Wide area networks were created with 20th-century infrastructures in mind. There were no cloud-based apps or smartphones. There was an internet, but it didn’t have watches and doorbells and other “things” connected to it. In recent years, the number of applications used in the workplace has skyrocketed. They consume more bandwidth, require reduced latency, are accessed from an increasing number of locations and face escalating security threats. Adding to the chaos are more than 17 billion connected devices. Managing such complex networks has strained WANs.
Software-defined wide area networking solutions are designed to overcome these obstacles. SD-WANs, which consist of physical or virtual appliances and a central controller, use overlay networks to connect branches directly to data centers, cloud services and each other. SD-WANs simplify network operations by enabling administrators to remotely push out policies from a central management tool. These policies allow for the efficient use of different forms of transport by building secure overlays and prioritizing applications, which can improve user experience, network performance and agility while reducing network costs.