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SD-WAN: What is it and Why is it Changing Business Networking?

Image depiction of networking across the globe
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

A Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN landscape that provides businesses the flexibility to leverage any combination of transport techniques and services, including multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), 4G/5G LTE, and other types of internet connections. It allows companies to reduce costs by being able to limit the use of more expensive services, like MPLS, therefore making SD-WAN an invaluable implementation.

Advantages of SD-WAN

  • Secure traffic across broadband internet into the cloud
  • Improved OpEx by replacing expensive MPLS services with flexible broadband
  • Increased performance of cloud-based infrastructure and/or platforms
  • Simplified web portal for managing operations
  • Improved user-experience and productivity for cloud-based applications (public or private).


In short, MPLS is a premium internet-adjacent delivery service for private connections linking data centers to branch offices. It differentiates between standard internet transport by establishing pre-determined, highly efficient and secure routes. It’s reliable and secure, but with high-traffic volumes from cloud adoption, internet speeds are impacted from limited bandwidth and latency. When traffic becomes backhauled, that’s where costs rise.

MPLS is a valuable service, and it is improved with SD-WAN by limiting usage to non-high-volume use cases to save on both productivity and expenses. It can also be replaced entirely by SD-WAN, but that is not a recommended approach.

Benefits of SD-WAN

SD-WAN is a new technology with a board range of offerings and varying designs. It allows IT to tackle daily challenges with one network implementation. With SD-WAN, networks can deliver routing efficiently, protect itself from threats, offload expensive circuits efficiently, and simplify WAN network management.

Is SD-WAN In Your Near Future?

Implementing a SD-WAN solution can be challenging to achieve without a well-thought-out plan. Here are some steps to follow to adequately assess your company’s needs.

Step 1: Discovery

You will need a solid understanding of your network to identify how a SD-WAN solution can fit. Review your existing contracts. Timing and cost are two key factors that will impact your decision.

Try to stay ahead of as many challenges as you can by asking your carriers/service providers the following questions:

  1. “When is the contract end-date?”
  2. “What are the terms for cancellation?
  3. “If I switch to SD-WAN before my contract is up, could you offer any spend shift?

Step 2: Preparation

Source diverse Internet Service Providers and delivery methods to optimize SD-WAN by allowing it to select the best network at any given moment.

Step 3: Guidance

Whether you’re looking for in search of an IT partner or already have a dedicated IT team, be sure they have your best interests at heart, understand your desired outcome, and have the technical know-how to lead the project from not just start to finish, but serve as an ongoing resource for management, optimization or training.

Vet Out Your Experts

Understanding the primary qualifications of any SD-WAN reseller is critical before making a decision to upgrade. Superior Managed IT has experience in SD-WAN procurement, design and implementation and will work closely with your team to construct the best design for your company. If you are currently with another service provider and want to vet out their experience, be sure to ask them these important questions:

  1. What is your strategy around security?
  2. How do you approach SD-WAN deployments?
  3. How many deployments have you been a part of? Are they similar to what I’m trying to accomplish?

Getting Started

Let us know how we can help you optimize your network traffic and security by giving us a call at 612-999-6200, or send us a message to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

About the author

Erin Gibbs

Erin Gibbs

Erin joined the SMIT Team in 2017. Her passion for technology and commitment to helping others inspired her career transition from Transportation Safety & Compliance into the Managed Services industry. With her unique blend of regulatory knowledge and tech-savvy skills, Erin plays a pivotal role in enhancing our team's capabilities and ensuring client satisfaction.

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