SD-WAN

Top 5 SD-WAN solutions for 2024

8 min. read
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Juniper Networks
Fortinet
Cisco

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SD-WAN is a technology that simplifies the management and operation of your wide area network. It allows you to connect different locations (like offices or data centres) using software instead of traditional hardware. This means you can control and optimise your network traffic centrally, making it more agile and responsive.

What's great about SD-WAN is that you can use multiple types of connections, like broadband internet or private lines, and it's smart enough to choose the best path for your data traffic. Plus, it's a big help in boosting security and reducing costs.

How can SD-WAN benefit IT professionals and businesses?

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving digital landscape, businesses and IT professionals are constantly seeking solutions that enhance network efficiency, adaptability, and security. Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) has emerged as a transformative technology in this space, offering a myriad of benefits that align with the core needs of modern enterprises. Here's a closer look at how SD-WAN is redefining the networking realm in terms of improved performance, enhanced flexibility, and robust security:

Improved performance

SD-WAN excels in enhancing network performance through optimised bandwidth usage, ensuring efficient use of network resources. It enables prioritisation of critical applications, ensuring they receive the necessary bandwidth and resources, which is crucial for optimal performance. The technology's intelligent routing capabilities are designed to reduce latency, significantly improving the performance of time-sensitive applications like VoIP and video conferencing.

Enhanced flexibility

The agility of SD-WAN in network management is a major advantage. It allows IT teams to swiftly adjust network policies and configurations, adapting to changing needs without manual intervention on individual routers. The scalability of SD-WAN is particularly beneficial for businesses in growth phases or undergoing digital transformations. It also supports a mix of connectivity types and integrates seamlessly with cloud services, offering unparalleled flexibility in network design and utilisation.

Robust security

Security is a cornerstone of SD-WAN solutions. Many come with integrated security features such as encryption, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems, creating a more secure WAN architecture. Network segmentation is made easy with SD-WAN, allowing sensitive data to be isolated and reducing the overall attack surface. This enhanced security, combined with better control over data flows, assists businesses in meeting compliance requirements more efficiently, making SD-WAN an attractive option for companies prioritising data security.

In summary, SD-WAN empowers IT professionals to optimise network performance, adapt to changing business needs, enhance security, and streamline network management. It's a technology that aligns well with the demands of modern businesses, particularly those with distributed operations and a focus on digital transformation.

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The solutions in this article have been placed in random order. We do not endorse our readers to select only those solutions mentioned in this article. Our research consists of the opinion of our experts and should not be construed as statements of fact. When an organisation wishes to know which solutions fit them best, please contact Nomios. We are happy to help you in your search for the right solution.

Top 5 SD-WAN solutions

Now, let's take a closer look at the landscape of SD-WAN technology. In this section, we'll introduce you to six notable SD-WAN solutions that are anticipated to play a significant role in 2024. These solutions offer diverse features and capabilities, providing options for businesses seeking the right fit for their networking needs.

1. AI-driven SD-WAN by Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks' SD-WAN solution is characterised by its AI-driven capabilities and focus on simplifying network operations while ensuring secure and resilient connectivity, especially for cloud-centric businesses. Key aspects of their solution include:

  • AI-driven technology: Utilises Juniper Mist AI to enable exceptional IT-user and end-user network experiences. This AI integration simplifies deployments and reduces troubleshooting time.
  • Session Smart Routing: Powered by Juniper Session Smart Routing, it provides a flexible, intelligent network fabric, enhancing performance and security.
  • WAN assurance: Works with Juniper Mist WAN Assurance to deliver AI-based insights and automated troubleshooting for improved network uptime and performance.
  • Streamlined operations: Offers features like automated templating tools and zero-touch provisioning (ZTP), allowing rapid deployment of sites and quicker resolution of network issues.
  • Enhanced security: Focuses on zero trust session integrity driven by secure vector routing and deny-by-default access policies, ensuring robust security across the WAN​​.

2. Secure SD-WAN by Fortinet

Fortinet's Secure SD-WAN, a component of their FortiGate offerings, is tailored for cloud-first, security-sensitive, and global enterprises, as well as hybrid workforces. It stands out for its comprehensive and flexible approach, integrating several key functions:

  • Consolidated network and security services: It converges SD-WAN, next-generation firewall (NGFW), advanced routing, and ZTNA application gateway functions within one operating system, simplifying the network and security architecture.
  • Seamless transition to SASE and SD-branch: Fortinet's solution lays the foundation for a smooth transition to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and SD-branch, supporting organisations in their journey towards Zero Trust Architecture.
  • FortiSASE integration: FortiSASE extends secure access and high-performance connectivity, regardless of geographical location. It includes a full suite of networking and security capabilities, such as secure web gateway (SWG), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud access security broker (CASB), Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), and integration with secure SD-WAN.
  • Enhanced security and performance features: The solution ensures high application availability and performance, integrates advanced NGFW and offers scalable, high-performance capabilities with no performance impact.
  • Multi-cloud support and Zero-Touch Provisioning: It enables secure and efficient connectivity across cloud environments and facilitates large-scale, rapid deployment of the SD-WAN solution.
  • Centralised management and analytics: Fortinet Secure SD-WAN provides end-to-end visibility, analytics, and reporting, which is critical for accelerating zero-trust initiatives. It enables IT teams to manage deployments, configurations, and operations centrally, enhancing operational efficiencies.

3. Cisco Meraki’s SD-WAN

Cisco Meraki's SD-WAN solution is designed to provide secure, scalable, and optimised network experiences for various workloads and environments. Key features of Meraki SD-WAN include:

  • Comprehensive security: Offers both on-premises and cloud network security capabilities, leveraging advanced security analysis by Cisco Talos for robust threat defence.
  • Proactive monitoring: Implements continuous application performance monitoring across various network layers to ensure consistent and optimal performance.
  • Flexible connectivity: Provides seamless connectivity to public and private cloud environments, essential for enterprises with distributed cloud resources.
  • Resilient network infrastructure: Features integrated wired and cellular WAN, switching, and Wi-Fi for building robust and reliable network connections.
  • Cost efficiency: Demonstrates significant savings in WAN expenses, especially beneficial when transitioning from traditional MPLS to more cost-effective broadband solutions.
  • Unified management platform: Designed to integrate seamlessly with other Cisco products, creating a comprehensive network management ecosystem suitable for complex enterprise environments.
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4. Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN

Cisco's Catalyst SD-WAN offers a sophisticated and secure networking solution for enterprises, blending advanced security, multi-cloud capabilities, and predictive analytics. This solution is tailored to meet the complex demands of modern business environments. Here are six of its most significant features:

  • Robust security: Integrated security features, including zero-trust enforcement and secure segmentation, provide comprehensive protection for branches, remote users, and cloud-based applications.
  • Integrated multi-cloud capabilities: Offers seamless connectivity with major cloud providers and optimises SaaS applications, essential for enterprises utilising multi-cloud environments.
  • Predictive intelligence and analytics: Utilises advanced analytics and tools like ThousandEyes to transform network operations from reactive to predictive, providing deeper insights for better decision-making.
  • Versatile connectivity options: Supports deployment over various connection types (internet, broadband, MPLS, 5G/LTE, satellite), ensuring network resilience and flexibility for diverse enterprise needs.
  • Simplified WAN management: Features flexible deployment options, multitenancy, and multi-region fabric support, simplifying the management of growing and complex WAN infrastructures.
  • Foundation for SASE architecture: Provides a solid base for transitioning to a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, crucial for enterprises looking to converge networking and security for seamless connectivity.

5. Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN

Palo Alto Networks' Prisma SD-WAN offers a next-generation solution that integrates advanced technologies and features to meet the demands of modern enterprise networks:

  • Elastic networks: Provides flexible connectivity with zero routing complexity, featuring a controller-based architecture that seamlessly builds, manages, and updates the network while ensuring edge resiliency.
  • App-defined fabric: Enables direct-to-app access with application-aware traffic engineering based on application SLAs, ensuring an exceptional user experience for all SaaS, cloud, and business-critical/private applications.
  • Zero trust security: Offers one-click deployment with Prisma Access, protecting users, applications, and assets with integrated Cloud-Delivered Security Services for branch offices.
  • AI/ML-powered automation: Utilises AI and ML advancements for automating complex IT and network operations, increasing productivity, and reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR).
  • Exceptional user experience: Prisma SD-WAN ensures application availability and visibility, delivering a 10x improvement in performance and addressing the challenges of packet-based networks.
  • Simplified operations: Reduces network trouble tickets by up to 99%, simplifying network functions and aiding in expedited migrations to SASE architectures.
  • Improved security outcomes: Natively applies best-in-class security with ZTNA 2.0 to branches, contributing to a 45% reduction in breaches​​.

Nomios’ SD-WAN vendors

At Nomios, we understand that selecting the ideal SD-WAN solution and seamlessly integrating it into your existing network can be a complex process. Our team of experienced experts is dedicated to simplifying this journey for you. We take a consultative approach, working closely with your organisation to assess your unique requirements, budget constraints, and long-term goals.

Our goal is to provide you with the insights and guidance needed to make an informed decision. Once the right SD-WAN solution is identified, our skilled professionals will handle the implementation process, ensuring minimal disruption to your operations. With Nomios by your side, you can harness the power of SD-WAN technology confidently, knowing that your network is optimised for performance, security, and flexibility.

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