The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a technology for configuring and implementing an enterprise WAN, based on software-defined networking (SDN), to effectively route traffic to remote locations such as branch offices. SD-WAN technology derives significant flexibility and agility benefits from removing the burden of traffic management from physical devices and transferring it to software, the essence of SDN.
SD-WAN technology implementation varies from vendor to vendor, but a primary feature of SD-WAN is that it lets customers create a single network infrastructure that includes many connection types, such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), broadband, or wireless LTE.
Customers can take advantage of this technology to rely less on expensive, private MPLS connections and use cheaper, public connections for less sensitive data. SD-WAN technology also lets businesses switch transports, the cable or wireless infrastructure connecting the branch office and data centres, and mix and match them based on bandwidth availability, and quickly and easily spin up new connections to remote locations.
SD-WAN technology does require an initial tech investment, but the long-term savings potential inherent in the investment is high, particularly over time.