Things to Know About SD-WAN

There’s a lot to think about when you’re considering an SD-WAN solution. Let us make sense of it for you.


Read more about Pomeroy’s SD-WAN solutions.

What is Managed SD-WAN?

Managed SD-WAN is a service where a service provider will handle the configuration, management, and monitoring of a Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) which usually includes providing edge devices as well as all of the circuits required to support the connectivity. Usually troubleshooting assistance and performance monitoring are included in the managed service.


What are the benefits of SD-WAN?

SD-WAN provides an increase in performance typically at a lower cost by utilizing multiple business class broadband circuits over the Internet.  Another advantage to SD-WAN is ease of deployment because of zero-touch provisioning (ZTP). With zero-touch provisioning, the edge devices can be deployed by simply connecting them to the carrier circuit, the edge device will “phone home” to obtain its configuration, reducing human error in configuration as well as providing the ability to deploy many devices simultaneously to reduce deployment timelines.


What is the difference between SD-WAN and SASE?

SD-WAN is a wide-area network technology that has been around for several years. SD-WAN provides multiple circuits that are continuously monitored by an edge device (usually a router) that can determine the best path for data traffic based on criteria the data requires. SASE is the next evolution of SD-WAN that has an increased emphasis on security.


What is the difference between SD-WAN and MPLS?

SD-WAN is an overlay technology that can use many different underlying circuits for connectivity. SD-WAN underlays can be broadband circuits from a cable provider, 4G/5G/LTE cellular service, fiber connectivity, and MPLS. MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) is a routing technique that utilizes short labels to route data traffic using labels instead of longer network addressing such as TCP/IP addressing. MPLS provides a more efficient way of transmitting data utilizing labels that define paths between destinations on the network rather than relying on more complex routing protocols and addressing schemes.


Do I need SASE and SD-WAN?

SD-WAN and SASE are not competing technologies. SD-WAN provides secure connectivity regardless of the underlay network (broadband, MPLS, fiber, cellular etc) over multiple circuits, selecting the circuit that can best service the data traffic being forwarded. SASE is the next evolution of connectivity technology which adds security functionality that can be especially important over traditionally unsecure networks like the Internet.


What are the best SD-WAN solutions?

There is really no single ‘best’ solution for SD-WAN.  Each of the offerings from the major vendors provide advantages that need to be evaluated to determine which SD-WAN solution is the best fit for your environment. Some of the major considerations are complexity of the environment, availability of internal resources to manage and monitor the wide area network, security considerations, and cost.


What are the components of SD-WAN?

Most SD-WAN offerings contain Edge Devices, a Controller, and an Orchestrator. The Edge Device (typically a router – either physical or virtual) provides the site-to-site connectivity and sits at the service edge. Edge devices typically reside at the branch location, data center, or in the cloud. The Controller provides a central point for management and monitoring the wide area network, and sets policies for the Orchestrator to execute. The Orchestrator is the manager that oversees traffic and applies policies set by the Controller.


How can SD-WAN be made more secure?

SD-WAN can be made more secure by leveraging cloud security solutions from OEM’s like Cisco, Zscaler, and others.


How do you implement SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is easily implemented with zero to minimal touch deployments. First, build and configure the Master SD-WAN template(s) in the main SD-WAN administrative interface. Deploy the edge devices by plugging them in and connecting them to the network. The edge devices are pre-configured to download the Master SD-WAN template. Test and confirm devices are online.


How do you manage SD-WAN?

Managing SD-WAN can be done internally by an organization, or by partnering with a Managed Services Provider like Pomeroy. This comprises of having a Network Operations Center with the skill set, experience, and expertise to configure, manage, and maintain SD-WAN.