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What is SD WAN Infrastructure?

SD WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Network. It is a virtual architecture that allows businesses to combine transport services including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet to securely connect users to applications. Delivered through the cloud SD WAN reduces capital expenditure and simplifies network administration. A centralised control function intelligently directs traffic across the WAN delivering higher performance and a better user experience. The agility inherent in an SD WAN environment makes it a more cost-effective solution reducing ongoing IT operating costs and improving connectivity to branch offices and the cloud.

How does it differ from a traditional WAN?

A typical WAN uses conventional routers that were not designed for the cloud. They typically route all traffic including cloud traffic to a hub or data centre causing a delay that leads to poor application performance. Traditional WAN solutions use MPLS to assign preference and timelines for delivery of traffic and they usually leverage internet-based backup as a secondary transport should the designated path be unavailable. A traditional WAN may hinder growth and agility needs. For example failover is dependent on the state of the link which may be up or down and this can lead to outages and dropped video or phone calls. Configuration is distributed across each individual router making changes difficult to manage. New sites can take a long time to set up due to the complexities of the network.

How does an SD WAN work?

An SD WAN is designed to securely support applications in the cloud, on premise and SaaS services whilst delivering a high level of performance. An SD WAN delivers application aware routing across the WAN that is managed and administered from a centralised point. With single pane of glass management, policies can be set and maintained centrally and then pushed out across each SD WAN node. This hands off configuration makes it much quicker and easier to administer. Once the policy is set links are intelligently monitored and traffic is routed accordingly.

Why would you need an SD WAN?

Nowadays enterprises are using cloud and SaaS applications more frequently. A traditional WAN does not support a cloud first model as all traffic, including that destined for the cloud, is diverted from branches to the HQ resulting in lagging and poor performance. Traditional WANs are no longer meeting the needs of today’s modern digital business, that coupled with easier administration and lower capital expenditure makes SD WAN a more attractive solution. IT teams can quickly and easily define rules to prioritise the most important network traffic, such as voice and critical applications. SD Wan also allows new sites to be added to the network very easily.

IT engineer working in comms room

The Benefits of SD WAN

  • Lower Networking Capital Expenditure
  • Improved Application Performance
  • Enhanced Agility and Responsiveness
  • Advanced Control
  • Robust Security

What business is suited to SD WAN

SD WAN adoption is seeing significant growth across sectors and company size. Any business accessing cloud services would benefit but especially those with distributed locations, individuals and devices. Financial Services, Retail and Education sectors are seeing an uptake in SD WAN deployments as they increasingly need cloud services to function. Other needs such as secure networks to process sensitive financial information, fast and reliable access to databases to service customers, the ability to prioritise traffic and applications, lower costs and higher bandwidth makes SD WAN an attractive solution.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN delivers true Security-Driven Networking

Our partner Fortinet have been named a leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SD WAN Infrastructure. FortiGate SD-WAN tackles the most difficult challenges of secure SD-WAN deployment and was the only Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) security vendor to receive a “Recommended” rating in NSS Labs’ first-ever software-defined wide area networking report.

HCS are an expert IT Services, IT Support and Managed IT company delivering outsourced IT Services to businesses across Ireland. We also specialise in Power Platform and SharePoint development.


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