SMOAD Networks

August 31, 2023

SD-WAN vs. Traditional WAN: A Comparison of VoIP Quality and Costs

SD-WAN is the new age network service that is slowly replacing the traditional WAN link like MPLS, PTP, etc., used to inter-link branch offices. SD-WAN is a trendsetter giving organisations an enriched network experience saving on capital and operational expenses. SD-WAN gives you better control and superior application experience by using internet links as an alternative to MPLS or PTP links. The biggest advantage is its cost-saving feature of using affordable broadband internet connectivity without compromising security and reliability. Additional value-added features include agility and QoS.

Here is a comparison of SD-WAN Vs. Traditional WAN:

  • Traditional WAN is unable to bear heavy traffic resulting in bandwidth choking. SD-WAN increases bandwidth with the help of secondary links. SD-WAN uses additional links whenever the bandwidth location chokes for a better user and application experience.
  • In traditional WAN, the time taken for device and link provisioning is high for setting up a new office. In SD-WAN, the device configuration time is meagre for new office setups.
  • In traditional WAN configuration is performed manually by skilled technicians with experience in vendor-specific device CLI. In SD-WAN, Zero Touch Provisioning can complete the configuration automatically with just a click.
  • In traditional WAN, the reliance on PTP and MPLS links is high, as is the cost. The organisation may require dedicated links for business-critical applications. SD-WAN uses affordable internet links for mission-critical applications, not MPLS or PTP links. This results in reducing the operation cost and capital expenditure.
  • In traditional WAN, the operational cost is very high since each device has to be configured and managed separately. Moreover, the configuration errors are also high in this setup. In SD-WAN, the operations are automatic; hence, the errors are fewer, resulting in less operational cost.
  • In traditional WAN, the cloud application performance is low due to transmission from branch sites to the Hub sites and vice versa. In SD-WAN, the cloud application performance is high as the branch sites can access the cloud applications directly. Moreover, advanced path conditioning techniques can prevent packet loss during transit, thereby preventing retransmission by enhancing user experience.
  • The application performance visibility is low in traditional WAN because the customer has to invest separately in solutions as per their requirement. SD-WAN provides application intelligence and the ability to prioritise applications according to business specifications.
  • In traditional WAN, the QoS policy and security control for various organisation locations is of medium level. In SD-WAN, the QoS and security policy control are centrally managed through a central adapter for all locations resulting in a high consistency level.
  • In traditional WAN, multiple single-function devices are connected through various WAN links. It results in complicated branch IT management as more devices have to be maintained. In SD-WAN, with centralised and integrated services, the number of devices to be managed is less.

How is traditional WAN and SD-WAN similar?

  • Traditional WAN and SD-WAN connect geographically dispersed branch locations. Both provide seamless communication and exchange of data between the organisation’s branches, remote offices, and data centres.
  • Traditional WAN and SD-WAN support multiple applications like voice, video, cloud applications, and data. Different traffic is diverted through various mediums at high QoS levels.
  • Traditional and SD-WAN handle security concerns efficiently. Despite the differing security mechanisms, firewalls, encryption, and access controls help prevent unauthorised access and network threats.

Difference between traditional WAN and SD-WAN

  • Traditional WAN on MPLS allows traffic prioritisation, offering reliable and predictable user traffic, but it is expensive. SD-WAN provides the same with upgraded bandwidth at a low internet cost. SD-WAN uses broadband, LTE, and 5G to reduce expenses compared to expensive MPLS networks. Moreover, SD-WAN allows application prioritisation resulting in zero packet loss.
  • Traditional WAN allows site-to-site secure communication. SD-WAN uses end-to-end encryption over a VPN connection. Users can enforce and integrate extra security layers for centralised threat management.
  • Traditional WAN configuration is manual as it is distributed. Whereas SD-WAN can be scaled to meet organisations’ expansion demands. Partnering with a managed service provider can add to the scalability and control of the network.

Depending on the organisation’s requirements, a network service should be selected. A skilled workforce is mandatory for both WAN and SD-WAN to manage and maintain the network. Organisations embracing SD-WAN can avail of managed services for efficient and secure connectivity.

SMOAD SD-WAN offers centralised control with dynamic traffic routing. It provides advanced security features with multiple transport options. Our services are flexible and come at a reasonable cost compared to traditional WAN routing.

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