Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is favored by distributed enterprises needing a high level of visibility and centralized control. Branches can be provisioned from headquarters in minutes, and any troubleshooting can be done without traveling to the branch.
Businesses are finding that SD-WAN answers some of the other challenges that come with an increasingly complex network environment. Deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are simply devices equipped with sensors, helps an organization improve inventory monitoring, deliver better service, enhance productivity, and gather important data about a variety of services.
A fleet of IoT devices, whether they are monitors on a patient in a clinic or pressure gauges on oil tankers, can significantly benefit the company in terms of cost savings and process improvement. What they also bring are network complications. The number of additional endpoints, plus their connectivity to cloud applications, can make managing security a challenge. IoT devices also introduce a flow of data that the company is generally ill-equipped to handle. The additional traffic to the network can cause congestion and new security concerns.
The complexity of IoT: Companies are using these devices in a variety of ways, and each device tends to have unique requirements when it comes to reliability, bandwidth, latency and security. They may also have additional requirements, such as wireless connectivity or analytics on the device.
Enter SD-WAN: IoT offers a variety of benefits, but a fleet of these devices also requires some special attention to network solutions. SD-WAN provides a few benefits that can prove effective in managing the challenges of IoT:
- Prioritized pathways give network administrators the ability to set up business policies for the type of connections used by different network traffic. While some network traffic may be low-priority and can be transmitted over the public internet, IoT will require a low-latency, reliable line like multi-protocol label switching (MPLS).
- Security segmentation helps network monitors detect and isolate any suspicious activity on the network. If an IoT device has been lost, for instance, the device can be isolated so that a potential breach doesn’t affect other endpoints on the network.
- Cost reductions are possible with SD-WAN by leveraging a variety of connection options, from MPLS to public internet. A mission-critical IoT transmission may require a costly MPLS connection, but when a device is simply communicating a low-level summary, the transmission can be routed to a less-secure, less-reliable pathway.
SD-WAN is proving to be an effective way to manage networks with a wide disparity of requirements, whether it’s a branch location with specific application needs or a fleet of IoT devices with a different set of priorities. A centralized management and troubleshooting overlay makes it attractive for network administrators looking for ways to cut costs, improve visibility and remove complexity.
Contact us at Compass Solutions for a more in-depth discussion of appropriate applications for SD-WAN. We’ll help you choose the right network solution at the price point that fits your enterprise’s budget.