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Are there any limitations of implementing an SD-WAN solution?

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

First of all it is worth reminding ourselves what SD-WAN is?

Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a network management tool or set of tools offering a transformational approach to designing and deploying an enterprise ‘wide area network’ (WAN). By utilising multiple connectivity streams and rules to determine the most efficient way to route data traffic to remote locations, branch offices and Data centres, the solution will intelligently adapt to changing environments in real-time enhancing the efficiency of the network.

Through a series of processes and artificial intelligence SD-WAN allows customers to manage the performance of individual applications utilising all of the resources (network capacity) available.

An SD-WAN solution is by design, separate from the underlying infrastructure layer, this means that customers may choose a network from one or multiple suppliers but manage them via a third-party application (SD-WAN Application).

There are many advantages of SD-WAN and we've summarised a few, please click here.

However, there are certainly some limitations as well. Although SD-WAN provides many important steps forward in wide area networking, there are some limitations which customers will want to be aware of, namely:

  • Quality of Service (QoS) – If traffic is crossing the public Internet, QoS cannot be guaranteed. Suppliers may argue that there are other priorities that can be aligned to achieve QoS like experiences, such as packet duplication but this is not a guaranteed service and therefore potentially this could affect real-time applications such as voice and video.

  • The SD-WAN Market – SD-WAN is a relatively new technology for suppliers and therefore it could be argued that there is still a lot of volatility in the market.

  • Cost – While cost savings are often stated as an advantage of SD-WAN, our experience is that the costs are largely neutral when comparing with MPLS and calculating a total cost of ownership.

  • Service Standards – Currently there are no standards governing the SD-WAN market.

  • SD-WAN Resellers – Due to the products being a fairly recent breakthrough to the mainstream market, most suppliers won’t have tens of installations with which to completely learn the lessons of good and bad SD-WAN deployments.

If you'd like to discuss how we can help with your project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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