What Is SD-WAN and How Does It Work?

Linking,entities.,networking,,social,media,,sns,,internet,communication,abstract.,smallWhat Is SD-WAN and How Does It Work?

Technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate. With numerous advancements being made in technological infrastructure, it has become increasingly important for firms to keep up and remain abreast with the latest developments in the industry. One of such amazing advancements is the software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN).

In the past, organizations would typically rely on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to connect all of its locations. However, with the growth in cloud services, datacenter consolidations, and the adoption of a mobile workforce, traditional WAN architecture fails to efficiently support the agility, app performance, and cost demands of the digital business. This is where SD-WAN comes in.

What Is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that allows businesses to connect multiple locations or branches over a secured network infrastructure. It is a software-defined network that provides dynamic routing capabilities, meaning it ensures that data is sent through the best available path at any particular time. Essentially, this means that it uses connectivity through various communication platforms (DSL, 4G, 5G, broadband) to ensure that each location has the best performance.

How Does SD-WAN Work?

SD-WAN technology leverages a centralized control function to intelligently direct traffic across the WAN while improving application performance and user experience. Here is an overview of how an SD-WAN works:

1.Edge Devices

All edge devices are connected to each other through SD-WAN devices, usually referred to as gateways. These gateways are responsible for ensuring that traffic is securely routed between the different branch offices. They can also be used to configure policy enforcement that will control how different types of traffic enter or leave each branch office.

2.Centralized Management

All of the edge devices are managed centrally, meaning that the network administrator can control traffic flow and direct it to the best possible path without having to be physically present at the location. The SD-WAN’s centralized control and management systems provide visibility for the entire WAN.

3.Application Optimization and Routing

SD-WAN provides application optimization through a range of features like quality of Service (QoS), WAN optimization (WANOP), security, and routing. This ensures that the system prioritizes the most important applications, controlling bandwidth consumption, and directing traffic based on network and application policies.

4. Dynamic Path Selection

The SD-WAN technology ensures that different paths can be selected dynamically to achieve the best possible performance. It uses multiple types of connections to provide efficient bandwidth utilization and automatic failover to ensure that the network remains up and running.

Benefits of SD-WAN

SD-WAN is not just a trendy buzzword. It provides real benefits to both the end-users, and the IT teams that manage their networks. Here are a few of these benefits:

1. Cost Efficiency

SD-WAN reduces the costs of WAN connectivity significantly. It eliminates costly MPLS connections and other expensive leased lines, instead utilizing less expensive broadband or internet circuits. Additionally, SD-WAN streamlines the ability to manage and optimize traffic flow, reducing operational expenses.

2. Superior Performance

SD-WAN provides superior connectivity, ensuring that applications always operate at their maximum. It controls and manages bandwidth by prioritizing important applications and routing traffic automatically. Its dynamic path selection ensures that traffic is routed through the best possible path to ensure optimal performance.

3. Scalability

SD-WAN is easily scalable. It establishes an easily manageable network architecture for multiple branch offices, and its unique centralized system allows for efficient and rapid deployment of new branches or locations.

4. Security

SD-WAN technology has various security protocols in place to ensure that data remains secure while it transits through the network. These include IPSec encryption, WAN optimization, packet inspection, and content filtering.

5. Simplified Network Management

SD-WAN reduces the complexity of network management by streamlining network architecture. Leveraging SD-WAN delivers an interface that provides a single pane of glass into the entire network, making end-to-end network visibility and management easier.

6. Flexible Deployment

SD-WAN is well-suited for a myriad of deployment environments. It can be hosted in-house or use an external provider’s infrastructure. Additionally, SD-WAN is a highly flexible technology, and there are a range of deployment options to meet the specific business needs.


SD-WAN is an innovative technology that provides low-cost, secure, and efficient connectivity between scattered locations. The use of software-defined networking control and management options will continue to grow, as businesses strive to meet the ever-increasing demands of digital business. Agility, cloud infrastructure, enhanced security, superior performance, and simplified managed are all driving forces behind SD-WAN’s widespread adoption.