The corporate Wide Area Network (WAN) connects an organization’s dispersed branch offices, central data center, cloud-based infrastructure, and remote workforce. Companies that have traditionally relied on conventional WAN architectures are now exploring alternative connectivity solutions such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN).
Traditional WAN versus SD-WAN: Which of these options aligns better with the demands of modern organizations?
Traditional WAN Overview
Key Features and Benefits
- Hardware-centric: Routers connect remote sites.
- Manual Configuration: Offers precise policy control but adds complexity and potential errors.
- Security: Dedicated lines ensure privacy.
- Reliability: Higher than public internet routing.
- Control: Complete network control for traffic prioritization.
Limitations of Traditional WAN
- Cost: Expensive MPLS with bandwidth limits.
- Agility: Manual changes hinder adaptability.
- Scalability: Hardware-dependent and slow to expand.
- Complexity: Demands specialized skills.
- Cloud Support: Backhauls cloud traffic, causing latency issues.
SD-WAN is best defined by 1) Routing traffic at the software level, and 2) SD-WAN appliances’ ability to aggregate multiple network connections for improved performance and resiliency.
Key Features and Benefits
- Software Overlay: SD-WAN uses software routing over cost-effective public internet.
- Simplified Management: Centralized control for networking, security, and monitoring.
- Increased Bandwidth: Utilizes broadband for optimal performance.
- Cost Savings: Eliminates the need for dedicated connections, saving money.
- Flexibility: Software-defined architecture for easy configuration.
- Scalability: Quickly adapts bandwidth to business needs.
- Software-Based Management: Streamlined tasks through automation.
- Cloud Support: Direct cloud connectivity reduces latency.
Limitations of SD-WAN
- Reliability and Performance: Public internet reliance can lead to unpredictable performance.
- Security: Basic security requires additional hardware for advanced threats.
Traditional WAN vs. SD-WAN: The Verdict
Both options connect locations, handle various traffic types, and use traffic prioritization policies to optimize the performance and security of the network. That said, legacy WANs don’t offer the same benefits as SD-WAN. A properly designed and implemented SD-WAN can offer the same reliability and performance guarantees as a traditional WAN while reducing the cost and overhead associated with managing it. SD-WAN offers greater flexibility and scalability than traditional WANs, enabling it to adapt more quickly and cost-effectively to an organization’s evolving needs.
Ready to evolve your business’s Traditional WAN for SD-WAN? Contact us at Access Tech to start or continue your SD-WAN journey. We have been helping customers for over 12 years to connect their business strategy with IT solutions.