SD-WAN didn’t simply appear out of nowhere. It’s the culmination of a number of technological advances.Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is the network approach that’s fueling a number of advances for enterprises, including digital transformation, network optimization and new levels of security monitoring. SD-WAN equips enterprises to improve uptime and maximize their bandwidth savings.

What’s impressive about SD-WAN is not just what it can do for network infrastructure, but also the path from which it was developed. SD-WAN wasn’t just created out of nothing; there were technologies that built on one another and then converged at the right time to make SD-WAN possible. There are three major areas that contributed to this path: voice, data and platform technology.

Data: When fiber optic prices dropped, and copper lines were replaced, the capacity for data increased and became more affordable. Data transmissions became fast and cost-effective, rather than slow and expensive. Enterprises were suddenly no longer struggling with the cost of a large file download.

Voice: The availability of cheap broadband for easy data transmission opened up the opportunity for Internet Protocol (IP) voice calls. Enterprises were no longer forced to rely on the exclusive telecom lines but could instead leverage the internet for voice calls. Over The Top (OTT) providers suddenly had an opportunity to offer an alternative to landlines, and while these providers were initially underestimated by telecom providers, they are still in wide use today.

Platform: While the developments in data and voice made the cloud platform possible, neither could match the disruptive nature of this technology. The cloud is the great equalizer, giving companies of all sizes access to the latest technology to offer superior customer experiences. Not only are cloud solutions more cost-effective for everyone from small businesses to large enterprises, but the cloud offers agility that helps companies shift priorities, tools, and features and even business plans without cumbersome hardware and software changes. Enterprises can change their plans without touching any hardware.

The convergence: The advance of IP voice calls introduced new possibilities for collaboration, giving rise to unified communications (UC), in turn impacting how workplaces shared information and workspaces. In addition, cloud platforms offered advancing forms of reporting on everything from visitors’ behavior on a website to the length of a phone call to customer service. This flow of data quickly alerted enterprises to the hefty cost of exponentially multiplying the traffic coming over multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines.

The introduction of SD-WAN is a response to this increased demand that is, in turn, caused by advances that make it possible to transmit heavy loads of data over a fiber optic line. Voice, data and platform technology have all played a role in the development of SD-WAN, both causing its existence and requiring it at the same time.

SD-WAN not only offers alternatives to MPLS to save on bandwidth costs, but also offers network optimization, increased control and visibility, and better security control. Contact us at SimpleWAN to find out how SD-WAN can help drive your goals for digital transformation and network infrastructure management.