SD-WAN Functionality

SD-WAN Functionality
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The operational landscape of the corporate sphere has undergone seismic shifts as companies diversify their network environments to keep up with the growing demand of the digital age. Transitions from OnPrem to SaaS platforms (Software as a service) is a software distribution model in which a cloud provider hosts applications and makes them available to end users over the internet, along with the surge of remote office work brought upon by Covid-19, have created additional network requirements that can no longer be satisfied with traditional WAN models. Consequently, many Operation Technology teams have turned to SD-WANs (Software-Defined Wide Area Networks) to make up for this developing deficiency in connectivity due to its dynamic scalability and network efficacy. While SD-WAN has existed since the early 2000s, its growing popularity is a relatively new development. Here at Galaxy Broadband, we pride ourselves on operating at the forefront of innovation and have answered the questions below so that our customers can be right there with us.

What is SD-WAN? 

SD-WAN is a software-defined approach to managing Wide Area Networks (WAN). It provides application-specific routing across a WAN through broadband connections that allows the controller to communicate with multi-cloud resources judiciously and maximize connectivity efficiency.

How is SD-WAN different from WAN?

To highlight the capabilities of SD-WAN, it’s crucial to have a familiarity with the mechanics of its evolutionary predecessor, the traditional WAN platform. This solution utilizes a combination of leased and public lines through a technique called Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) that directs packets via labels, dictating its forwarding sequencing. This allows MPLS networks to consistently send data packets through the network’s path of least resistance, using the labels to map out low latency routes. However, MPLS was created during the late 1990s, which means its methodology was heavily influenced by the overwhelming use of On-Prem solutions at the time, causing it to be unfit for the diversified traffic of today’s age. Conversely, its software counterpart SD-WAN can seamlessly manage data through a diverse set of cloud-based platforms that allow it to be relatively more efficacious.

Are there any vulnerabilities to SD-WAN?

To get the most out of SD-WAN, it’s essential to understand its vulnerabilities. SD WAN’s capability to seamlessly connect to multi-cloud resources is due to its reliance on internet-connected traffic. This same functionality contributes to its exposure as security is lessened, and the risk increases whenever a data packet is delivered via the internet. SD WAN’s primary function is to search for the best connectivity path instead of the most secure route. To mitigate against this increased risk exposure, any SD-WAN user must look into protective solutions that can fortify their network’s security.

What are the use cases of SD-WAN? 

The multifaceted abilities of SD-WAN allow it to be applied to several use cases, starting off with the Home Office, which often experiences a loss of connection due to bandwidth deterioration caused by the multitude of devices on the network. An SD-WAN desktop application equipped with LTE can solve this by allowing the user to experience consistent and lossless connection despite the numerous appliances utilizing the bandwidth. This improved functionality can also be extended to the Branch level (remote mine site or O&G drilling rigs) as SD-WAN can provide support for impaired point products that struggle to handle the complex traffic of public networks they weren’t initially designed to manage.

Over the last ten years, SD-WAN has emerged as one of the most integral solutions in the world of Operational Technology, mainly due to an unprecedented digital transformation spurred by the accelerated pace of the remote work transition. This simultaneous diversification of office and data has put a greater demand on networks and their ability to provide the functionality needed to keep people together. Unfortunately, with this emergence of diversified operational environments, many companies have struggled to keep up with the evolving digital landscape. If you’re looking to have improved functionality from the  Remote site to Headquarters, Galaxy Broadband provides a completely integrated communication and network solution through the use of their Smart Site platform which is powered by Fortinet for delivering management and security from firewalls to the WiFi access points, which connects employees, guests and machines together no matter how remote they are from each other. Including but not limited to satellite connectivity, LTE and P2P Microwave for optimal SD-WAN service. Galaxy is excited to add their new LEO service One Web as a major reason to add SDWAN to your network. Now you can have a GEO satellite and LEO satellite through a SDWAN for low latency application routing and full failover redundancy.

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