What Is the Difference Between WAN & SD-WAN?

What Is the Difference Between WAN & SD-WAN?

What Is the Difference Between WAN & SD-WAN?

Is your company stuck on whether you should go with a traditional wide-area network (WAN) or a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN)? If so, this article is for you!

We’ll cover what traditional WAN and SD-WAN are and what this technology can do for your business. If any questions arise as you read, please know that the SD-WAN experts at Millennia Technologies will be happy to consult with you so you can set up the most appropriate solution.

What Is Traditional WAN?

A WAN or wide-area network is a way to connect your systems using hardware devices. Setting up a traditional WAN will require MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) to facilitate data flow through your network.

With a hardware-based solution like this, you will install multiple devices using customized circuits to ensure that the correct data gets to the right people as needed.

What WAN Does for Your Business

Any company doing business online, even just considering its email and phone system, will use a wide-area network or WAN to ensure all communications stay safe and secure. A WAN encrypts the data flowing through your business. You establish a wide-area network to share data internally without it ever needing to go out to the internet.

Failure to protect the data that your business generates, collects, stores, and transmits will leave you vulnerable to criminal hackers stealing sensitive information, including proprietary intellectual property.

So at the very least, you will want a wide-area network or SD-WAN in place to keep your data secure.

What Is SD-WAN?

In contrast to a traditional wide-area network, a software-defined WAN or SD-WAN is a modern approach for companies needing to connect computers.

As more entities came to rely on cloud computing services to take the load off of their own IT departments, businesses began moving from hardware-based WAN solutions to adopting SD-WAN. They use SD-WAN to develop a more complex cloud setup, which connects their various offices and partners safely and securely.

Essentially, an SD-WAN will determine the fastest route for sending data through your organization based on conditions such as latency between connections. The result is a system built for modern computing and data transfer.

Each email, telephone conversation, and video conferencing session is protected, as the SD-WAN system finds the most efficient path. So video calls with a customer or vendor are crisper and more professional.

You can rest assured that the content of each email and text message between investors, journalists, employees, customers, and other parties will remain encrypted and protected against unauthorized viewers.

With so many organizations turning to cloud computing solutions, where their data is hosted on distant servers with backups in multiple locations, new methods are needed to safeguard their information.

A business will use an SD-WAN when it is time to migrate from using a single cloud computing system to adopting a multi-cloud approach. Learn more about the security benefits of SD-WAN.

Differences and Pros and Cons Between Traditional WAN and SD-WAN

A chief distinguishing aspect of a traditional WAN and SD-WAN is that a WAN is an entirely hardware-based wide-area network, making it less flexible than a software-defined WAN.

Once you’ve established a regular wide-area network, it won’t be easy to scale up the system to meet the growing needs of your business. Think of the many unique connections formed between your networked computers with a traditional WAN. There will be headaches in planning to expand with additional hardware and ensure everything is working properly.

With an SD-WAN, though, it’s a trivial matter to scale up to meet the growing needs of your business, with new employees, new product lines, or services that you offer to customers.

An SD-WAN serves as a virtual network rather than a network defined by how the underlying hardware components are configured and connected. This setup makes your WAN more flexible, and it will be easier for your IT department to expand and upgrade as needed.

You’ll save time and money when you can automatically reconfigure your SD-WAN instead of putting in the extra effort needed to augment a traditional WAN. Your new SD-WAN system will be more robust and secure while also delivering data faster.

Establishing faster and more reliable data connections is an important consideration, primarily when more employees work from home. Any workers in remote locations will collaborate more effectively with the team at your headquarters. Many businesses that want the flexibility of hiring talent from any location will want to invest in an SD-WAN system.

Help Deploying Your SD-WAN System

There is a lot to consider when deciding what your computer networking setup should look like to meet your business goals and help your team collaborate more effectively.

For more information on WAN and SD-WAN setups or to arrange for a consultation about which approach would be best for your organization, get in touch with the wide-area network experts at Millennia Technologies today.