How Does an SD-WAN Work?

An SD-WAN is a unified network organized to improve performance and efficiency. It is typically deployed in branch offices, and its architecture is based on cloud and mobile computing. It separates the control plane from the data plane and offers a centralized management interface. This makes the SD-WAN easy to use and manage and can improve operational efficiencies and performance. In addition, SD-WANs are designed to offer end-to-end encryption over the entire network and prioritize traffic for business-critical applications.

Policy-based management

Policy-based management is a crucial part of SD-WAN explained. It facilitates the definition of high-level administrative goals. These goals should be clear, easy to understand, and translated into low-level policies and commands to configure managed devices. High-level goals define network administrators’ network and business objectives, while low-level policies describe the configurations to be applied to individual devices.

For example, an SD-WAN can support dual internet connections to provide redundancy and network load sharing. It can also help with dynamic path selection, enabling users to route traffic selectively. This technology can differentiate each packet by source, application, and destination. SD-WAN can also identify different types of users and devices in an application, allowing administrators to tailor network traffic according to specific needs.

Policy-based management is essential for a secure and scalable SD-WAN. With a centralized management console, SD-WANs can be configured with the right security policy for the specific business. An SD-WAN can be configured with policies to improve service quality, create failovers, and minimize costs.

End-to-end encryption over the entire network

End-to-end encryption over the entire network is a critical component of an SD-WAN solution. This type of security protects data during data transfer and enables IT professionals, to minimize costs and improve service. The process can be accomplished through several different methods. These methods include hardware and software-based encryption.

A centralized control function is an essential part of SD-WAN routers. It allows the router to route traffic intelligently across the SD-WAN network. This allows the router to send traffic to the trusted cloud or SaaS providers, which can improve application performance and QoE. An SD-WAN router can also reduce the ongoing operating costs associated with MPLS lines.

Security is also crucial for distributed networks. Traditional WANs that use hub-and-spoke architectures have a high risk of data breaches, and the chances are even higher when it comes to distributed locations. Many of these locations lack onsite IT resources and employee security awareness. In addition, network connections may use virtual private networks (VPNs) or remote cloud gateways, which are not consistently configured to encrypt data.

Policy-based routing

Policy-based routing is a technique that enables a company to ensure that traffic is forwarded to the correct destination. It works on both WAN and LAN links. For instance, a customer can use the same IP address and VLAN for DSL and cable connections. Policy-based routing is also helpful in one-arm deployments.

Policy-based routing uses dynamic path selection. A route policy is configured,, and a path selection profile is defined for each traffic path. This allows traffic to be load balanced between qualified courses. An SD-WAN can automatically disable routes that don’t qualify. Once a suitable way is found, traffic is routed over that path. Consequently, it can ensure a better user experience and application performance.

SD-WAN routing can be configured from the Network System > Dynamic Routing page. The policies that apply to SD-WAN routing are only available for policies that allow it. You cannot configure policies for SD-WAN routes if they’re used for VPN or backward compatibility.