As businesses adjust to accommodate the growing demands of working in a post-pandemic world, IT teams have been tasked with finding more flexible networking solutions. Traditional models can’t keep up with the high volumes of traffic resulting from cloud adoption, and network management has become more complex with the addition of remote workforces.
That’s where SD-WAN comes in.
What Is SD-WAN?
Many of the adaptations businesses made throughout the pandemic, including migrating to the cloud and adopting remote and hybrid work environments, are likely to stay put. While these changes provide a wide array of productivity and cost-saving benefits, they also present challenges. The most notable offender: poor network performance.
SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) solutions allow organizations to connect to applications using the best transport method (i.e. 4G, Broadband, Ethernet) based on bandwidth availability and policy-based routing. Bandwidth-intensive applications can be sent down paths with minimal latency, while lower priority traffic can be routed over the most cost-effective connections. This flexibility helps reduce congestion and optimize network performance.
There are three primary types of SD-WAN architecture: on-premise, cloud-enabled, and internet-based.
On-premise only SD-WAN refers to when network traffic is configured on-site through a “plug ‘n play” router. While it can be set up quickly, it lacks the ability to connect to a cloud gateway. Users within your organization’s network can only connect to branch offices and remote sites, so this type of architecture is suited most for businesses that don’t host any cloud-based applications on their network.
This type of configuration includes both an onsite SD-WAN box and a cloud gateway, which is directly connected to major cloud-based providers like Office 365, AWS, etc. This type of architecture is best for organizations that use major cloud applications, especially if they host in-house applications on an MPLS network as well.
Cloud-Enabled Plus Backbone
The “backbone” referred to here is a cloud-enabled architecture with a connection to the SD-WAN provider’s nearest point of presence (POP), allowing your organization’s network traffic to travel over your provider’s private, fiber optic network backbone for minimal packet loss and latency. This architecture is optimal for enterprises that use multiple cloud-based applications or want to eliminate their expensive MPLS network altogether.
Who Is Using SD-WAN?
The modern workforce is embracing this new networking model thanks in large part to the increase in remote and hybrid workforces. It is estimated that 73% of departments across all industries are expected to have remote employees by 2028,1 showing that telecommuting is becoming more accepted among a variety of industries and business types.
Currently, 79% of organizations use SD-WAN solutions, and that number is expected to rise to 92% by 2026.2 As more organizations rely on the cloud to support their work-from-anywhere staff, SD-WAN is the solution to solving their network performance problems – and that’s not all SD-WAN has to offer.
What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN?
SD-WAN acts as an overlay for an organization’s existing network solution (whether it be broadband internet, MPLS, or hybrid), making the network control processes available as software and enabling businesses to enjoy simplified management, reduced overhead costs, and greater flexibility. Let’s go over the primary benefits of virtualizing your business network with SD-WAN:
We mentioned this previously, but it’s significant enough to repeat: SD-WAN solutions improve network and cloud-based application performance. While traditional WAN models using MPLS are defined by dedicated lines, SD-WAN uses multiple types of connections simultaneously. This allows critical business applications to be sent over the most reliable, high-performance connection, reducing the packet loss and latency issues associated with MPLS.
SD-WAN simplifies network management for IT teams. All company-wide connectivity policies are implemented from a single management dashboard, which provides full network visibility and access across all branches of the organization. With this real-time view of the network, companies can easily apply changes and deploy updates to multiple locations at once.
Because SD-WAN solutions virtualize a network’s edges – the points where devices connect to the internet – adding new users or branches to the network without impacting the configuration of your infrastructure is quick and easy. Plus, deployment can be done remotely, reducing the need for on-site IT staff to set up each new connection.
SD-WAN allows organizations to diversify their WAN connections – such as MPLS, broadband, and LTE – and routes traffic over the most efficient link according to the set policies. This redundancy virtually eliminates network outages because if one connection type becomes unavailable, traffic will simply be routed over another option.
SD-WAN enables businesses to increase bandwidth as needed by aggregating WAN connections of any type, allowing them to more effectively connect to the cloud. This is a must in the new world of work, so this increased flexibility also serves to future-proof organizations.
Encrypted end-to-end tunnels are a staple of SD-WAN solutions. These tunnels are built across the entire network and make a great base for virtual firewalls to deal with cyber threats in real-time. SD-WAN also enables network segmentation across the WAN, dividing the network to limit access to business-critical applications.
SD-WAN solutions have been found to help businesses reduce costs by 50% or more.3 Because SD-WAN allows organizations to prioritize applications over different types of connections based on routing policies, IT teams can leverage low-cost options like broadband or mobile for activities like internet browsing.
What Makes Momentum’s SD-WAN Different?
Not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal. Momentum’s Navigator SD-WAN was awarded the 2021 INTERNET TELEPHONY SD‐WAN Product of the Year Award by TMC, a leader in business-to-business and integrated marketing media. Our SD-WAN offers several unique advantages to other solutions, including:
- Simplified hardware that supports multi-WAN fiber, carrier Ethernet, and mobile uplinks for more reliable, high-speed connectivity.
- Juniper’s proprietary secure vector routing enables the connection of redundant failover sites across multiple networks without the use of IPSec tunnels, significantly cutting bandwidth needs.
- Ironclad security to help your company build a zero-trust network.
- Best-in-class features like adaptive encryption, multi-path routing, classification and prioritization, NAT pools, SNAT/DNAT, and App ID for monitoring.
- Optional support for 4G/LTE uplink as a last-resort path should your network’s primary connection go offline.
- Upgrades to voice capabilities for increased employee productivity – without the need for expensive truck rolls.
Momentum’s Navigator SD-WAN adds a layer of intelligence to more easily manage your network and cloud-based application performance, delivering secure connections and always-on accessibility. In addition, we pride ourselves on providing each of our clients with the highest quality white-glove service, reliability, and 24/7 customer support.
Get Started With Navigator SD-WAN Today
The advantages of SD-WAN for business are undeniable, especially for organizations relying on the cloud for remote and hybrid workforce capabilities. By reducing costs and delivering greater flexibility, performance, reliability, and scalability, SD-WAN and the cloud make it profitable for companies to thrive in this new world of technology.
If you’re ready to optimize your network and experience the benefits of SD-WAN for your business, reach out to our team of experts today. We’ll set you up with an SD-WAN solution that operates at peak performance to give your company a competitive edge as you grow.