How SD-WAN Compares to Traditional WAN
Have you been thinking about moving your office connectivity to SD-WAN? There are a lot of good reasons to make the switch. But there are some challenges involved as well. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of SD-WAN and traditional WAN to help you decide what’s best for your company.
Overall, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) lets you network a lot faster than traditional WAN, and it’s typically less expensive. If you continue to rely on a traditional configuration, you may run into capacity and flexibility problems, especially if you manage connectivity at a multi-location business. If you need to connect offices over a wide area, SD-WAN is usually the best solution.
How traditional WAN works
Traditional WAN connects local area networks (LAN) together, giving businesses and homes access to the internet. It relies on circuit-switched phone lines, radio wave transmissions, optic fiber technologies, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), and ethernet connections to transport data through telecom networks. Everything depends on access to adequate physical infrastructure. If you need to increase your bandwidth above existing capacities, you’ll need to get your prodiver to come and install some new equipment.
The advantages & disadvantages of WAN
We’ve all used WAN for decades to carry out business functions and communicate with friends and family. It’s brought us:
- Incredible speed, bandwidth, and good uptime
- Connectivity across broad geographical areas
- Private connections with enhanced security
- Competitive carrier leasing options
- Continuous technological improvements to further increase speeds and reliability
But we’re fast approaching the limits of traditional WAN
If current trends continue, the modern business will begin to encounter problems. There are several reasons for this:
- Application traffic is increasing, approaching the limits of existing connections
- Companies are growing beyond the boundaries of traditional carriers, so they have to sign up with multiple providers
- It’s complicated to set up new capacity, and it’s risky if you don’t know your business needs 3, 5, or 10 years into the future
- Maintenance requirements are often beyond the scope of IT staff expertise
WAN has been an amazing solution for doing business across multiple locations, but as businesses evolve and new technology opportunities surface, decision makers need to look at all the options for efficient and reliable connectivity.
How SD-WAN works
With SD-WAN, you can expect a simplified process for the operation and management of your connection. Networking hardware is virtualized, which reduces the capital cost requirements of additional bandwidth and the operational requirements of managing and maintaining networking equipment. SD-WAN has been proven to provide higher performance at lower connectivity costs.
The advantages & disadvantages of SD-WAN
SD-WAN is a particularly attractive option for multi-location businesses. These companies need the flexibility to adjust bandwidth across locations and the scalability to add new connections as they grow. But other types of companies will see benefits too. Whether or not the switch is the right decision will depend on your unique situation.
Here’s a summary of the top advantages of SD-WAN:
- Lower cost, higher performance, and greater reliability than traditional WAN
- Compatible with existing connectivity technology (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, LTE, MPLS, etc.)
- Replaces expensive private WAN technology with single-source security
- Centralized traffic control that you can adjust to your needs
- Automated device management and access to cloud-based applications
But as with anything, there are some drawbacks:
- Technical challenges in integrating legacy systems could be a barrier for some companies
- Companies that use traditional phones and don’t expect their bandwidth requirements to grow may not benefit from SD-WAN
- Troubleshooting could be a challenge if your provider isn’t responsive
A migration to SD-WAN generally comes with an increase in service offerings and benefits for employee productivity. But you should always evaluate and forecast your business requirements before jumping on board. Chances are that if you expect your communications needs to grow, future-proofing your company by switching to SD-WAN will be the right choice.
The transition to SD-WAN
Leading IT research firm Gartner sees SD-WAN technology powering 30% of all enterprises by 2019. Many companies in every industry are already considering the switch. For multi-location businesses, SD-WAN is almost always a better solution than traditional WAN. And when you select a carrier that uses the latest technology combined with the right level of service experience, the transition can be completely seamless.
At BullsEye Telecom, we specialize in connectivity solutions for multi-location businesses. We’ll help you make the transition to single provider, so you can connect all of your locations to a unified network. We’ll even show you how to adjust your bandwidth requirements at each location on the fly. And when you need to add a location, the setup process is quick and easy.
We’re confident that you’ll experience a better quality connection and faster speeds, and as a result will see an improvement to your overall productivity. But you’ll also put your company in the right position to implement all sorts of enhanced communication services like VoIP, unified communications, and other cloud-based services.