How SD-WAN Can Keep Your Sites Connected Without Breaking the Bank

SD-WAN (software defined wide area networking) offers greater active-active redundancy and diversity over straight MPLS while adding some cost savings.

How SD-WAN Can Keep Your Sites Connected Without Breaking the Bank

You may remember when we didn’t have many high quality choices when direct point-to-point connections were necessary. I remember purchasing point-to-point 56K and 128K data circuits, expanding networks with multiple locations and frame relay, and such.

This was a great leap in technology and reliability over dial-up. Then with the maturity of the Internet we were introduced to VPNs (virtual private networks). This brought some reliability, efficiency and mobility to connecting remote sites.

As the industry moved on, so did requirements of better stability and redundancy as remote connections become more relevant and stability and diversity were mandatory and not just a nice addition.

Over the years, technology, requirements and solutions all matured to where MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) became the gold standard in solid and reliable point-to-point connectivity.

Typically, diversity came in the way of multiple circuits, multiple carriers, maybe a VPN backup, etc. Today MPLS is still the preferred method when connecting sites and where controlled and quality service is essential.

Although this is true, the industry has welcomed another technology that sometimes replaces MPLS and most often augments MPLS for a variety of reasons and benefits: SD-WAN (software defined wide area networking).

This valuable technology offers greater active-active redundancy and diversity over straight MPLS while adding some cost savings to enterprises that have many remote locations through the reduction in MPLS bandwidth subscription.

As I have expanded my consulting services to include a greater focus on telecommunications, Cloud and networking, I have a front-row seat to the providers that have afforded me insights into the substantial value, benefits and security SD-WAN delivers to help it become one of the fastest growing options available and in many cases the mainstream choice for organizations.

Although some may say that using Internet-facing circuits instead of private circuits sounds intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. When partnering with world-class SD-WAN providers, your concerns about reliability, redundancy, quality of experience, and more are all addressed in a very secure manner.

Advantages Include Scalability, Application Factors

Let’s take a look at how SD-WAN provides a variety of benefits over current structures. In some cases, SD-WAN is utilized over myriad Internet circuits, sometimes combining Internet circuits and cellular backup, sometimes along with MPLS and even in some instances with all technologies.

This technology allows for a tremendous amount of options depending on needs and budget. Diversity can be managed right down to the application level. Other advantages include agility and speed when adding locations.

Historically, when a business or enterprise requires robust communications and data networks for its mission-critical applications and services, this was accomplished by connecting private sites with MPLS or other private circuits.

SD-WAN provides solutions that not only meet or exceed those offered by traditional WAN technologies, but can deliver application acceleration, dynamic bandwidth to large Cloud providers, and more. Map and scale to your business objectives faster and more effectively.

SD-WAN also enables companies to utilize multiple Internet circuits, balance the load across them, and deliver a solid quality of experience. Aggregating the Internet circuits allows for large amounts of bandwidth, while securely connecting to additional private locations.

These new sites can be integrated into the system in very short order once Internet access is acquired.

SD-WAN Solutions Play Nice With Cloud

Organization stakeholders appreciate the cost associated with Internet circuits but worry about security if transmitting sensitive data. SD-WAN presents secure connections between sites and reduced complexities. This is another attractive benefit of subscribing to as-a-service solutions.

Deploying SD-WAN can also be used to prioritize the particular applications. Typically, providers choose the best circuit based on real-time statistics giving priority to alarm monitoring traffic, video, voice and other business applications; SD-WAN solutions optimize the traffic, reducing overall latency, jitter and response times, and accelerate the applications themselves.

These solutions can combine your MPLS and Internet connections, so they don’t sit idle. For organizations that utilize Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google for redundancy and virtualized applications, many SD-WAN providers connect directly to these Cloud providers.

Also, there are options that allow bandwidth to grow dynamically as your clients’ Cloud needs change. SD-WAN is a viable solution for any business, especially an electronic security business.

From the simplest of applications of connecting to your alarm monitoring provider, to managed access control, to connecting your branch offices, SD-WAN is a stable and diverse technology that delivers smooth and secure communications in a very effective manner.

When it comes to anything related to telecommunications, networking and Cloud services, you must reevaluate your structures, contracts and pricing annually.

This is an industry with rapid change. The companies that are not on top of these annual reviews are typically those that are behind in technology and likely even leaving money on the table as they are missing out on more efficient solutions and advantageous pricing.

About the Author

Contact:

Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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