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Course overview
Jeff Kish
Nugget trainer since 2019
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Concepts for Cisco Network Engineers: What is SD-WAN FAQs: Cost, Training, Value

In simple terms, what is SD-WAN with an example?

SD-WAN stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network, it's a technology that simplifies and enhances the management of wide area networks using virtually programmable control mechanisms. Examples of SD-WAN exist all over the globe because the distance between connections is far less of a factor in SD-WAN. Multinational organizations can connect branch offices and users using publicly available network infrastructure but use software to partition those connections and segregate their traffic from public traffic.

What are the main differences between SD-WAN and normal WAN?

The main difference between traditional wide area networks (WAN) and software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) is that SD-WANs don't rely on hardware-centric infrastructure. That means that while WANs are highly dependent on manual configuration, SD-WAN is able to take advantage of software-defined networking and configurations to centrally manage and optimize traffic. Additionally, SD-WANs benefit from dynamic routing and application-aware traffic prioritization, plus the ability to utilize multiple connection types.

What are the major advantages or upsides of SD-WAN?

The major upside to using SD-WAN is that in an SD-WAN, traffic is prioritized and optimized based on predefined policies which can be altered remotely – this has many follow-on benefits. Scalability is one such upside: businesses can easily adjust network resources to accommodate changes in demand. Enhanced throughput ensures optimal performance for selected applications. Security is a huge upside to SD-WAN whose features include encryption and centralized policy enforcement.

What, if any, are the major downsides of SD-WAN?

If enhanced capabilities and versatility is a key upside of SD-WAN, implementation cost (material and immaterial) is the major downside. SD-WANs are necessarily more complicated than a traditional alternative, and the cost of implementing one is felt in training personnel in their planning, implementation, maintenance and troubleshooting. Initial investment in equipment and software can also be expensive, and ongoing maintenance expenses are significant – albeit different from maintaining a traditional WAN.

Why should someone take this SD-WAN course?

If you want to be a Cisco network engineer, this SD-WAN course makes sure you're up-to-date with one of the IT industry's most transformative technologies. Traditional WAN solutions are getting replaced with software-defined approaches, and Cisco provides some of the most versatile technology for accomplishing them. If employment with some of the world's largest and most interesting networks interests you, get started with an SD-WAN course like this one.
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