Article | 18 August 2022

SD-WAN and wireless on the rise - side-by-side

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Written by
Tim Patrick, Pre-Sales & Product Manager The Netherlands

As demand for cloud applications expands - the SaaS market is currently growing by 18% every year – and as internet usage continues to surge, businesses have found that their older network technology is no longer up to the task. Their bandwidth needs have increased significantly as well as a need for higher levels of performance. Last year’s global bandwidth usage reached a total of 932 Tbit/s, an increase of 30% compared to 2020.

Traditional WAN architecture wasn’t designed for the cloud. But with workers and business applications now located all over the world, the cost and performance benefits offered by SD-WAN are more important than ever.

Wireless & SD-WAN: A powerful partnership

The dominant network approach, that predates SD-WAN, is MPLS. Unfortunately (for MPLS), new emerging technologies have left businesses with a dilemma. Do they stick with MPLS or look for a new network architecture that is better suited to a cloud-first world?

Having explored comparisons between MPLS and SD-WAN, many organisations have decided that the benefits of SD-WAN are too good to pass up. Costs are significantly lower when using SD-WAN. Improvements in quality of service, performance, and ease of configuration make SD-WAN an ideal MPLS replacement.

But SD-WAN is not the only technology that businesses are turning to. Wireless connectivity is also becoming more important and fortunately, wireless connections and SD-WAN can be deployed in tandem to deliver enhanced benefits. Especially for fast-moving companies opening new branches, those with many small offices, or those located outside urban metropolitan areas, wireless offers the kind of benefits in flexibility and availability that are sorely needed. In partnership with SD-WAN, wireless can enable rapid set-up and on-demand scalability. Here are some benefits of using the two technologies together:

  • Reach and flexibility

Modern WAN needs are not limited to offices. WAN access is required everywhere, from frontline workers using tablets on the road to connected maritime vessels. Using wireless and SD-WAN alongside one another delivers faster deployment times, greater availability for remote locations, and easier mobility. By combining the flexibility of wireless and the performance of SD-WAN, the network won’t place limitations on your business.

  • Added resiliency

Although MPLS networks have been a mainstay of enterprise connectivity for many years now, they have limitations. Namely, they typically rely on a single service provider - so even if you have multiple wired connections, it’s quite conceivable that some accident or disruption can take them all down. With SD-WAN, you can manage multiple connections across multiple technologies at the same time.

And if you do choose to include wireless, you have built-in diversity in case your wired connectivity goes down. Traffic can be switched automatically without the end-user even noticing. The true diversity of wireless greatly improves network resilience. With wired connections, even independent lines may share the same physical path or underground ducting. Wireless connections take place over the air, so don’t face the same vulnerabilities.

  • Network management

One of the primary benefits of SD-WAN is the way it facilitates network management. You can manage multiple connections to help with redundancy, traffic segmentation and load balancing. With wireless connections as a part of this, administrators gain access to valuable out-of-band management capabilities. They have total visibility into network performance, so downtime can be reduced and productivity enhanced. SD-WAN makes it easier than ever to manage your network, combined with wireless, this gives you a fully independent route into your network.

  • Bandwidth augmentation

Many use-cases create situations where bandwidth requirements are particularly variable, making the use of low-speed fixed lines impractical and higher bandwidth fixed lines commercially unviable. On these occasions, it is essential that businesses can offload traffic to connections offering the availability and performance they need (at a reasonable price). By coupling wireless and SD-WAN, you benefit from a flexible and cost-effective service that suits any traffic profile.

Changing the game: Connectivity co-existing

Increased adoption of wireless connectivity is likely to lead to further transformation of existing SD-WAN technology. This includes increased optimisation that allows businesses to leverage the benefits of wireless more easily, such as faster deployment, bandwidth augmentation, offloading of non-latency-critical traffic, and greater network diversity. Adding wireless to SD-WAN can empower your network deployments to ensure they are operating at their full potential, enabling an instant rollout and improved flexibility of access.

Internet and wireless network performance are improving and businesses are pivoting to cloud-based services rather than centralised systems. Connectivity to LTE/5G provides SD-WAN with additional routing options and built-in network redundancy. Bringing both technologies together can provide businesses with a network that supports fast, reliable access anywhere.

At Blue Wireless, we can deliver reliable, cost-effective LTE/5G wireless connectivity you need to get the most out of your SD-WAN deployment. Unlock the potential of both technologies. Get in touch with us today.

Talk to

Tim Patrick, Pre-Sales & Product Manager

Let's get your wireless journey started. I am happy to walk you through the best wireless solutions for your business, whichever the use case.

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