What is SD-WAN?

20 December 2021

EfficientIP

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is an approach to managing wide-area-networks (WANs) and uses software to accumulate multiple types of enterprise network connections (such as broadband, private MPLS network, or wireless) to create strong and cost-effective connections with a centralized architecture.

WANs connect devices to other devices around the world. Originally, WANs were made up of hundreds or thousands of routers capable of talking to each other over long distances. Inside of each router is a data plane and a control plane.

The data plane contains information that was either sent or received, while the control plane directs the data on where to go. Traditionally, the control plane has to be manually configured and programmed regarding how to handle the data plane’s traffic.

A network administrator would then take on the lengthy and tedious task of entering a series of commands onto each router’s command-line interface. In addition to being extremely time-consuming, human error has a tendency to run rampant during the lengthy process.

SD-WAN simplifies the process substantially. Parts of the control plane are centralized, meaning operators can easily manage changes to the control plane globally across the entire WAN from a central portal.

As a result, taking advantage of broadband connections becomes easier, eliminating the need to rely solely on MPLS and lowering operational costs while increasing resiliency.

SD-WAN gives business owners a multitude of options for their network. Data-sensitive business applications like CRMs and VoIPs can be put on a privatized network between specific locations, and operators can block social media and leisure sites from the company’s network.

Overall, SD-WAN makes network configuration and management simple while lowering IT costs.