Enterprises expect to gain a wealth of benefits from the deployment of the software-defined branch (SD-Branch), including cost reduction and ease of operation. In order to adequately support SD-Branch, enterprises must improve Wi-Fi in terms of security, management, and integration.
Enterprises are utilizing software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to connect local area networks (LAN) to the internet at branch offices. This allows for a unified platform – a far superior option than having unique management consoles dedicated to each function.
Foundational to this approach is the ability for SD-Branch network systems to utilize robust Wi-Fi support, including the prioritization of certain mission-critical users and applications, the accessibility of a visual map of Wi-Fi use, analysis of the usage, and the ability to set automated policy.
In addition, the security features on an SD-Branch platform should support the requirements of Wi-Fi. Particularly with more enterprises using Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it’s important that data traveling across Wi-Fi is secure. Wi-Fi suppliers often have built-in features that prioritize security such as firewalls, encryption, and segmenting of network traffic.
The use of Wi-Fi can vary based on the type of business it is supporting. A coffee shop will need continuous connectivity for sales and security, including specific applications such as point of sale, security cameras, IoT technology on refrigeration, and guest Wi-Fi.
By contrast, a retail bank branch location will need Wi-Fi support for ATM operations, physical security, employee processes, point of sale, and security cameras, to name just a few.
SD-Branch solutions and Wi-Fi must work in conjunction to support these varying needs:
- The ability to prioritize certain transmissions with a high level of visibility.
- Offer support for multiple networks and allow for segmentation of those networks.
- Provide security features such as firewalls that link to cloud-based security service.
- Centralized management with network orchestration and automated policy.
When operating at branch locations, troubleshooting the network can be slow and challenging, but the addition of SD-Branch means that network professionals can identify slowdowns and solve the underlying issue from a centralized management dashboard.
While SD-Branch technology does not solve every networking problem at the branch location, enterprises are finding that when robust Wi-Fi is present, management and troubleshooting at the branch is easier. SD-Branch solutions are being implemented across verticals in financial services, restaurants, retail and manufacturing. It is a valuable tool for deploying new branch locations quickly and efficiently. Over time it is expected that SD-Branch will become a standard implementation for connectivity across enterprises with geographically dispersed branch locations.To learn more about emerging network technology, contact us at Compass Solutions. We can help you leverage the right networking solutions for your enterprise, whether you are supporting five branch locations or 500.