Our previous post focused on the limitations of traditional WAN architectures and the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) to fill those gaps. SD-WAN uses software-defined networking (SDN) principles to create a more agile, responsive and cost-effective WAN. Organizations can incorporate low-cost broadband connections to supplement or replace expensive multiple protocol label switching (MPLS) circuits while ensuring performance, reliability and security.

A recent IDC survey found that 92 percent of organizations already have a hybrid WAN with multiple types of connections, typically some combination of MPLS and broadband. More than one broadband connection may be implemented as a hedge against service provider outages, or wired links supplemented by LTE wireless in areas without access to reliable Internet connectivity.

The organizations surveyed expressed frustration with the cost and complexity of MPLS, and approximately 80 percent said they plan to leverage broadband for most of their WAN connectivity within two years. There are no signs that MPLS will go away soon, however. Many organizations feel that MPLS is needed to meet the Quality of Service (QoS) requirements of latency-sensitive applications such as voice and video. In addition, 68 percent are concerned about the security of broadband Internet, and 58 percent about its reliability.

Although most organizations are using a hybrid WAN, only 27 percent have implemented SD-WAN. As a result, they are not gaining full advantage of the hybrid architecture. Without SD-WAN, a hybrid WAN design can be difficult to implement — the manual configurations required to differentiate and segment traffic are complex and time-consuming and need to be updated regularly as application profiles and business needs change. SD-WAN technology abstracts the complexity of the underlying network, using software for real-time, policy based routing.

The latest SD-WAN solutions go even further, with technologies that provide MPLS-like performance and reliability through a broadband connection. Error-correction capabilities handle problems related to data delivery, minimizing latency, jitter and packet loss. When combined with multiple broadband connections, SD-WAN can provide “five 9s” reliability. If one connection goes down SD-WAN automatically reroutes traffic over the other link with minimal downtime and data loss.

Leading SD-WAN solutions also address security concerns. Most include firewall and network address translation (NAT) capabilities, and segment traffic to protect sensitive data and contain the damage of a security breach. They also provide site-to-site virtual private network (VPN) capabilities, encrypting data in-flight without degrading performance.

FastSpectrum, powered by InSpeed, is a state-of-the-art SD-WAN solution that combines a small onsite appliance with a fully managed, cloud-based service. The appliance self-configures when plugged in and automatically begins prioritizing network traffic to meet predefined service levels.

FastSpectrum delivers guaranteed QoS for voice calls and streamlines interactive applications such as videoconferencing. It relieves network congestion, increases availability and enhances data protection without any changes to your existing WAN infrastructure.

Best of all, FastSpectrum moves network optimization and control into the cloud, where it is monitored and managed by experts. Let IPC show you how this advanced SD-WAN solution can ensure the highest levels of performance, reliability and security for your mission-critical applications.