As IT environments become more complex with cloud applications and enterprises expanding the number of their branch locations, the need for a better network solution becomes clear. Enterprises need better visibility and the ability to configure and troubleshoot from headquarters. The answer for many enterprises is software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
SD-WAN provides a number of solutions to the challenges of an overly complex network infrastructure. Centralized management, troubleshooting, and configuration, along with the ability to optimize pathways for different types of network traffic are just two of the benefits that come with SD-WAN.
Enterprises deploying SD-WAN anticipate these benefits, but the increasing use of the technology, as well as an explosion of vendors offering the solution, mean there are some common misconceptions that become intermingled with the true deliverables of the network. Take a look at a few of the most prevalent misconceptions:
Application performance is improved by forward error correction (FEC). FEC is a tool that makes data more reliable when it is encoded in a redundant method. While this does protect against dropped packets, it doesn’t improve performance. In fact, because FEC causes data traffic to increase, it can negatively impact performance. It’s important to note that performance and reliability are not interchangeable terms.
Quality of Service (QoS) and dynamic path selection are the same thing.Dynamic path selection is about choosing the right path for each type of network transmission. This is the decision to transmit video over multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) versus directing an email over broadband. QoS, by contrast, is about the reservation of bandwidth for better control over mission-critical transmissions. Dynamic path selection and QoS are related, but not the same.
SD-WAN always leads to cost reduction, specifically around MPLS. Reducing the cost of the network shouldn’t be the primary motivation for switching to SD-WAN, because the savings are often negligible. If an enterprise completely replaces MPLS, this might be possible, but in many cases, enterprises retain MPLS use for critical transmissions and add in more options for other types of traffic. The increased demand on the network due to data flowing from both cloud applications and Internet of Things (IoT) devices means that overall traffic increases. It may be better to measure savings in terms of the potential growth of the networking budget as it becomes more complex.
QoS isn’t necessary because it naturally happens with prioritization. Prioritizing network traffic isn’t the same as a focused strategy that prioritizes performance. It’s important for network plans to include objectives related to performance, reliability and availability, all executed within a QoS plan.
Learn more about the true benefits of SD-WAN and what it can do for organizations with an increasingly complex network environment. Contact us at Truth Comm for more information.