There are many benefits to SD-WAN over a VPN. Cloud-based SD-WAN offers scalability, performance, reliability, and operational agility. However, an internet-based VPN might make more sense for a small or mid-size enterprise.
Cloud-based SD-WAN and VPN solutions can help enterprises manage their global data and applications more efficiently. With a secure, reliable network, enterprise applications and data can be prioritized to ensure they get the fastest path to their intended destination. This enables businesses to minimize operational costs and ensure that data is transferred most efficiently. The SD-WAN solution also provides unified networking capabilities and secure access from edge to edge, making it easier to protect sensitive business information.
Despite the benefits of SD-WAN, enterprises continue to face a range of challenges. Furthermore, SD-WAN solutions reduce the strain on headquarters networks.
VPN solutions can suffer from performance issues that result from reliance on the public internet. For example, latency and spikes in traffic can cause a slow connection. By contrast, an SD-WAN solution offers network optimization and application visibility to reduce downtime and ensure business continuity.
The cost of WAN infrastructure can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, especially for international companies. These expenses include routers, firewalls, WAN optimization appliances, and engineers. So even if you’re only using an SD-WAN to improve the quality of your business connections, you’ll still be spending money on the infrastructure.
SD-WAN and VPN solutions are often built on a tunnel-based architecture, introducing costly overheads such as headers and consuming precious bandwidth. In addition, this approach significantly impacts application performance because all traffic is assigned to the tunnel, reducing the visibility of applications. Furthermore, telemetry,, such as latency and jitter,, is available only at the tunnel level.
SD-WAN solves these issues by prioritizing data over public and private network lines. This results in improved speed and reliability. With SD-WAN, you can also decide what data goes where. For example, a large medical company could route confidential data over MPLS while sending less sensitive data over the public internet.
SD-WAN offers better security, application awareness, and a seamless user experience. It can be used for traditional WAN and cloud applications and allows businesses to restrict traffic based on user profile and traffic type. In addition, both SD-WAN and VPN can be used to secure your network.
Modern SD-WAN solutions feature session awareness as a critical component of their technology. A session is a time-based event that involves specific application flows, each with varying quality levels. Using this insight, an intelligent fabric can steer individual sessions and route traffic flows. Additionally, some SD-WAN solutions can conduct sessions based on service-level objectives.
An internet-based VPN can reduce bandwidth costs, but the public network limits its performance. A VPN can suffer from high latency if it spans a large geographical area. Additionally, the latency may increase with frequent internet congestion. On the other hand, SD-WAN can overcome geographical barriers without negatively impacting performance. With its application-aware routing and dynamic path selection, an SD-WAN can ensure that applications receive the commission they need. Another advantage of SD-WAN is that it is cloud-based, so it does not require lengthy installations.
There are some critical differences between an SD-WAN and a VPN regarding security. While both share similar architecture, the main difference is how they are secured. Essentially, both SD-WAN and VPNs have a firewall and central controls that enable them to implement end-to-end encryption, firewalls, and URL filtering. Additionally, both use authentication at each endpoint.
Security is a crucial component of any network, and SD-WAN provides both. This is because it offers more flexibility and scalability. SD-WANs can be configured to perform any function you might need from them. In addition, they can integrate with existing IT infrastructure, meaning your network management and monitoring are more efficient. This can reduce the risk of security breaches and improve the user experience.
An SD-WAN also has more advanced security features than a VPN. For instance, an SD-WAN can automatically repair outages and automatically align with the network topology. Additionally, it eliminates the need for MPLS or VPLS network circuits. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses that want a complete security solution without the high cost and complexity of a VPN.
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