There are a boatload of acronyms when it comes to networking – MPLS, LAN, WAN, SIP, VoIP, to name a few. For the non-expert, it can all be overwhelming; All that matters to you is that your network works, you aren’t dropping calls, and your data is flowing smoothly. But, there’s a new acronym coming out and we want you to know about it. Here is a primer in the revolutionary model of SD-WAN.
Let’s start at the beginning. Your office likely uses a LAN (Local Area Network), an internal computer network that links devices in a building, or several buildings in a close geographic area. Now, if you have multiple locations, you have a WAN (Wide Area Network) that connects all of your LANs using a private or public transmission system, generally a subscription based service via a telecom provider.
WANs can connect using wired and wireless service, like MPLS, T1s, commercial broadband internet, cellular data networks and Wi-Fi. These services can operate over a dedicated, private connection (backed by an SLA) or over a shared, public connection like the internet. Most WANs use a hybrid of these services, both public and private, but latency and bandwidth restraints can cause network performance issues. Enter SD-WAN (Software-Defined WAN).
That was all pretty technical, so let’s simplify it. The goal of SD-WAN is to eliminate the need for expensive private WAN systems like MPLS. As more offices shift work to the cloud, all these dedicated private lines start to feel unnecessary. It is also simplifying the entire data transfer process, adding redundancy, and improving performance. SD-WAN is dynamically shifting traffic across multiple links based on link quality. So it can save you money and make your network work better. That is a good thing!