SD-WAN Optimizes the Hybrid WAN


A hybrid WAN is comprised of two different network connections carrying traffic between branches, data centers and clouds. These are represented by various combinations of connections, like an MPLS circuit and a broadband connection; two separate broadband connections from different carriers; or a broadband and a cellular connection. Hybrid WANs provide additional resiliency and reliability, as they can be active/active, rather than active/passive.

SD-WAN adds intelligence to a traditional hybrid WAN

A hybrid WAN has very little operational intelligence, directing traffic over the same route each time, and only using a different path if the primary path is no longer available. But when  SD-WAN manages the hybrid WAN, traffic can be highly manipulated and controlled to ensure the right traffic flows over the best connections at all time. This control is based on business priorities, dynamically changing network conditions, and diverse application requirements. Multiple connections of any type are virtualized through a software overlay that leverages the entire aggregated bandwidth and orchestrates it with highly granular and automated policy-based control.


SD-WAN also provides more efficient use of bandwidth, by directing traffic to the most appropriate connection. For example, a company that has a hybrid WAN with MPLS and broadband circuits, and branch offices accessing cloud apps, like Microsoft Office 365, can send that traffic directly to the Office 365 portal. They no longer need to unnecessarily route cloud-based traffic through the corporate data center first. This keeps the expensive MPLS connection free for other mission-critical business applications.

SD-WAN architecture embeds application intelligence, enabling deep packet inspection by the network, beyond source and destination. It understands the application requirements and the context associated with the applications, and delivers fast, reliable and secure application delivery, regardless of network conditions. This enables an optimal user experience.


SD-WAN understands individual application SLA requirements and translates them using policies to which the network must adhere. This provides proactive network and application experience monitoring, ensuring optimal traffic delivery and a quality user experience (QoE) – whether on-premises, private/public cloud, or SaaS.

SD-WAN simplifies the cumbersome secure tunnels associated with traditional hybrid WANs for branch connectivity. It also provides a  central controller  where the operational intelligence resides. An automated policy-based framework is propagated through unified control and management, all from a single-pane-of-glass interface. This gives IT the zero-touch deployment they need to simplify connectivity for distributed offices, and the monitoring and distribution of all network and security policies to branches throughout the entire enterprise WAN.

Secure SD-WAN embeds diverse network and security functionality natively, enhancing visibility. It accomplishes this by allowing IT insights into applications, devices, users, and networking, to ensure everything adheres to their business intent.