SD-WAN Branch Connectivity
In these new, unfamiliar trading conditions, there’s been a marked increase in mobile/web-based, voice and video applications to improve the collaboration and productivity of a dispersed, remote workforce. While COVID-19 has accelerated this over the last couple of months, the demand for an increase in productivity, performance, and visibility of the WAN has been growing for some time.
In addition to these applications, cloud, IoT, big data, video, and mobility trends are creating demand for bandwidth and capacity, putting pressure on the network.
Encrypted traffic, insider threats, and an increase in non-IT threat entry points are challenging traditional, perimeter-based security controls. The consequences of an unsecure network can be far-reaching and damaging to any organization.
Businesses are having to change and adapt at a rapid pace with the proliferation of applications and devices available to end-users. Whether they are using recreational or business-critical applications, the increasing demand for high-bandwidth streaming applications and cloud-based services could outpace most traditional WAN strategies.
Additionally, IT departments are under pressure to manage more sites and more users without sacrificing performance and security—all while managing the increasing pressure of reducing IT spend and maximizing performance. As a result, businesses are searching for alternatives for their enterprise WAN architecture.
Enterprises currently have multiple VPN MPLS infrastructures to supply interoffice and internet connectivity. There’s need for a solution to simplify and standardize the estate under one architecture and to do a Network refresh to provision sufficient bandwidth and utilize it to the fullest. SD-WAN offers an agile network solution that encompasses universal edge devices, virtual network functionality, and overlay technologies underpinned by industry leading carrier management services. Some features and benefits of the solution include:
Standardize office topology and configuration
● Active/active – increased network availability and performance
● Prioritize application steering
● Central management
● Monitoring = single view/visibility
● Increased bandwidth at lower monthly cost
● Local breakout
● Redundancy and diversity
● Digital/Cloud strategy aligned
● Update legacy infrastructure (routers)
● Simple troubleshooting and support processes
● Enable growth/easier expansion possibilities.
Enterprise’s legacy branch network has predominantly been based on an MPLS network architecture over a variety of last mile mediums. Although broadband is deployed at some of the branches for WiFi Internet connectivity, this is not commonly used for corporate traffic.
Due to the shortfalls associated with MPLS networks, such as high costs, being difficult to customize, and not being designed for the cloud, alternative, attractively priced methods of connectivity utilizing the Internet, are now being proposed to increase client experience through a range of new cost-effective WAN services.
Given the differences in the size of the branches, their locations, and taking into consideration the current bandwidth utilized, a modern network based on Internet connectivity and SD-WAN technology with each site grouped into a classification dependent on number of users, bandwidth, and cost is required.
An SD-WAN solution can achieve the desired outcome by providing a modern network that,
● Is more cost effective
● Improves visibility of real time network performance and analytics
● Provides sufficient capacity for business and non-business traffic
● Provides a solution that offers an Application Delivery network performance Service Level Agreement
● Improves security with features such as
○ Stateful firewalling capability at the branch
○ Ability to encrypt traffic over Internet links
○ Connect encrypted Internet links to Cloud-based SASE solution to provide additional security capabilities for Branch and Mobile users, such as Secure Web Gateway, Cloud-Based Firewall, URL Filtering, CASB and many other cloud-based security features
● Provides real-time information for failure correlation (Incident Management)
● Provides enhanced capacity and forecast planning through intelligent data
● Provides the ability to breakout to the Internet locally from the branch in a secure manner
● Provides the ability to undertake Application Delivery Performance Monitoring
● Provides dynamic traffic engineering capability across multiple paths as defined by application policy, link capability, and / or degradation at the transport or application layer
● Provides a single pane of glass for management and reporting
● Provides a highly resilient Wide Area Network environment
Enterprises should implement the capabilities that are available with modern network technologies such as SD-WAN and Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) connectivity.
The business case for this is that modern applications demand more bandwidth, driven by adoption of internet-based services along with increased use of rich media, video, and real-time collaboration applications. SD-WAN allows enterprises to augment or replace expensive, bandwidth constrained MPLS circuits with affordable, higher-capacity Internet broadband circuits.
The Modern Network provides the following benefits to Enterprises:
- Approximately 25% monthly cost savings while doubling the bandwidth provided by MPLS.
- Diverse Active-Active Internet connectivity therefore improves performance and Uptime
- Increased Network Visibility and security
- IT Productivity Gains
- Multi-Domain Architecture supporting Intent Based Networking