Implementing SD-WAN Connectivity – Best Practices and Considerations


A robust infrastructure is a critical part of any business. It strengthens their digital presence, helps them adapt to changes, and maintains high productivity.

IT teams must understand their business model and goals before choosing an SD-WAN solution. This will help them build advocates, avoid internal conflict, and ease migration.

Identify Your Needs

The first step in implementing SD-WAN is to identify your network needs. This will include assessing bandwidth requirements, application performance, and traffic patterns. The assessment will help you identify potential bottlenecks and plan accordingly. You can then use the assessment results to guide your selection process.

It’s important to look for an SD WAN connectivity that offers a range of features, including bandwidth steering and circuit bonding. This will allow you to optimize your existing bandwidth by classifying different types of traffic and routing them over the best paths available at any given time. SD-WAN solutions differ in how they support this functionality, so be prepared to discuss your requirements with potential vendors.

Also, choose a managed SD-WAN provider with a good industry reputation. 123NET is one example, with an excellent peering relationship listed on PeeringDB and a history of satisfied customers.

Create a Network Map

SD-WAN allows you to distribute traffic across multiple virtual tunnels, increasing redundancy. This means that even if one of the connections fails, your organization can continue operating with minimal downtime.

You can also leverage SD-WAN to optimize bandwidth utilization by using monitoring tools to evaluate various network components and paths to identify patterns and trends. This data can help you make super-informed decisions about traffic prioritization and routing policies to improve performance.

Once you’ve determined that SD-WAN is a good fit for your business, aligning with decision-makers and other stakeholders on the project’s goals is important. This will help build advocates and avoid internal conflict that could derail the initiative. Understanding the resources and expertise needed to design, install and manage the system long-term is also essential. Depending on your needs, you may need to choose between fully managed services or an unmanaged approach.

Identify Your Routers

Many SD-WAN solutions utilize customer premises equipment (CPE) that combines router functionality with WAN optimization capabilities. These devices can connect to Internet connections, cellular or satellite links and provide secure connectivity for remote workers.

IT teams must decide how to deploy, manage and monitor the solution long-term – DIY, co-managed, or offloading to a managed service provider. This decision will influence what capabilities and features are available to the organization, such as automated network optimization, bandwidth prioritization, and security innovation like app-aware firewalls, IPS, URL filtering, and AMP.

A business policy is a set of rules that define the actions taken by an Edge device when it matches certain conditions or parameters. These include IP addresses, ports, VLAN IDs, interfaces, applications, DSCP tags, etc. These policies are configured at the Profile and Edge levels and are applied to data packets at the network perimeter.

Create a Policy

SD-WAN enables IT to deliver secure, high-performance networking with centralized control and holistic visibility. But it requires teams to overcome risk aversion, especially when new to the technology.

The initial step is to create a policy. When choosing an MSP, ask for rave customer reviews regarding specific features of the solution and technical and general customer support.

A policy specifies applications and services and a traffic distribution profile that determines how the firewall selects a path for each incoming packet. It monitors the characteristics of multiple paths and switches to a different path when thresholds for latency, jitter, or packet loss are exceeded.

Configure Your Endpoints

Depending on the configuration chosen, an SD-WAN can monitor paths between locations, select a preferred route for application traffic and switch at packet granularity. This feature helps to reduce jitter and latency that impact voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls, data backups, and real-time applications.

Additionally, an SD-WAN can prioritize bandwidth access to business-critical apps, promote increment in Internet broadband connectivity and optimize data traffic using WAN optimization techniques like deduplication and compression. This helps lower the total cost of network ownership and eliminates the need to upgrade or replace existing private multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) links.

Lastly, an SD-WAN can automate the deployment and configuration of new sites with zero-touch and plug-and-play capabilities, even for distributed offices with different IT staffing models and software requirements. This can minimize network downtime and reduce IT workload.

Manage Your Network

SD-WAN enables you to take advantage of multiple internet service providers, allowing for a more diverse network that’s not dependent on a single connection point. It also enables you to route traffic to the best path based on business policies, minimizing latency and data loss.

Your chosen SD-WAN solution should monitor the performance of each path, ensuring that traffic is always routed over the most optimal path without backhauling data and should be able to switch between paths at packet granularity. It’s also a good idea to ensure the solution offers redundancy and resiliency by enabling the distribution of traffic across multiple virtual tunnels.

A managed SD-WAN provider can help you manage the complexities of an SD-WAN implementation by supporting access configuration, bandwidth prioritization, and endpoint installation. Look for a credible provider with rave customer reviews and a simple, user-friendly management portal that provides deep network visibility and holistic control.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *