SD-WAN, the next IT-hype?

What is SD-WAN?
To understand SD-WAN, we must go back in time. At the end of the last century the only way to connect various offices was using leased lines, afterwards also known as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). Slowly Internet connections became faster and more reliable. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) using the Internet became an alternative to MPLS. SD-WAN is basically an improved VPN and allows organizations to make use of the low-cost Internet (VPN) connections, but without the drawbacks associated with the VPN.

Features of MPLS, VPN and WAN SD:

Delivery – – + + + +
Costs – – + + + +
Management + + – – + +
QoS – – + +
Reliability + + + +
Security + + – / + ++

How does it work?
Most SD WAN solutions are Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP). For example Viptela Routers register themselves at Viptela, when they are connected to the Internet. Based on their unique serial number, they are then automatically passed on to the management platform (in the Cloud) of the customer and automatically obtain its configuration, which was already defined. So really ‘Zero Touch’! Fully meshed VPN is then automatically built. This is especially useful for organizations that use VoIP and / or video conferencing. Instead of connecting through the central site (data center), connections can now be established with a direct connection between two locations. This will considerably relieve the line to the central location.


SD-WAN and Cloud
Many organizations use ‘the Cloud’, for example for Office365 or Amazon. With help of SD-WAN it is possible to realize a local ‘break-out’ to go directly to the Cloud. This relieves the central site tremendously!

SD WAN and QoS
Almost all organizations use QoS. Usually this is configured with the existing routers. Unfortunately, routers can only distinguish traffic on TCP port number. This means FaceBook (=port-80) gets the same priority as your SAP client (=port-80). Most SD WAN solutions use DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) on Layer-7 and can distinguish between Facebook and SAP!

SD WAN Vendors
There are some serious SD WAN ‘players’ in the market, think of Meraki (acquired by Cisco), Ocedo (recently acquired by Riverbed) Velo Cloud and Viptela. After a Market survey, IPknowledge has decided to select Riverbed (Ocedo) and Viptela.

Although Ocedo has been on the market since 2015, Riverbed has decided to rename this solution (SteelConnect) and to reintroduce in October 2016. IPknowledge has been introduced to the Ocedo product set (Gateway, Switch and Access Point),  at the end of 2015. Ipknowledge expects to test Steelconnect very soon!

Viptela arising from Cisco and Juniper focused on the US and has already a large number of users, each with> 1,000 locations. The Viptela products consists of Gateways (vEdges called). The vEdges are 100Mbps (with AES-256, 5x 1000Mbps, WiFi and LTE), 1000Mbps (AES-256, 8x 1000Mbps, WiFi and LTE) 10Gbps and virtual available.