Traditional WANs have become the go-to platform for data networking, voice, and IT infrastructure. They use a hybrid of leased and public lines and Virtual Private Networks or MPLS routers for security.
However, they have their limitations. These limitations include security issues and management difficulties.
As business trends and technological advancements push digital production boundaries, organizations rely on network-centric computing to power efficient and quality output. This means that a solid and reliable WAN connection is a critical part of delivering quality service to employees across the globe.
Traditionally, WANs incorporated hard-wired connections to route IP services. These connections typically included a variety of layers of the underlying hardware that required heavy planning, logistics, and expertise to install.
This was a time-consuming and expensive process. Additionally, it introduced additional delays and costs when a network provider had to re-provision the line at a new location.
However, these issues can be easily solved using a modern software-defined WAN like those provided by Versa Networks. By utilizing flexible WAN connectivity options, SD-WANs offer lower costs and bandwidth efficiency.
Another significant advantage of an SD-WAN is that it allows clients to scale their WAN connection plans based on actual demand. For example, if the number of employees increases, the WAN can be scaled up to support a surge in traffic without needing to improve the physical capacity at each site.
Also, the centralized configuration of the WAN reduces the amount of “configuration drift” between branch offices, making it easier to add new application services without negatively impacting existing services. These benefits make SD-WANs an attractive solution for many enterprises.
Traditional WANs must be more secure as the business moves beyond the enterprise to the cloud. The explosion of WAN traffic caused by cloud adoption has introduced management complexity, unpredictability in application performance, and data vulnerability.
Network topologies have changed because cloud computing disperses applications and data to end devices rather than converging around a single hub and spoke network design. This requires a new approach to network connectivity and is driving the need for Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN).
A centralized bandwidth pool from multiple service providers, SD-WAN uses the internet for branch-to-branch interconnectivity with significant application performance, especially for mission-critical apps, while providing consistent security across various locations. It also simplifies WAN operations, lowers costs, and provides a seamless on-ramp to the cloud.
Another critical factor limiting the scaleability of traditional WANs is the number of hardware devices required to support them. This makes it difficult to expand or restructure the WAN as branch offices, or remote locations require additional equipment, which often adds cost to the business.
The solution is SD-WAN, which combines the functionality of traditional WAN technologies with broadband internet and software-defined networking (SDN). This software-driven technology lets you control WAN traffic, prioritize data, and connect multiple networks from a central console.
Network traffic has increased as organizations have moved their data to the cloud. This requires that network managers monitor, control, and prioritize all incoming traffic as it moves across the network.
In the past, this was a very challenging task for traditional WANs to manage. It required a lot of planning, logistics, and machinery to monitor incoming traffic and make real-time changes.
Another problem with traditional WANs is that they rely on multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks, which are expensive and require long lead times to deploy to new locations. Also, as internet traffic increases, it causes an overload of MPLS links.
This can cause many problems for businesses that need to track and prioritize their network traffic, like companies that handle high volumes of data. SD-WAN can help mitigate this by implementing routing rules that direct all incoming traffic to one or more connections with the most reliable bandwidth available.
Security measures common to SD-WAN solutions include firewalls, usually next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), that offer malware detection, anti-virus protection, application monitoring, SSL inspection, web content filtering and intrusion detection and prevention. They should also be able to support internal communications, ensuring that endpoints and devices are adequately protected from cyber threats as they move about your network.
WAN technology has long been a staple in IT, voice, and data networking, connecting multiple locations through routers and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). It is used to link large companies that have offices across different cities.
Traditional WANs rely on a mix of public and leased lines, often with Multiprotocol Label Switching(MPLS), which gives an efficient and resilient traffic flow. It also allows for the prioritization of data, video and VoIP(voice over IP) services.
As organizations migrate to the cloud and workload-bearing applications, they need a more flexible and dynamic network. However, legacy WANs need to be more suited to this challenge.
The traditional WAN approach was designed in an era when the focus was on linking physical locations. That means expensive global connectivity and complex topologies that take more work to maintain and secure.
Another disadvantage is the need for extensive planning and logistical support to deploy new sites. This is especially true in a mobile workforce, where new offices are frequently located away from their primary offices and must be connected.
Fortunately, SD-WAN provides the flexibility of a software-defined approach that evolves a traditional WAN into a more agile network to support the demands of cloud and workload-bearing applications. In addition, a software-as-a-service model reduces CapEx requirements by moving the expense to an OpEx monthly charge.
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