Mid-size businesses often require a level of access and control that private networking can provide. However, the cost of such a network setup might be too high to justify. Secondly, small and large businesses take on cloud applications as a core element to their business operations. Increased cloud connectivity along with high private network costs are driving many businesses towards SD-WAN solutions.  SD-WAN allows businesses to Bring-Your-Own-Bandwidth while utilizing cloud-based SDN functions in an environment and budget that is comfortable for them to operate in.

This guide will tackle what SD-WAN is and networks that it can be overlaid on.

What is SD-WAN?

Software-defined WAN refers to a virtual network architecture that enables enterprises to utilize several transport services, including MPLS, broadband internet, and LTE, among others. These transport modes allow users to connect to applications securely.

As its name suggests, SD-WAN is a software-driven technology that manages applications from the network’s centralized point. Every solution is deployed to the existing topology as an overlay technology, enabling easy adoption and integration. SD-WAN runs on top of the existing network, separating the physical infrastructure from the logical network.

What are the benefits of SD-WAN?

User experience, business productivity, and cost reduction are the primary benefits of SD-WAN.

Fewer circuit costs

Circuits in a network are typically expensive to set up, especially if the enterprise is looking to expand via more branches or remote offices. With SD-WAN, high-speed connections that are cheaper, like DSL or broadband, can be used to reduce business overheads.

Cloud-based service adoption

Software-defined network fully supports cloud-based applications – whether they are hosted by on-premise data centers, private or public clouds, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) services such as Office365 and Dropbox. Traditional WAN may cause latency for SaaS solutions as SaaS traffic is backhauled to the data center. SD-WAN remedies this by leveraging cloud services to manage user traffic.

Intelligent traffic routing

Intelligent traffic routing

SD-WAN allows real-time traffic monitoring to manage and divert high-value traffic in cases of brownout to promote business continuity. A centralized control function intelligently and securely directs traffic across the network. Software-defined architecture can prioritize critical applications rather than waiting for outages.

Which underlying circuits can be used with SD-WAN?

SD-WAN can strengthen several transport circuits to bring better business outcomes in terms of connectivity. Both MPLS and Internet can be used with SD-WAN. Let us look at the advantages of each.

How can SD-WAN be used with MPLS?

How can SD-WAN be used with the Internet

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is the gold standard for enterprises that need interbranch communication. However, the rising need for unified communication (UC) and cloud applications has created challenges for MPLS, namely bandwidth, accessibility, and scalability issues.

SD-WAN on MPLS – misconceptions

The common misconception is that MPLS and SD-WAN are mutually exclusive networks, which is far from true. Both can coexist in the same space, with MPLS providing the reliability and security that other transport networks cannot deliver at the same level.

Enterprises with private MPLS have already invested a costly fortune, making it impractical to remove the existing infrastructure completely. SD-WAN as a network overlay complements MPLS in reaching the best possible connectivity.

SD-WAN on MPLS – cost reduction

SD-WAN reduces costs in MPLS circuit management. With SD-WAN, MPLS connections can switch carriers or use multiple providers to utilize real-time bandwidth. It also helps deploy and integrate connectivity to new locations quickly and efficiently. Infrastructure costs are greatly reduced with the augmented capacities brought about by SD-WAN.

MPLS in the future

MPLS technology is here to stay, even if the volume of circuits diminishes. It will still be the carrier backbone for enterprises, reinforced by Segment Routing and other continually developed and deployed enhancements. Combining SD-WAN and MPLS would be an ideal go-to for large companies, particularly since the cloud has become a vast, indispensable part of today’s networks.

How can SD-WAN be used with the Internet?

An SD-WAN allows virtualization of WAN services, treating the Internet as a resource pool. Although broadband services are marred by reliability, security, and performance issues, an enterprise-driven SD-WAN platform can incorporate several solutions to provide efficient transport application traffic.

Dedicated Internet Access

In a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) service, the copper or fiber connection will be dedicated solely to the customer. It means that the actual upstream and downstream bandwidth from premises to the Internet and vice versa are guaranteed.

For global SD-WAN deployment, higher performance and uptime delivered by DIA are ideal, and it comes with lesser costs than an MPLS infrastructure. Moreover, with its 1:1 ratio, bandwidth is a given and is included in service level agreements.

This solution also allows public cloud traffic or Internet-bound traffic from one branch to route to the Internet directly instead of on a data center or central site for Internet access.

Broadband Internet Access

Broadband-based transport is known as the low-cost, flexible option for businesses that need the benefits of SD-WAN. Broadband providers use DSL, fiber, or cable connections that create shared bandwidth for their customers.  Once SD-WAN is connected over broadband, users can centrally assign policies for the control and security of traffic. It enables cloud speed in operations, automatically selecting an optimum path based on application priority.

Fixed Wireless Internet

The entire network can meet consistency in policy frameworks, common workflows, and a single management dashboard when using a fixed wireless connection with SD-WAN. Businesses can keep their applications running smoothly and connected regardless of deployment. SD-WAN also simplifies integration, ensuring that the company doesn’t need to dispatch remote IT staff to set up connectivity.

With a fixed wireless connection, SD-WAN technologies can achieve remote cloud management. The ability to manage, provision, and troubleshoot connectivity and user applications can be done from a web-based interface.



4G LTE is another emerging circuit that enterprises are readily exploring because of its flexibility for remote work. It makes the network continuous and fully automated, giving resources every application needs while also providing the required bandwidth for business-critical applications.

SD-WAN can integrate with mobile connectivity as an attractive transport alternative. It is used as a backup by which users can use cloud-based services since fixed lines aren’t available. SD-WAN can transform 4G LTE as a primary member of WAN infrastructure to give users access to core business applications.


5G is the latest addition to the transport options for enterprise networks. Experts predict that 5G could improve traffic management and application prioritization by allowing users to dedicate network slices more efficiently. Specific performance can be indicated via 5G so that a particular subset of applications could receive higher network reliability and security levels.

Future-forward enterprises must set the wheel of 5G-SD-WAN running as major industries are making the leap towards IoT-enabled operations. These new networks will enable low-latency edge computing capabilities. Machinery connected via IoT will benefit from the 5G low-latency, while SD-WAN infrastructure will enable the factory to optimally separate traffic.

In a more consumer-focused environment, SD-WAN with 5G has a more practical impact. Implementing SD-WAN with 5G slicing and a dynamic orchestration solution enables deploying a highly effective, user-experience-driven self-service portal.

Which SD-WAN deployment is best for my enterprise?

SD-WAN deployments are typically a tradeoff between the cost and performance of MPLS and Internet transport services. Latency-sensitive applications use MPLS, while all other forms of traffic use Internet links. As a virtual technology, SD-WAN enables traffic to be managed according to relevancy and class of service.

There are many vendors and options available, and SD-WAN can be customized to suit business requirements. Carrierbid telecom consulting can bring SD-WAN to your organization in a way that fits your needs without adding to your cost. Our services are fully paid for by the SD-WAN service provider.

We give you the benefit of specialized end-to-end SD-WAN management without adding to your bottom line. Contact us for a free consultation today!

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