Simplifying SD-WAN Technology- What it Means and How it Works

SD-WAN offers multiple critical enterprise use cases. It improves application performance and provides direct cloud connectivity to simplify hybrid and multi-cloud initiatives.

It reduces costs by replacing MPLS links with lower-cost broadband Internet and combining links with link bonding. It also secures connections by encrypting traffic and tightly integrating with security functions.


SD-WAN technology can scale to support your organization’s growth. The software-based solution runs “on top” of your existing hardware network. It provides centralized control over the environment using a cloud-based controller. Unlike traditional routers, which require on-site technicians to install hardware, the scalability of an SD-WAN allows IT to manage your network remotely.

This scalability is possible because SD-WAN uses overlay networking to create a virtual network over underlying connectivity, including MPLS links. Data travels over multiple paths, boosting application performance, increasing reliability, and cutting costs. SD-WAN lets you send low-priority data over cheaper public internet connections while reserving private links for mission-critical and latency-sensitive applications.

A scalable SD-WAN can help you avoid costly outages and improve productivity. It can reduce the IT resources you need to deploy at each site and improve data transfer speeds. It can also enable you to use more affordable broadband connections and enhance security with advanced features such as a next-generation firewall.

To maximize the scalability of your SD-WAN, look for a solution with a single software stack that includes both networking and security functions with streamlined service chaining architecture. This will allow you to deploy the system quickly as your company grows. For example, SD-WAN systems have a single software stack that can optimize performance through a native service chaining architecture.


Unlike traditional routers, which use TCP/IP addresses and access control lists to direct data, SD-WAN technology uses real-time information to route traffic to the best available path. This eliminates costly backhauling, cuts WAN bandwidth costs, and increases reliability. Administrators can use a centralized management interface to manage firewalls, routers, virtual private networks (VPN), and remote clients through an automated process. This reduces labor costs and ensures that business applications stay online.

Now, what does SD-WAN stand for? A software-defined method of WAN management is SD-WAN.  Inconsistent security posture and policy administration, subpar network performance, and private backhaul connectivity services are the areas that typically need improvement. All of which prevent the adoption of low-risk cloud applications and other digital transformation projects.

An intelligent security platform combines SD-WAN, advanced routing, and next-generation firewall capabilities to simplify network architecture and accelerate application performance. This approach helps organizations improve multi-cloud application performance with dynamic routing, WAN optimization, and application identification and steering. It also supports secure connectivity with a wide range of network and cloud services and enables IT teams to reduce operational costs through automation, self-healing and deep analytics.

An SD-WAN solution creates a virtual overlay that abstracts underlying MPLS, internet broadband, fiber, or LTE connections and centralizes network control to enable load balancing, resiliency, application traffic management, and more. This allows IT staff to program network edge devices with low or zero-touch provisioning and minimizes manually configuring routers in branch offices. This eliminates the need for complex and expensive IT infrastructure, reduces Capex and Opex, and enhances branch security. It also helps teams prioritize application traffic and deliver a more consistent user experience.

Real-time path selection

Traditional WANs can limit productivity, especially for small business owners needing help to afford bandwidth-intensive solutions. Backhauling traffic from branch offices to data centers for detailed security inspection introduces latency and hinders performance. SD-WAN technology offers an alternative approach to this challenge, delivering significant application performance improvements and business cost reductions.

A business-driven SD-WAN combines programmable network devices with dynamic best-path routing to manage applications and improve network performance. This technology enables IT professionals to centrally program network edge devices with policies for application performance, and it uses a virtual overlay to connect multiple locations over private or public network connections, such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), Internet broadband, leased lines, or wireless or LTE links.

With a business-driven SD-WAN, traffic is prioritized for applications with high-performance requirements, such as cloud apps and VoIP calls. This allows for a better experience for employees working remotely from home or while traveling on business, and it helps to ensure that critical apps are always available.

Moreover, this technology can provide real-time path selection by applying policies to available network resources. It also uses software to analyze the quality of each open path and selects the best one to deliver optimal application performance. This reduces the time IT specialists spend troubleshooting and responding to network issues.

Machine learning

SD-WANs leverage the power of machine learning to identify application traffic and decide where it goes. The technology enables IT teams to automatically route data based on business priorities, which improves overall performance and helps ensure the proper application is getting the most out of the bandwidth available. It also identifies the best path to send data to and from the cloud.

The technology also enables organizations to reduce Capex and Opex with an SD-WAN that provides integrated security and network management capabilities, such as an enterprise firewall, an advanced threat intelligence system, a secure web gateway, and more. This eliminates the need for separate and often complex network devices, which can be challenging to maintain and update. It can also reduce the time needed to deploy and update new hardware.

An SD-WAN with configuration templates automates many tedious and error-prone network configuration tasks, improving productivity and eliminating mistakes that can degrade performance or leave the network vulnerable to attack. The SD-WAN also enables enterprises to reduce Internet and branch cyber threats with zero trust security, which verifies the identity of any device or user before allowing access to private resources. This helps mitigate risks typically associated with remote work and the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace. It can also help organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements, including GDPR and PCI.