Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN: Critical Comparison

Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN: Critical Comparison

Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN

WAN is the abbreviation for Wide Area Network, though it is now quite an old concept but a deeply embedded thing and part of our lives. Anything technical, however, comes with advantages and some disadvantages too. This article presents a critical analysis of Traditional WAN Vs. SD-WAN.

Before moving forward with comparison, let us have a quick look at what these terms are and what they offer. In terms of prices and technical services, each of them has its status and capability. So here we go!

Traditional WAN

A traditional WAN network is entirely hardware-based, relying on Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) for effective and fast traffic flow. Technology staff put forth a great deal of effort to administer the network since it has layers of hardware resources deployed.

To route IP services to their intended clients, various hardware components and proprietary circuits get deployed.

It enables you to prioritize your network information, phone, and video traffic of the company you are working with. According to many stating platforms, security concerns, and obstacles are now the most pressing issues in this type of WANs. Scaling a traditional wide area network (WAN) is also challenging since it requires adequate planning and network equipment to set up and manage.


The SD-WAN is a virtual network strategy that integrates standard WAN technologies like MPLS, LTE, and internet connectivity. SD-WAN is a software-defined management method that includes connectivity, administration, and service delivery. As the name shows, SD-WAN is a software-driven network solution with a flow of information administered from a centralized location in the network.

SD-WAN helps establish and enforce policies by employing a centralized controller that serves as a single point of contact for controlling the complete solution. This policy governs traffic routes, SL As, fail-over, monitoring, etc. SLAs get created using application-specific data. Once created, rules get sent from the centralized controller to each SD-WAN node for a more hands-off setup.

SD-WAN gives the WAN unprecedented agility and speed of deployment while lowering the total cost of the WAN offering in their subscription packages. As new technologies develop, so will the characteristics and definitions of SD-WAN systems. At the very least, you should know SD-ability WANs to affect your business requirements favorably. And, if these advantages align with your existing objectives, consider starting with an SD-WAN proof-of-concept to assess the technology’s usefulness to your business.

Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN: Comparative Analysis

Even if you’ve never thought about the advantages of an application of WAN (SD-WAN), now is the time. SD-WAN lowers capital costs and simplifies network management through the cloud. According to your company’s demands, a conventional WAN may stifle development and agility. IT executives that are thinking ahead should evaluate these drawbacks against their strategic goals.

Traditional WAN systems frequently include a mix of public and leased lines. MPLS, a conventional WAN connection technology, gets leveraged to allocate priority based on SLA guarantees and assess the timeliness of traffic delivery.

This is especially essential for speech and video-based applications. Conventional WAN makes use of internet-based backup as an alternative route if the primary way becomes unreachable. SD-WAN enables your organization to transfer your most crucial data traffic through the best network link available, as well as hundreds of program prioritizing choices.

Mostly, this happens over one circuit connectivity. However, try to remember that MPLS connectivity like this is more costly. Overall, conventional WANs that use MPLS provide excellent Quality of Service because they prevent packet loss by essentially isolating packets. SD-WAN protects your internet data by encrypting it from end to end through a virtual private network (VPN) link. This platform also makes it simple to deploy and integrate strong encryption, such as a router and support industries for integrated malware detection.

According to some scientific research, SD-WAN helps save money on internet expenses. Primarily because you are not likely to have to credit it as much to enhance the capacity. You may mix and match network lines cost-effectively based on the type of content and its priority. SD-WAN may operate on a 4G network connectivity and internet broadband, which is less expensive than the service supplied over an MPLS network.

Regarding reliability and ensuring that companies are not having dropped calls issues and traffic is getting foremost priority, here is what traditional WAN technology does. It supports traffic prioritization and provides traffic predictability and dependability.

Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN Comparison Table

Traditional WANSD-WAN
Conventional approachDefined Approach
No FlexibilityGood Flexibility
No efficient speedEfficient Speed
Semi-auto ConfigurationAuto-configuration
expensiveAverage subscription
Average performanceHigh Performance
Limited DatacentersNot Limited Datacenters
More complex with managementLess complex with management
Not secure VPNSecure VPN


So, the new software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) strategy streamlines WAN deployment and management. This information gets programmed directly into traditional WANs. SD-WANs usually get equipped with a central controller that allows for the control of multiple WAN connections simultaneously. Primarily, its a core analytical summary that includes many other factors mentioned above explained here. Both WANs have their status and services, and it depends on the organizations what type of workload they have to go for which type of network.

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