What to Know Before Implementing SD-WAN

Software-defined wide area networks, more commonly referred to as SD-WANs, are practical solutions for managing traffic and bandwidth for modern enterprises. These software-driven networking solutions offer real benefits for companies in handling routing, ensuring connectivity, and improving application performance in the working environment. Knowing what to expect when implementing an SD-WAN network can allow you to enjoy these benefits while ensuring that critical applications and processes are available and functional for your staff members. This article will detail what you need to know before implementing SD-WAN.


May 25, 2023

What is SD-WAN?

Conventional networking models use routers and TCP/IP addresses to direct network traffic to the appropriate endpoints. Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is an improvement in this process and uses labels rather than network addresses to forward traffic on wide area networks. Both of these options require constant real-time monitoring by your IT team to ensure the best user experience for your customers.

By contrast, a software-defined wide area network uses advanced algorithms and centralized control functionality to direct network traffic to the intended destinations. These networking solutions are designed to reduce latency and optimize the use of bandwidth to ensure the highest quality of service for your staff members and your customers.

Deciding on a software-defined wide area network implementation can allow your business to manage and monitor network traffic much more effectively. Keeping a few key points in mind when planning this change to your network infrastructure can ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible for you and your business operations.

Preparing for Your SD-WAN Implementation

The specific process needed to upgrade to a software-defined wide area network configuration will depend on the existing network infrastructure and the resources you have at your disposal. In many cases, working with a managed service provider can take some pressure off your IT team and can allow you to access the expertise necessary for SD-WAN development. Here are some key points to keep in mind when planning your SD-WAN deployment:

  • Identify your network requirements: Understanding the business needs of your company in terms of network security, provisioning, traffic and access to apps can allow you to design an SD-WAN solution that will meet those needs and provide you with the network performance and traffic management tools you need to succeed in the competitive marketplace.
  • Take an inventory of endpoints and site requirements: Optimization of your SD-WAN solution requires an in-depth look at each of the end users and applications necessary to your corporate operations. By evaluating how your networks and bandwidth are used within your organization, you can tailor your networking solution to the needs of your staff and your customers.
  • Evaluate your risk tolerance: While network security is an important element in your implementation, it is not the only source of risk during SD-WAN development activities. Downtime and loss of access to critical applications are also possible pain points during the process. By taking these risks into account and determining your organization’s tolerance for various risks, you can achieve a higher degree of success in this process.
  • Decide on your implementation process: Whether you intend to use your in-house IT team or to outsource your SD-WAN development plan to an expert in the field, you will need to create a game plan for your implementation. In most cases, working with a service provider that specializes in cybersecurity and SD-WAN solutions can make the process easier for you and your organization.
  • Understand your cybersecurity requirements: Maintaining your network security is essential. Understanding how your VPN, firewall, and cloud-based apps and data will be protected should be part of your planning process. If you decide to work with a managed service provider, making sure that cybersecurity is part of the planning process will allow you to enjoy greater peace of mind throughout your implementation.

For most companies, working with a company that specializes in these types of implementations can make it much easier to enjoy the benefits of a customized software-defined wide area network system.

The Benefits of SD-WAN

Upgrading to SD-WAN from a traditional WAN or other networking options can reduce the workload of your IT team while providing outstanding network security. These systems work with your VPN and firewall to improve the quality of service and the response times for applications for your team members as well as your customers.

  • Scalable solutions make it easy to accommodate varying degrees of network traffic and ensure enough bandwidth for all your corporate activities. This can allow your network to grow with your company and can provide you with added flexibility in managing bandwidth, monitoring packet loss, and ensuring that your staff and customers can access the data and apps they need to achieve their goals.
  • Because SD-WAN solutions are designed to overlay physical networks, they make it easier to implement secure access service edge (SASE) technologies. SASE is designed to bring together networking and security for physical servers and networks as well as cloud-based apps and storage.
  • Your SD-WAN solution can streamline the management process for cloud and physical data, servers, and applications. These software-driven networking solutions also reduce latency, which is a major factor in determining user experience.
  • Improved application performance and improved user experiences can make SD-WAN implementations a practical choice for your business. By entrusting your implementation to an established managed service provider, you can fine-tune your SD-WAN solution to suit your needs now and for the future of your company.
  • SD-WAN technology provides a path to lower costs for businesses by optimizing bandwidth usage, utilizing cost-effective internet connections, centralizing network management, reducing the need for on-site IT staff, and leveraging a mix of network transports, thus eliminating the need for costly dedicated links and improving operational efficiency.

Why Working with a Managed Service Provider Makes Sense

Enlisting the help of a company that offers SD-WAN solutions on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis can often reduce the risks and the pain points associated with implementing these advanced systems. Engaging in DIY implementations can put your data and your ongoing operations at serious risk. If your IT team does not have significant expertise in SD-WAN development and implementation, working with a reliable service provider can make it much easier for your business to achieve your goals and manage your network traffic effectively.

The Right SD-WAN Solutions From Meriplex

At Meriplex, we offer practical solutions to help your business stay competitive in the modern marketplace. To learn more about our SD-WAN options and how they can help you, contact Meriplex today to set up a consultation with our team. As a SD-WAN vendor, we are here to provide the best managed SD-WAN services for your company now and when you need us in the future.