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What Is SD WAN?

A Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN) is a way of changing or configuring your WAN network beyond the confines of hardware and network carriers.   

What Is SD WAN In Simple Terms?

SD WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a more efficient type of WAN used to create and manage long-distance networks. The key difference between SD WAN and regular WAN is that it’s “software-defined”, which makes it far faster to configure policies across your entire network. It also improves your network’s performance by making it easier to utilise multiple connections, instead of spending a fortune on private MPLS connections. This allows you to achieve a higher performance from your network at a lower cost.

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What Is The Difference Between WAN and SD WAN?

A WAN would typically be in the form of an MPLS, using the same provider for all connections to create a WAN. The WAN is normally created to overlay services within the same organisation/network. With an SD WAN setup, the network / WAN setup isn’t reliant on a single carrier or type of connection. Whereas typically a WAN built using MPLS is.  

SD WAN Diagram

How Does SD WAN Work?

You can use multiple (and sometimes different) lower cost internet facing connections to create a flexible and more adaptable network architecture. The creation of a SD WAN means you can utilise different types of internet connection and even different providers, using what is available in any given location rather than being stuck with one form of connection or another.

The SD WAN infrastructure (both the branch office / location router and head office or data centre router) is capable of being ‘software defined’ meaning that it can be configured in many different ways, depending on the situation at any given site. 

Why Use An SD WAN? 

It’s very flexible, more cost effective than alternative WAN solutions and the hardware can be reused multiple times in different locations should that need arise. 

What Are The Benefits Of SD WAN?

You can use multiple connectivity types (and all at the same time) such as Ethernet circuits, FTTP, FTTC, Fixed Wireless, 4G/5G mobile sims etc. to create branch office location connectivity, with the flexibility of routing different networks and services to any given location within your SD WAN solution without hardware changes.       

What Are Some Of The Weaknesses Of SD WAN?  

In some ways its strength can be its weakness, if you are able to use any internet connection to create the SD WAN, you then have multiple points of contact for support issues on the different connections rather than just one with the more conventional WAN setup. This can be mitigated by using a single supplier for the whole solution who then manages all the providers and services, almost like a sudo carrier.

SD WAN world graphic


MPLS and SD WAN provide a similar solution, however when comparing the two,  SD WAN is usually the clear winner. It costs less, it’s more secure and gives businesses far better network performance – hence why it has gained so much popularity in recent years. 

Can SD WAN Replace MPLS?

Yes SD WAN can be used as a direct replacement for MPLS as it provides a similar solution. It’s also cheaper, safer and provides higher performance.

Does SD WAN Improve Security? 

Many SD WAN solutions have enhanced built in security due to the nature of them using internet facing connections. Because of this perceived security risk, most if not all solutions will have secure encrypted tunnels between branch office and head office or data centre.    

How Will My Applications Behave Using SD WAN?

Your applications and services will behave just like they would on a MPLS or alternative WAN solution.  How well they work will always depend on two things:

  1. The quality and reliability of the internet connection at the head office / data centre. 
  2. The quality and reliability of the internet connection at your branch office.  

Which SD WAN Solution Is Best?

There are many SD Wan solutions available for businesses in the UK and it’s important to take your time finding the right one for you. For example, many businesses in the: construction, hospitality, logistics and retail industries rely on our MultiConnect+ product, which guarantees no downtime owing to a failing connection. Whereas other industries utilise our other SD Wan solutions.

For help choosing the best SD WAN solution for your business, call us now on 03331 500 140 or click on the button below to get a specialist to call you back shortly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between WAN and SD WAN?

The main difference between WAN and SD WAN is that a WAN is typically built using MPLS and relies on a single carrier or type of connection, while an SD WAN is “software defined” and can be configured in many different ways. SD WANs allow you to use multiple (and sometimes different) lower cost internet-facing connections, which makes them more flexible and adaptable than traditional WANs. Because of this, SD WANs offer greater performance and cost-efficiency compared to WANs.

What are the benefits of using SD WAN over traditional WAN solutions?

Using SD WAN has several benefits over traditional WAN solutions. It provides a more efficient and flexible network setup, allowing you to utilise multiple connections and connectivity types, resulting in improved network performance and cost savings. As well as that, SD WAN can be used as a direct replacement for MPLS and offers enhanced built-in security due to the use of encrypted tunnels.

Can SD WAN be used as a replacement for MPLS?

SD WAN can be used as a direct replacement for MPLS as it provides a similar solution. It is also cheaper, safer, and provides higher performance, which is why it has gained so much popularity in the past few years.

Can SD WAN help reduce network downtime and outages?

SD WAN can help reduce network downtime and outages by utilising multiple lower cost internet facing connections to create a more adaptable network architecture. On top of that, most SD WAN solutions have enhanced built in security which can help prevent network outages and improve overall network performance.

Is SD WAN suitable for businesses of all sizes?

SD WAN is suitable for businesses of all sizes, whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise. In fact, SD WAN can be particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses as it allows them to create a more efficient and cost effective network without having to invest in expensive hardware or dedicated connections. Plus, SD WAN’s flexibility and scalability make it a viable option for growing businesses as it can be easily adapted to meet their changing needs.

Is SD WAN suitable for businesses with multiple locations?

SD WAN is an excellent solution for businesses with multiple locations, as it provides a flexible network architecture that can utilise different types of internet connections (and even different internet providers). This makes it possible to create a seamless and efficient network across all of your locations while reducing costs and improving performance.

Can SD WAN be used for cloud based applications and services?

SD WAN can be used for cloud based applications and services. In fact, SD WAN is becoming increasingly popular for cloud deployments as it provides a more cost-effective way to manage and secure cloud traffic. By using SD WAN, you can optimise your network’s performance and security, regardless of where your cloud based applications are located.

What are some of the weaknesses of SD-WAN?

Some weaknesses of SD WAN include potential security issues if not properly managed, a need for staff to be trained to use it, possible interference with WAN routers, and the need for regular firmware updates to ensure proper functioning. However, these weaknesses can be mitigated with proper management, training and updates.

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APC Solutions

APC Solutions is a bespoke connectivity provider with over 20 years of experience in the wireless communications industry. Our expertise in network infrastructure and wireless technology allows us to provide superior connectivity solutions to customers across the UK.

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A Few Questions To Help

Thank you for your enquiry, we look forward to speaking with you very soon.

To help us deal with your enquiry quickly and efficiently please could you take a few minutes to answer the following questions.

To help you provide your answers please read the following notes

If it is an Internet connection you require, the property where the service will be installed must have a UK postcode

If you require services for a residential property, please be aware that we only provide residential grade wireless Internet services in the Essex area.

We do however provide business-grade services in residential properties across the UK. Please be advised the cost to provide this service exceeds the standard monthly costs for domestic internet connection and a suitable business level budget is required.

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