April 16, 2024

Software-Defined WAN Edge Deployment vs Router-Based SDWAN Deployment

9 min read
Discover the differences between software-defined WAN edge deployment and router-based SDWAN deployment in this informative article.
Two different networks

Two different networks

When it comes to choosing between software-defined WAN (SDWAN) deployment options, there are two main contenders: SDWAN edge deployment and router-based SDWAN deployment. SDWAN technology has been gaining traction in recent years due to its ability to simplify network management, improve network performance, and reduce costs. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between SDWAN edge deployment and router-based SDWAN deployment, and provide insights into which option might be better suited for your organization’s needs.

Understanding the Basics of Software-Defined WAN Edge Deployment

Software-defined WAN edge deployment is a new approach to networking that uses software-defined networking (SDN) technology to create a more flexible and efficient WAN infrastructure. In this approach, an SDWAN edge device is placed at each branch location, and these devices are connected to a central SDN controller, either on-premises or in the cloud. This controller manages and orchestrates the WAN traffic, allowing for more efficient routing and faster application performance.

SDWAN edge deployment typically involves using broadband internet connections instead of expensive MPLS connections, which can result in significant cost savings. It also allows for more flexibility in WAN management, enabling organizations to easily add or remove branch locations, change internet service providers, and implement network security policies.

Another advantage of SDWAN edge deployment is that it provides better visibility and control over network traffic. With traditional WANs, it can be difficult to monitor and manage traffic across multiple locations. However, with SDWAN, administrators can easily view and control traffic flows, ensuring that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and that non-critical traffic is prioritized appropriately.

Additionally, SDWAN edge deployment can improve network reliability and uptime. By using multiple internet connections, SDWAN can provide automatic failover in the event of a network outage, ensuring that branch locations remain connected and productive. This can be especially important for organizations that rely heavily on cloud-based applications and services.

Router-Based SDWAN Deployment: Pros and Cons

Router-based SDWAN deployment is a more traditional approach to WAN management that involves using physical routers to manage traffic flows. In this approach, routers are typically configured manually and may require frequent updates to keep up with changing network traffic patterns.

However, router-based SDWAN deployment can also offer some benefits. For one, it may be more familiar to IT teams who are used to managing traditional WAN infrastructures. Additionally, router-based SDWAN deployment may be a better fit for organizations with existing MPLS connections or those with highly sensitive data that require more robust security measures.

On the other hand, router-based SDWAN deployment may not be as flexible as other SDWAN deployment models. It may not be able to support cloud-based applications or provide the same level of application visibility and control as other SDWAN solutions. Additionally, router-based SDWAN deployment may require more manual configuration and management, which can be time-consuming and prone to human error.

The Rise of Software-Defined WAN: A Brief History

The origins of SDWAN can be traced back to the early days of software-defined networking (SDN), which emerged as a response to the increasing complexity and costs associated with traditional networking technologies. SDN allowed network administrators to more easily manage network traffic, make changes on the fly, and gain greater visibility into network performance.

With the rise of cloud computing and other emerging technologies, SDN began to evolve into SDWAN, which focused specifically on WAN optimization and management. Today, SDWAN is a thriving industry, with a wide range of vendors and solutions to choose from.

One of the key benefits of SDWAN is its ability to improve network performance and reliability. By using multiple internet connections, SDWAN can automatically route traffic over the best available path, reducing latency and packet loss. This is particularly important for businesses that rely on real-time applications, such as video conferencing or VoIP. Additionally, SDWAN can provide greater security by encrypting traffic and implementing policies to control access to sensitive data.

Cloud-Based vs On-Premises SDWAN Deployment: Which is Better?

One important consideration when choosing between SDWAN deployment options is whether to use a cloud-based or on-premises deployment model. Cloud-based SDWAN solutions typically involve using a central cloud-based controller to manage the WAN traffic flows, while on-premises solutions deploy the controller at a company’s own data center or branch locations.

Cloud-based solutions offer the advantage of easy scalability and lower upfront costs, as organizations can simply pay for the resources they use on a monthly basis. On-premises solutions, on the other hand, offer greater control and security, and may be a better fit for organizations with highly sensitive data or specific compliance requirements.

Another advantage of cloud-based SDWAN solutions is that they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier for remote workers to connect to the company network. Additionally, cloud-based solutions often come with built-in redundancy and failover capabilities, ensuring that network downtime is minimized.

However, on-premises solutions may be more suitable for organizations that have limited internet bandwidth or unreliable internet connections. By deploying the controller on-premises, organizations can ensure that their SDWAN solution is not affected by internet outages or bandwidth limitations.

Key Features of Software-Defined WAN Edge Deployment

Some of the key features and benefits of SDWAN edge deployment include:

  • Ability to use low-cost, high-speed broadband connections for WAN traffic
  • Built-in redundancy and failover capabilities
  • Application-aware routing and traffic management
  • Centralized management and orchestration through an SDN controller
  • Improved network visibility and analytics
  • Integration with cloud-based applications and services

Another important feature of SDWAN edge deployment is the ability to prioritize and optimize traffic based on business needs. This means that critical applications can be given priority over less important ones, ensuring that they receive the necessary bandwidth and performance. Additionally, SDWAN edge deployment can help organizations reduce their reliance on expensive MPLS connections, by leveraging less expensive broadband connections without sacrificing performance or security.

Security Considerations for SDWAN Deployment: What You Need to Know

With any networking technology, security is a top concern. When it comes to SDWAN deployment, there are some security considerations to be aware of. For one, SDWAN edge devices must be properly configured and secured to prevent unauthorized access to the network.

Additionally, organizations must ensure that their SDWAN solution includes robust security features such as encrypted tunnels, firewall protection, and intrusion detection and prevention. Finally, it’s important to consider regulatory compliance requirements when choosing an SDWAN deployment option, as different options may have different levels of compliance support.

Another important security consideration for SDWAN deployment is the need for continuous monitoring and management of the network. This includes regular updates and patches to address any vulnerabilities, as well as ongoing monitoring for any suspicious activity or potential threats. It’s also important to have a plan in place for responding to security incidents, including procedures for isolating affected devices and mitigating any damage.

How to Choose Between Router-Based and Software-Defined WAN Edge Deployment

Choosing between router-based and SDWAN edge deployment ultimately depends on your organization’s needs and goals. Some key factors to consider include your budget, current WAN infrastructure, sensitivity of data, and regulatory compliance requirements. Organizations should also evaluate the scalability and flexibility of each option, and consider the level of IT expertise required to manage each solution.

Another important factor to consider when choosing between router-based and SDWAN edge deployment is the level of security required. While both options offer security features, SDWAN typically provides more advanced security capabilities, such as encryption and segmentation, which can be crucial for organizations dealing with sensitive data.

Additionally, organizations should consider the level of control they require over their WAN. Router-based solutions may offer more control, as they allow for more granular configuration and management. However, SDWAN solutions can provide greater visibility and control over network traffic, allowing for more efficient use of bandwidth and better application performance.

SDWAN Deployment Best Practices for Maximum Efficiency and Performance

To get the most out of your SDWAN deployment, it’s important to follow some best practices. These include:

  • Using appropriate broadband internet connections with sufficient bandwidth and reliability
  • Ensuring proper redundancy and failover configurations
  • Properly configuring security measures like firewalls and encryption
  • Monitoring network performance and making adjustments as needed
  • Continuing to evaluate and update your SDWAN solution as your organization’s needs and goals change

Another important best practice for SDWAN deployment is to prioritize and optimize traffic based on business needs. This involves identifying critical applications and ensuring they receive the necessary bandwidth and network resources to function optimally. Additionally, it’s important to regularly test and validate your SDWAN solution to ensure it’s meeting your organization’s performance and efficiency goals.

Comparison of Traditional WAN vs SDWAN Deployment: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Ultimately, the decision to choose between traditional WAN and SDWAN deployment comes down to your organization’s specific needs and goals. Traditional WAN may still be suitable for organizations with limited budgets or low-volume network traffic, while SDWAN may offer significant benefits for organizations with more complex WAN infrastructures and higher traffic volumes.

However, the benefits of SDWAN are hard to ignore, including improved network performance, greater flexibility and scalability, and reduced costs. It’s worth carefully considering the pros and cons of each option before making a final decision.

One of the key advantages of SDWAN is its ability to prioritize network traffic based on application requirements. This means that critical applications, such as video conferencing or VoIP, can be given priority over less important applications, such as email or web browsing. This can significantly improve the user experience and ensure that business-critical applications are always available and performing well. Additionally, SDWAN can provide greater visibility into network traffic, allowing IT teams to identify and troubleshoot issues more quickly and effectively.

Understanding the Role of Virtualization in Software-Defined WAN Edge Deployment

One of the key technologies that enables SDWAN edge deployment is virtualization. Virtualization allows for the creation of virtual networks that exist on top of physical networks, providing greater flexibility and efficiency in network management. By separating the control and data planes of the network, virtualization makes it possible to move network traffic more efficiently and make changes to the network without disrupting service.

Virtualization also enables organizations to easily deploy software-defined networking technologies like SDWAN, as it allows for the easy creation of virtual network functions (VNFs) that can be used to manage the network traffic. This allows organizations to easily add new capabilities and services to their networks as needed, without the need for costly hardware upgrades.

Moreover, virtualization also enhances network security by providing isolation between different virtual networks. This means that if one virtual network is compromised, the other virtual networks remain unaffected. Additionally, virtualization allows for the creation of virtual firewalls and other security measures that can be easily deployed and managed, providing an added layer of protection to the network.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in SDWAN Deployment: A Look at the Future

As SDWAN technology continues to evolve, one area of focus for many vendors is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve network performance and efficiency. AI can be used to predict network traffic patterns and automatically adjust routing policies to optimize applications and reduce latency. ML can also be used to identify and mitigate security threats in real time, helping to keep the network secure and available.

With the increasing adoption of cloud and other emerging technologies, SDWAN deployment is likely to become even more popular in the coming years. By leveraging the latest technologies and best practices, organizations can ensure that they are getting the most out of their SDWAN deployment and staying ahead of the competition.

Another potential benefit of using AI in SDWAN deployment is the ability to automate network management tasks. With AI-powered automation, IT teams can reduce the time and effort required to manage and maintain the network, freeing up resources to focus on more strategic initiatives. Additionally, AI can help to identify and resolve network issues before they become major problems, improving overall network reliability and uptime.

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