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As enterprises contemplate the network changes they require to accommodate a growing number of mobile employees, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, and cloud technology, many are turning to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). SD-WAN offers solutions to common challenges, such as scalability, the ability to segment different types of network traffic and centralized visibility and management.

When it comes time to decide on an SD-WAN vendor, enterprises often struggle to distinguish between offerings. Vendors are flooding the market, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of SD-WAN, but some service providers are more equipped to handle enterprise-level network challenges better than others. In many of these situations, the decision becomes murky, until someone decides that all the vendors are offering virtually the same package, and they make a choice based on price alone.

To make an informed choice about your SD-WAN provider, you need to include some key considerations:

Flexibility for multi-cloud deployment: 

Consider not only your current network needs, but also the future technology that may impact your enterprise. For instance, is the SD-WAN solution equipped to handle Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud environments? You need to be sure that your SD-WAN provider can handle multiple public clouds as well as a multi-cloud deployment model.

Managing a variety of wide area network (WAN) deployment scenarios: 

You need to determine whether the SD-WAN solution can support a hybrid approach with multiple underlying transport networks, such as broadband, multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) and long-term evolution (LTE) as a way to optimize the cost per data bit transported.

It’s also important to evaluate whether the system has the ability to support traffic on the Internet Protocol (IP)/MPLS transport links by offering LTE backup support, as determined by a centralized management policy.

Determine whether the SD-WAN solution provides a specialized routing option that seamlessly connects underlay transport segments that are disjointed, called disjointed transport.

Deployment options that support each branch and data center: 

It will be key to consider exactly how SD-WAN will be deployed at your branches. Is there a physical device that offers a range of bandwidth and port requirements, or will you be using a virtual overlay for branch configuration, management and troubleshooting?

You should also ask about routing compatibility and find out whether the provider’s SD-WAN solution will require you to reconfigure your routers or if they provide a comprehensive routing stack. 

To learn more about what you should be looking for in an SD-WAN service provider, contact us at Access One. We can help you determine the most critical considerations for your particular SD-WAN needs to create a solution that serves your current network needs and supports you into the future.