Learn about an affordable solution to having incredibly reliable internet that prioritizes your organization's mission-critical applications.
- What is SD-WAN?
- How does SD-WAN help with VoIP phone systems
- How does SD-WAN help with security
- How does SD-WAN help with cloud applications
- How can SD-WAN help remote workers
- Using SD-WAN with a single internet connection
- What’s the cost of SD-WAN?
- Technical requirements for implementing SD-WAN
Are you having internet reliability issues in your organization? Are you having crackle or dropped calls with your VoIP phone system? Have you tried everything from increasing your internet speed to replacing routers and switches with no success?
These days most of our applications and tools are being hosted in the cloud, so internet reliability is more important than ever. But, if your internet sputters or goes down you are at the mercy of your internet provider.
Not anymore. Meet SD-WAN. SD-WAN is a solution that can solve many of these problems and allow you not to be held hostage by the "all-powerful " internet providers like Comcast or CenturyLink.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is short for software-defined wide-area network. It’s a fancy word that basically means it uses software to filter and funnel internet traffic. This technology is most used to combine two internet connections and then priorities traffic over one connection or the other. The greatest part is if one of the internet connections goes down, it will automatically fail over to the other internet connection without any disruption, even during a Zoom or VoIP phone call! Since it filters and funnel internet traffic, it has a bunch of security and efficiency filters build in which we will talk about more later in this article.
Watch this 2 minute live demo of how SD-WAN works here:
How does SD-WAN help with VoIP phone systems
SD-WAN in conjunction with two internet connections is the most ideal set-up for hosting a VoIP phone system. Not only do you have two connections to automatically switch back and forth, but you can configure the SD-WAN to priorities phone calls over let’s say YouTube traffic. In peak internet usage times in your organization, you might notice phone calls not being as clear or even dropped calls. This helps reduce this problem greatly.
How does SD-WAN help with security
SD-WAN allows you to see into your network in a unique way. A proper SD-WAN solution will priorities mission-critical apps and block certain data from ever even getting into your network. Internet providers usually have limited content filtering features, so SD-WAN can take your security to the next level.
How does SD-WAN help with cloud applications
As many of your organization's applications are not hosted on local servers anymore, having a solution like SD-WAN can be very helpful for accessing and prioritization your cloud applications. An effective SD-WAN solution usually automatically prioritizes mission-critical applications (I.e. Microsoft, G-suite, etc.) and will slow down applications like Facebook or Youtube.
How can SD-WAN help remote workers
Some projections are that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home one or more days a week within the next two years. So how does SD-WAN help remote workers? Many SD-WAN providers have a “home-edition” solution that is great for mission-critical employees (doctors, executives, etc.) - This will give the team member the same benefits of having SD-WAN at the office, super reliable internet.
See this graphic of the home office. Your home has a lot of internet demands these days.SD-WAN can priorities your Zoom call or Microsoft 365 over Netflix and Disney+.
Using SD-WAN with a single internet connection
You certainly can. You’d miss out on the redundancy of a secondary internet connection and automatic fail-over, but you still get many of the features such as cloud app prioritization, web filtering, and security features.
What does SD-WAN cost?
In many situations, we see organizations reducing their primary internet connection (I.e. Comcast, CenturyLink) and then adding a small secondary connection (I.e. LTE internet line or another primary connection) and then using SD-WAN on top. Many times, we see clients overpaying with Comcast because they think higher speeds equals more reliability, which that is certainly not the case. With the savings from reducing your primary connection, you can use that money to purchase the second internet connection, which leaves you with only the cost of the SD-WAN solution.
Our SD-WAN partner, Bigleaf Networks (bigleaf.net) has a great solution we use internally and have implemented for many of our clients. For a small & medium sized businesses you can expect to pay around $100/mo - $200/mo. Enterprise plans for larger organization can get up to $500 - $1,000/mo
What are the technical requirements for implementing SD-WAN?
Implementing SD-WAN has only gotten simpler and are using a plug & play model. Our SD-WAN partner, Bigleaf Networks has a very straight forward process for implementation:
- Contact us or one of our partners (that’s NW Techs) to get a quote and sign up for Bigleaf service
- We’ll gather basic info about your Internet circuits, including speed, type, and any static IP addresses
- We’ll ship you a pre-configured router ready to be plugged in
- Connect your firewall and setup your new Bigleaf static IP addresses in it
- Enjoy your new Internet experience
In closing, SD-WAN is probably one of the greatest and most helpful technologies in ensuring you fully utilize your internet connection and maximize every bit of bandwidth. It also has a host of security and web filter features that allow you to ensure your data is being accessed more securely. And did I mention, no more overpaying and being held hostage by Comcast or CenturyLink when they have an outage? That’s my favorite part.
Want to get a quote for SD-WAN in your organization? Click here to request a quote.