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SD-WAN delivers better cloud app performance

Canadian companies looking to expand nationally or into international markets often rely on employees at remote sites or branch locations to perform specific, regional needs. With so many of these remote workers adopting cloud-based apps like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and WebEx to do their jobs, network dependability and speed are vital across locations. Unfortunately, employees working in remote sites or branch offices who utilize conventional WAN technology often don’t have the same level of access and bandwidth as their main office counterparts. That’s where SD-WAN technology proves valuable.

SD-WAN, or software-defined wide-area network, uses a software approach to connect branch offices via the public Internet to the main office network. Unlike traditional WAN technology requiring proprietary hardware at each location, SD-WAN moves network control to the cloud, making it far easier to configure, upgrade, and manage from a single dashboard. With so many advantages, IT departments of all sizes are embracing SD-WAN over traditional hardware approaches. Reduced operational costs and complexity make SD-WAN accessible to small and medium-sized businesses, requiring less time from their limited IT staff to support it.

Moving from MPLS to SD-WAN: It’s all about the apps

The tremendous rise in cloud application usage has significantly impacted the performance of traditional networks like MPLS (multiprotocol label switching). For many years, MPLS networks have proven reliable for branch offices, but they require costly onsite configuration and management. Since the adoption of cloud-based apps has become mainstream, many businesses experience more frequent interruptions from their MPLS networks, like poor VoIP call quality or lag in their video conferencing. IT Managers require a new way of thinking about their branch office networks. That’s where SD-WAN comes in.

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A competitive way forward with SD-WAN 

Many small to medium-sized companies move to SD-WAN because they can use a single network device to connect a branch to the main office and the public Internet, giving them the bandwidth they need at a far lower cost than MPLS. That makes a difference to IT staff because with SD-WAN, automated configuration and management via the Internet save the time and expense of visiting each branch for setup and updates.

For branch employees, SD-WAN delivers the high-speed experience they’re used to when working in a single application on MPLS, but performance doesn’t degrade as they run multiple apps simultaneously over the network. Thus, with widespread use of the cloud for business applications, SD-WAN technology is a better fit for most organizations.

How SD-WAN technology excels over MPLS

Traditionally, organizations have deployed MPLS to deliver high-speed network performance for specific, narrowly focused business functions. The Internet was rarely used for branch network operations because MPLS consistently outperformed the public Internet.

As Internet bandwidth has increased and costs have come down, SD-WAN technology offers a clear advantage. With SD-WAN, network traffic is analyzed and rebalanced in real time. The technology also addresses packet loss through actions like Forward Error Correction (FEC), ensuring throughput remains constant or increasing. What this means for users is that they experience high-speed performance and low latency while running their cloud-based apps, across the organization.

Assuring branch office network security

In a traditional branch office network environment, organizations often deploy dedicated security devices with firewall and intrusion prevention systems at the branch level. SD-WAN architecture has flexible security built-in to protect both traffic and data across the network. With the implementation of security functions via the cloud instead of on-premise, IT personnel can reduce latency, lower costs, and provide the flexibility and control needed in even the most sensitive business environments. Users only know their data is protected, and they aren’t forced to compromise the speed of their cloud-based apps for security.

Finding the right SD-WAN provider

The benefits of SD-WAN are clear, but having the right team in place to configure the network properly, optimize it for maximum performance, and support all branch and remote site users takes a specialized skill set. Often, IT teams partner with technology companies with experts available throughout Canada to design, implement, manage, and support the SD-WAN network. Having the right certifications in place is essential, but experience makes all the difference to ensure performance and keep your finite IT resources focused on the initiatives vital to your business.

OnX Canada is a high-level Canadian provider of SD-WAN technology, with decades of experience configuring networks and designing systems around the unique needs of diverse organizations. OnX partners with VeloCloud, a leading SD-WAN technology company, and delivers SD-WAN as a managed service. We match SD-WAN performance to your precise business needs, ensuring your remote users have continuous, speedy access to the cloud apps they need for success.

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To discover more about how SD-WAN can give you a competitive edge, download VeloCloud’s “SD-WAN for Dummies,” an informative and accessible guide to the technology.