SD-WAN Features

Learn about SD-WAN’s features, common characteristics, and unique aspects of a Cloud-First SD-WAN architecture versus SD-WAN appliances.

How does SD-WAN work?

SD-WAN centralizes control in the cloud and combines functions at the edge, so customers gain greater flexibility and performance combined with better economics.

SD-WAN Connectivity Options:
Private Core, MPLS, and internet for on-premises and remote

What are the fundamental characteristics of SD-WAN?

Common features of an SD-WAN include the ability to:

  • Combine network links serving one location into a single pool of capacity available for all applications and services.
  • Customize bandwidth and connectivity to meet the needs of specific network services, locations, or users.
  • Centrally define and manage policies and network traffic without requiring manual configuration at each device.

More recently, the term “SASE,” Secure Access Service Edge, has been adopted by both enterprises and vendors. SASE (pronounced “sassy”) refers to a more overarching architecture that includes Network as-a-Service and Network Security as-a-Service with SD-WAN’s connectivity playing a vital role in any SASE deployment.

What is a Cloud-First SD-WAN solution and what advantages does it offer?

A Cloud-First WAN is an architectural approach that enables agility, simplicity, choice and the ability to deliver an amazing user and application experience. Many SD-WAN vendors take a box-centric view with little accountability for the end-to-end global experience, while traditional service providers stitch together technology offerings from multiple vendors and consequently must compromise on delivering a seamless experience.

The path forward is to take a platform approach that leverages a unified services architecture that is extensible and reaches end-to-end. This platform must offer the service sophistication that enables the suite of connectivity, cloud, security, and WAN optimization services — services that are deployed in a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model to all customers and that which are easily enhanced.

The sophistication of the service nodes that enable these services are an order of magnitude in capability beyond simple transport points of presence (PoPs) that form the basis of some SD-WAN architectures. Benefits of a cloud-first approach include reduced time to market, operational simplicity, and multi-cloud readiness.