A wide area network (WAN) can simply be described as a network covering a broad area, for example, a telecommunications network linking several regions within a country or even one country with another. Computers that are connected to a WAN are connected through public networks like telephone systems. They can also be linked through satellites, the largest WAN currently in existence is the Internet. Local and international businesses and governments use WANs rather extensively to ensure the transfer of data among relevant parties. WANs have shown to be remarkably complex and costly to set-up and maintain.
Software-defined WAN is rather hard to define; this majorly arises because its description varies. The most relevant way of describing this term is by viewing it as an extension of the software-defined networking (SDN) concept. Like SDN, SD-WAN aims to create a platform to centralize the bulk of network configuration and management using special software. This essentially gives network operators more control. Owing to hurdles arising from the complexity and inflexibility of WANs a solution emerged, this involved the transfer of the control logic into software and getting rid of the inconsistencies of the underlying hardware boxes and links. If done right the result is a SD-WAN that is dynamic, fluid, application-aware and able to adjust intelligently to prevailing network conditions.
This can be better understood by comparing SD-WANs with virtualization. Virtualization, as many know, revolves around abstraction. In a WAN based on and defined by software, an application abstracts the network body topology and simplifies the hassle of organizing the infrastructure by some methods. It’s a technology completely based on software and is designed to maximize the potential of one’s network.
Cloud computing has grown over the years and with it the advent of cloud WANs. The cloud’s capacity to topple long-standing IT practices knows no limits. Having already changed the way technological companies deliver applications and infrastructure, cloud services could spell transformation in the way they design and manage wide area networks. Using a new generation of services installed in co-located hubs and delivered over the internet, IT companies aim to add speed and flexibility to the wide area network and even try to cut back on expenditure.
Cloud-based WANs promote and uphold collaboration in a cloud environment, giving one’s business the ability to keep in touch and share more easily outside of the traditional methods. If a company is working on a given assignment across different locations, the company could utilize cloud-based WAN to give employees, contractors and third parties access to the same files and resources needed in the project. It can be used to come up with a model that makes it easy to share records with advisors or any relevant party.