Today’s businesses need more bandwidth, less latency, and a reliable network to function optimally and stay ahead of the competition. This is especially true with the rising trend of remote working, where enterprises rely on video streaming, VoIP, and cloud-based applications. And that is why businesses of all sizes are increasingly adopting SD-WAN to solve their networking challenges.

If you are considering improving your network performance, SD-WAN is an excellent solution for your business needs. But before purchasing it, it is critical to understand the pros and cons of SD-WAN and how the solution works.


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This guide provides everything you need to know about SD-WAN. Keep reading to discover more.

What Is SD-WAN?

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a virtual networking technology that uses software to manage connectivity and performance of wide area networks (WAN) between data centers, remote branches, and cloud-based applications. It is a revolutionary technology that enables businesses to optimize their network performance, unlike traditional WANs that rely on costly and complex hardware.

How SD-WAN Works

The traditional WAN architecture, which is hardware-based, can be complex, expensive, and challenging to manage. SD-WAN simplifies this process by providing a centralized management console that allows IT teams to define policies and configure network traffic. It uses software to combine network channels, such as MPLS, internet, and 4G/5G broadband, to enable secure and reliable data transmission across the network.

One feature distinguishing sd wan vs mpls is traffic prioritization – the capability to optimize the WAN network to meet business needs. Latency-sensitive applications are prioritized and given sufficient bandwidth to ensure optimal performance.

Since SD-WAN is software-based, it can adapt to changing needs, enhancing flexibility and significantly improving WAN performance. You can scale your WAN to accommodate changing network needs for your business.

The Pros and Cons of SD-WAN

While there are many benefits of SD-WAN, this networking technology also has some drawbacks. Below we explore the advantages and disadvantages of SD-WAN.

Pros of SD-WAN

SD-WAN is rapidly gaining ground because of its numerous advantages. Below are some benefits of SD-WAN.

Improves Network Performance

software-defined wide area networking consolidates multiple WAN channels to be used simultaneously. Doing so provides a large path to route traffic and allows fail-over options in the case of disruptions. Essentially, SD-WAN improves any unstable links and applies path conditioning techniques to make them high-performance networks. It routes traffic via the best-performing link, reducing latency and improving overall network performance.

Enables Traffic Prioritization

When considering sd wan vs mpls, SD-WAN wins because it allows for traffic prioritization. With SD-WAN, an enterprise can identify business-critical applications and prioritize them in bandwidth allocation. IT teams create central policies prioritizing traffic based on application type, user group, or location. By prioritizing traffic, SD-WAN can help improve network performance and application responsiveness, leading to a better user experience.

SD-WAN Improves Reliability

Another benefit of SD-WAN is improved network reliability. The solution combines multiple links and maintains an active configuration to reroute traffic when necessary. By consolidating numerous connectivity channels such as MPLS, broadband, and LTE, SD-WAN ensures network redundancy and significantly reduces downtime.

Cost Savings

SD-WAN saves you money. Instead of buying expensive MPLS hardware, you can opt for broadband and LTE – which are significantly cheaper. So, if you have existing MPLS circuits, you can scale your network up by overlaying SD-WAN. Low costs combined with the benefits of improved performance and

Increased Security

Traditional WANs have security vulnerabilities due to their reliance on hardware appliances and manual configurations. On the other hand, SD-WAN provides centralized management and automated security protocols that detect and respond to cybersecurity threats in real time. This allows for secure communication between network sites and minimizes the risk of data breaches, malware attacks, and other security threats.

Cons of SD-WAN

Below are some disadvantages of SD-WAN.

No Quality of Service (QoS) on Internet Connections

The lack of QoS might be an issue with SD-WAN if the solution is used over a public internet network. The IT team may tunnel traffic via the best channels, but the performance is subject to the best-effort network available. This shortcoming explains why a company still needs dedicated internet access with service-level agreements to guarantee QoS – alongside SD-WAN.

SD-WAN May Raise Security Concerns

Since SD-WAN often relies on the public internet, some customers may be concerned about their data’s security. SD-WAN’s centralized management can pose a security risk as it opens up a single point of failure, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals. However, modern SD-WAN solutions can mitigate these concerns through advanced encryption and security protocols.

The SD-WAN Marketplace is Confusing

Another challenge with SD-WAN is a complex and confusing marketplace.  With various technical terms and many vendors, it can be difficult to determine the best product for your business needs. That is where the services of a technology consultant come in handy. They have the expertise to guide you through the maze of options and help you select the right solutions for your specific needs.

Final Thoughts

SD-WAN is a powerful solution for enterprises seeking to optimize network performance, especially as more applications and services move to the cloud. With its numerous benefits, such as increased security, flexibility, and cost savings, SD-WAN is rapidly becoming a game-changer in the networking world. Hopefully, this guide has given you the information to make informed decisions about implementing SD-WAN in your business network.