SD-WAN: Improved Network Performance for Work, Home or Anywhere

The global pandemic has dramatically shifted the way people work, meet and entertain. It has also increased and greatly shifted global internet traffic, challenging not only the architectures of internet telecommunication providers but also to business enterprises, as they adapt to the new normal to accommodate their work forces from working at home or anywhere.

This pandemic has brought new challenges to the home network, entertainment traffic (such as online gaming, video streaming) and business-critical applications all competing with one another leading to poor network performance and productivity. A network without traffic prioritization and performance monitoring leads to poor user experience. The performance of the network is only as good as the inconsistent internet performance.

Business VPN is not the simple answer to these problems. In order to provide assured performance for business critical and real-time applications, SD-WAN is the answer and it can drastically improve consistency and overall Quality of Experience (QoE).

As the CISO of one of our partners Fortinet wrote in a recent article, software-defined networks (SD-WAN) are “pandemic-ready.” SD-WAN enables organizations to create integrated networking security architectures for fast, scalable and flexible connectivity across different network environments. The benefits of SD-WAN include:

  • Ease of deployment,
  • Central manageability
  • Lower costs
  • Better performance

A few of the business-critical applications that SD-WAN could help include:

  • Real time Audio-Video Conferencing
  • Virtual Desktop (VDI) Applications
  • Software as a Service (SAAS) Applications

SD-WAN can bring improved application performance and consistent security across users irrespective of their work location be it on-site or at home.

With ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning), template-based configuration push and centralized management controller, SD-WAN helps with ease of implementation and management operations.

SD-WAN is transport agnostic. A full-mesh or custom-mesh VPN tunnels (IPsec) are built across multiple available transports (Example: Internet Broadband, LTE, Fiber, MPLS) providing robust security with end-to-end encryption.

In addition to providing security, SD-WAN prioritizes business-critical applications and real-time traffic through deep-packet inspection (DPI) built-in on the appliances. Major SD-WAN appliance providers update application signatures on a regular basis (every 24 hours in some cases) to identify ever-growing applications.

Even with a single transport, SD-WAN can provide increased performance for real-time applications like audio/video conferencing and overall performance improvement for business-critical applications by employing traffic optimization compression techniques.


Dual Low-Cost Transports to Avert Poor Performance

Remote workforces experiencing continued poor network performance will experience a sigh of relief with the low-cost dual transports of LTE and broadband.

Appliances come integrated with ethernet and LTE interfaces to connect dually to home internet and mobile broadband. This allows SD-WAN to seamlessly load-balance traffic (or) choose the right transport on a per application basis.

SD-WAN continuously monitors dual links for jitter, latency and loss. This monitoring allows SD-WAN to make decisions on which transport to use on a per application basis.

Delay sensitive applications like audio/video conferencing will now be able to intelligently switch paths based on the feedback from each transport. It can also use Forward Error Correction (FEC) mechanisms to send duplicate packets across multiple transports that experience loss there by negating the effects of loss.

Enterprises looking to renew their aging networks that are not designed to handle modern day applications will benefit most by choosing SD-WAN solutions for both on-site and remote work forces. Centralized SD-WAN controllers offer stress-free management and operational efficiency of the entire SD-WAN infrastructure.

SD-WAN is continuously evolving with more and more features being integrated to meet the demands of the ever-changing enterprise needs. Organizations looking to deploy secure, modern-day application driven networks should look at SD-WAN.

Groupware Technology has deep expertise in designing and deploying SD-WAN solutions from major vendors. Our certified SD-WAN experts can guide organizations every step of the way in transitioning legacy VPN networks to modern SD-WAN deployment.

Sakthi Malli is a Senior Principal Solutions Architect at Groupware Technology