Speed

Software Defined Wide Area Networking – SD-WAN, is the agile alternative to traditional MPLS. SD-WAN connectivity is key to an Adaptive Technology Model as it delivers greater operational efficiencies.

Connecting lights to show software defined networking

To take some plumbing analogies, SD-WAN is the extra pipework organisations connect to their internet line to improve the flow. As bandwidth requirements rise and fall, they can close and open the faucets allowing them to:

  • Move more traffic
  • Move traffic faster
  • Respond and adapt to fluctuating demands across their network
  • Prioritise traffic types by directing them across the most efficient route
  • Maintain the security of their data within the SD-WAN provider’s private network
  • Enhance the user experience by delivering bandwidth where need is greatest

Fundamentally, the new app-centric world offers freedom of choice. Unlike MPLS, SD-WAN enables this freedom by giving organisations the ability to rapidly deploy the latest applications from anywhere in the world.

SD-WAN also comes into its own for companies setting up offices overseas. The conventional method - an MPLS style network and the provision of a WAN link - can take months to procure. With a software defined wide area network, it’s possible to install a simple internet line and layer SD-WAN on top of it within days. This speed to operation is equally advantageous for setting up temporary offices in the UK, e.g. a construction site or pop up business.

What Should You Consider Before Buying an SD-WAN Solution?  

When procuring a Software Defined Wide Area Network, there are common considerations. It depends on the provider of course, but  set-up costs are typically lower for international sites and will be higher in the UK in comparison with MPLS.

SD-WAN is key to an Adaptive Technology model, and your heavier upfront investment can be offset by longer-term cost efficiencies. For example, you only pay the provider for what you use, and will spend less implementing new tech.

Clearly an internet connection of some description needs to be available in the first place, be it ADSL, FTTC or fibre lease line type connectivity. To specify your requirements, you'll need - among other things - an understanding of what your traffic flows are. Don't guess!

Your SD-WAN vendor or IT Lab consultant have the tools to measure your traffic flows and will help you map your needs out.

Access issues, poor performance and inflexibility are just a few of the issues global enterprises have with traditional networking solutions.

Find out how software-defined networking in a wide area (SD-WAN) can resolve  these issues and provide the performance and support global enterprises need.

While MPLS will be around for a while yet, it's likely its use will become less and less prevalent. SD-WAN is unquestionably the future, and the clear, intelligent choice for the delivery of adaptive tech.

Click here to explore our Adaptive Technology Model Hub and discover other rich resources.

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