Palo Alto SDWAN

SD-WAN Explained

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a virtualized service that connects and extends enterprise networks over large geographical distances. WANs use links such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), wireless, broadband, virtual private networks (VPNs) and the internet to give users in remote offices access to corporate applications, services and resources, allowing them to work regardless of location. SD-WAN monitors the performance of WAN connections and manages traffic in an effort to maintain high speeds and optimize connectivity.

How Does SD-WAN Work?

Traditional WANs rely on physical routers to connect remote or branch users to applications hosted on data centers. Each router has a data plane, which holds the information, and a control plane, which tells the data where to go. Where data flows is typically determined by a network engineer or administrator who writes rules and policies, often manually, for each router on the network – a process that can be time-consuming and prone to errors.

SD-WAN separates the control and management processes from the underlying networking hardware, making them available as software that can be easily configured and deployed. A centralized control pane means network administrators can write new rules and policies, and then configure and deploy them across an entire network at once.