What Devices Are Needed for SD-WAN Technology?

By Corrin Jones on January 28, 2021

If you want to set up an SD-WAN network, you're going to need the appropriate SD-WAN technology.

SD-WAN networks are becoming more popular as a way for organizations to expand their network infrastructure, improve security and boost productivity. Through SD-WAN, organizations can enhance their wide area networks (WANs), providing their employees and systems better and more reliable connectivity — but this does have to be supported through the right SD-WAN devices. Further, SD-WAN technology rides on top of traditional WAN technology, abstracting the hardware of the individual WAN edge devices, allowing for centralized configuration and management.

Here's everything that an organization needs to create a comprehensive SD-WAN deployment.

The SD-WAN Controller

As mentioned, the SD-WAN is a software system that manages the hardware devices of the WAN. An organization still needs to design and procure circuits and WAN edge devices for the SD-WAN controller to network with.

Under traditional WAN systems, each device has to manage and maintain its own network connectivity and security; features and functionality are hardware constrained and firmware-controlled, and the organization is required to perform considerable repetitive work on each device to configure and maintain the security and stability of its system.

With an SD-WAN system, which is rapidly becoming the industry standard, organizations can centrally control and expand their network through software rather than hardware. The SD-WAN controller manages the physical devices and controls the configuration, performance, and security of the entire network at once.

SD-WAN technology therefore makes the system broader, more secure, easier to maintain, and easier to use. Organizations are able to take advantage of the streamlined administration of SD-WAN technology as well as enhanced security and futureproofing. But the SD-WAN controller still needs reliable WAN technology to work with, which may need to be upgraded or integrated by a professional team.

The SD-WAN Router

An SD-WAN router, also known as an SD-WAN appliance, makes it easier for organizations to control their WAN connection. Often, the SD-WAN router will connect directly to the WAN, but an SD-WAN router provides a single endpoint connection to the WAN infrastructure. There are vendors who provide these devices to make it easier for the SD-WAN system to operate.

Having an SD-WAN router means that the organization has more direct control over the WAN system, making it again more stable and secure. While the SD-WAN does rely on the stability of the underlying WAN hardware and links, Software Defined WAN enables organization to use a greater diversity of WAN connection types while achieving the same or greater bandwidth, speed, stability, and security at a lower cost with much less management complexity.

Setting Up Your SD-WAN Deployment

Setting up an SD-WAN deployment doesn't need to be difficult, especially if there's already a robust and reliable WAN deployment in place. An organization can begin by deploying the Management/Controller suite and then deploy the SD-WAN Edge devices. Many SD-WAN vendors offer the Management/Controller suite as a service, so there is no need to deploy any on-premises servers.

Advantages of an SD-WAN deployment include:

  • Organizations are able to automate their network's most mundane and repetitive tasks, thereby reducing administrative burden and streamlining the management of their systems.
  • Organizations can improve the stability of their systems, especially important for offices in which many or most employees work remotely.
  • Organizations can have more effective endpoint management, which is vital for a world in which the IoT and remote devices are taking over.
  • Organizations can deploy multiple WAN endpoints for more cost-effective and easier-to-manage branch and remote offices.
  • Organizations can improve upon their security, which is critically important in a more connected world with Cloud.

But don't break out the shopping lists just yet. The best way to successfully deploy SD-WAN technology into your organization is by partnering with a seasoned Managed Services Provider with SD-WAN expertise. As with most network infrastructures, SD-WAN deployment requires that all the technology and devices "play well together"; they must be well-integrated, configured and compatible. And that requires the knowledge of an expert professional. 

An MSP can help set up you successfully deploy SD-WAN and customize it to your organization’s needs. Starting with a rigorous assessment of what your company currently has in place as well as what you need to grow and to thrive. Your SD-WAN deployment is the backbone of your network infrastructure so ensuring a system that's not only reliable and secure today, but that will also be capable of adapting to the needs of tomorrow is paramount.

The time to act is now. Contact the experts at Red River to discover all the benefits of deploying SD-WAN into your environment, the devices that you will need, even managed services for after SD-WAN is installed, and how to take the next step . There's no obligation; just call to setup an appointment.

Managed SD-WAN: The Future of Distributed Workforces