Software-defined wide area networking allows digital device users located in dispersed locations to connect to each other and to the organization cloud resources. In effect, an organization has a single cross border network with centralized control. SD-WAN leverages underlying network infrastructure in a way that enables a collection of networks to operate as a single, unified network.
After multiprotocol label switching became commercially available, WAN speeds approached the 1Gbps mark. In an effort to consolidate IT resources, organizations deployed a hub and spoke topology model for branch office connectivity to the headquarters (HQ) site. Each branch office could be connected to HQ via a reliable and secure MPLS link. Thus, HQ was the nerve centre and provided all the services to each branch office, including Internet. The main impediment to widespread adoption of MPLS has been the cost. Moreover, under the hub and spoke topology, the hub (HQ) became a single point of failure and failure of a MPLS link created a blackout condition for the corresponding branch location.
With the advent of SD-WAN, each branch office could have direct access to HQ, other branch office and cloud services via inexpensive Internet broadband connections. Unlike the hub and spoke topology, SD-WAN allows each branch to access the Internet, other branch offices and cloud services independent of the HQ facility. With the multi-ISP capability, SD-WAN represents a fault tolerant approach. Most notably, performance, reliability and security have been preserved with SD-WAN. Even more benefits may be derived by incorporating SD-WAN over MPLS.
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