Selecting a wide-area network (WAN) for your organization can help you communicate and share data more efficiently. However, not all WANs are the same. The two main types are Traditional WAN and SD-WAN; but how do you decide which is best for your company?
When choosing a WAN solution, you need to see which has the features and functions that will best meet your needs.
How Traditional WAN Works
In the past, Traditional WAN has been the go-to solution for data, voice, and IT infrastructure. Traditional WAN solutions connect multiple local area networks (LANs) through virtual private networks (VPNs). Traditional WAN relies on dedicated (and pricey) multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) circuits for traffic flow. This way, you can prioritize your data, voice, and video traffic on your network. Traditional WAN also has an internet-based backup if your primary path becomes unavailable.
Traditional WAN Challenges
In our current cloud-centric world, businesses are using SaaS/IaaS applications at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, Traditional WAN solutions find it hard to keep up with the explosion of WAN traffic. For that reason, it can cause data vulnerability, create management difficulties (because of its complex infrastructure), and as a result, your application performance can suffer. For example, if you are using SaaS applications in multiple clouds, you could inadvertently be exposing yourself to risks and compliance issues.
In a Traditional WAN set-up, you’ll have multiple devices stacked in your branch offices. This creates a siloed management effect with different WAN links trying to connect everything. With Traditional WAN, calling logistics require extensive planning. Plus, your costs will add up if you are looking to add branch offices or remote locations. Every location will require the purchase of additional hardware.
How SD-WAN Works
SD-WAN is an overlay on your existing network. It is comprised of multiple links from various service providers to create a unified pool of bandwidth – all through a single interface. Network traffic is distributed across WAN and then utilizes SDN to determine the optimal way to route it. SD-WAN can work with or replace MPLS, and it is delivered directly (by carriers) or through Management Service Providers.
Traditional WAN’s networks are housed locally on routers, and traffic becomes back-hauled through data centers (thus incurring performance penalties). Whereas, SD-WAN simplifies your network and management through its software-defined approach. It provides flexibility, creates applications prioritization, and increases your security through its real-time traffic monitoring.
With SD-WAN, even when traffic is going to your cloud applications, enterprise-grade performance is still assured. For example, when you use various applications at the same time, SD-WAN knows when and where to shift traffic links. This way, you have adequate bandwidth to support each of their requirements.
SD-WAN is also more cost-efficient than Traditional WAN. With SD-WAN, you can reduce your reliance on expensive, leased MPLS circuits. SD-WAN allows you to increase your flexibility and control because all your offices can be connected to a central network based in the cloud. Better yet, you can “pay-as-you-grow” since SD-WAN is a subscription-based model that is designed to meet the needs of growing companies. SD-WAN’s internet and cloud-based solutions offer features and benefits that Traditional WAN is unable to provide. For that reason, it is the preferred choice of companies looking to make the switch from MPLS. If you have any questions about Traditional WAN and SD-WAN or are interested in a free comparison of your service options, please contact us today.