SD-WAN vs. SDN: What’s the Difference?

Are you able to quickly and safely send important information to branch offices around the world? If not, SD-WAN might be the option for you. Learn about SD-WAN vs. SDN to determine which network is best for your business.

What Is SDN?

SDN, software-defined networking, supports the modern computing needs of land area networks (LANs). This network type uses software-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to communicate with hardware infrastructure and manage network traffic. SDN is relatively flexible within a local network. It operates with central control/management.

This network is versatile within its geographical limits, and you can use it to:

  • Scale data center operations
  • Secure IoT infrastructure
  • Develop intent-based networking
  • Deploying and managing network applications

Notable SDN Features

SDN has three main features that help enhance connectivity and simplify communications:

  • Centralized management: You can manage many aspects of your network without leaving your desk or office because there are no hardware-based interfaces. If there’s an issue within your SDN, you can solve it without leaving your computer since your network is virtualized.
  • Virtualization: This feature allows you to control your network’s elements virtually instead of through hardware. You can control various networks and their parameters in many different ways because of SDN’s virtual platform.
  • Programmable and customizable network behavior: You can program provisioning resources and network bandwidth with SDN.

The Difference Between SDN and SD-WAN

SD-WAN, software-defined wide area network, has a different network infrastructure than traditional networks like SDN.


Stemming from similar central ideas, SD-WAN and SDN control networks using software and enhanced virtualization. SDN delivers to local-area networks, whereas SD-WAN delivers to wide-area networks.

SD-WAN connects multiple locations, so they can securely send sensitive data back and forth. These networks are built to support WANs that spread across multiple, far-apart, geographical areas. It connects branch offices, data centers, and cloud software to maximize efficiency, secure endpoints, and encrypt traveling information.

SDN can only reach so far since it operates with a local-area network. SD-WAN makes much more sense for your business if you have remote employees spread across the state, country, or globe.

What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN?

SD-WAN has become the people’s choice of network management—but why? This network option comes with significant benefits, including:

Heightened Cybersecurity

Anything sent or received through SD-WANs is encrypted, making it difficult for unauthorized users to access it. This network also secures all endpoints of data transfers and includes basic firewalls and VPN functionalities.

Reduced Networking Costs

You cut costs on your networking infrastructure without the need for hardware and servers. SD-WAN replaces other, more expensive connection types like MPLS. Plus, SD-WAN increases your cybersecurity measures, making costly data breaches less likely.


Your business can change the size of a wide-area network as traffic volumes increase or decrease. This network is incredibly customizable, which is excellent for companies with large volumes of virtual traffic.

Improved Efficiency

You can program SD-WAN to prioritize specific types of traffic. This means your data gets sent and received much faster. Set up your SD-WAN to send business-critical traffic through the most efficient route since it’s important to your daily operations. Receiving data in a timely manner helps your staff stay on task and keeps things flowing smoothly. 

Cloud Usage

SD-WAN operates using cloud platforms, eliminating the need for expensive servers and infrastructure hardware. Cloud access also eliminates backhauling traffic by routing all cloud and branch traffic through the data center. Your employees can directly access cloud applications, no matter where they’re located, without interrupting the core network with more traffic. SD-WAN also improves cloud application performance by prioritizing business-critical data and allowing businesses to communicate via the Internet easily.

Need Help Deciding Between SD-WAN vs. SDN?

Let the IT experts at Meriplex help. We understand the complexities and benefits of SD-WAN and can customize your network to mirror the scale of your business. Say goodbye to unreliable application performance and poor connectivity and hello to:

  • Integrated cloud-based security solutions
  • Superior network performance
  • Enhanced network visibility and control
  • Fully leveraged cloud connectivity
  • Reduced costs compared to in-house staffing or MPLS networks
  • Increased bandwidth capacity

Contact us today to implement SD-WAN and improve your network performance.