It may sound like a barcode or a Wi-Fi password gone wrong, but SD-WAN is a lot more complex, intricate and most of all useful than many people realise.

We’ll be honest, when we started at Vox, we hadn’t heard of SD-WAN before (and we ignored all blog topics around it for a good few months). It sounded complicated, technical and cryptic – not a good combination for blog writing (which we painstakingly tried explaining to our manager). A few months in, however, and our perception couldn’t be more different. Not only is SD-WAN such a simple yet effective solution, we wish we could give it to the Licensing Department, but we’ve come to learn that it’s a sure-fire way to accelerate business growth (and make you sound smart while explaining it to your colleagues).

So, without further ado, let’s break down the Dummies Guide to Understanding SD-WAN.

Well, SD-WAN is basically redefining the concept of efficient connectivity. Let’s face it – things are going hybrid (and we don’t mean the skoro-skoro cars who take up the fast lane). The workplace is modernising, and new technology is being adopted faster than Angelina Jolie, and businesses across the board are moving from legacy solutions to more modern alternatives – normally within The Cloud (everyone, it seems, except any Government department).

These transitions naturally place a high demand on your network and applications. Whereas before, the Internet was used for browsing (or sitting on Facebook when you heard your boss’s office door closed), it’s now a fundamental aspect of communication. Storage, video calling, accessing your systems – it’s enough to put pressure on any network, and when this happens, speed, productivity and reliability all drop. Which isn’t a good look unless you work in Licensing.

The modern (and modernised) business needs a solution which can handle these demands without giving their accounting department an aneurism. Said solutions need to be flexible, secure and capable of handling an advanced workload without compromising network quality. Sounds like an impossible wish-list? Nope, it’s just SD-WAN.

It stands for “Software Defined, Wide Area Network”, and is a solution which allows your business to leverage any combination of last-mile services to – wait, this is getting technical. SD-WAN takes away the need for expensive routing and provides you with flexible, Multi-Cloud Solutions. In its simplest form, it establishes the best route required for you to get optimal Internet connectivity. Network overloaded? No worries – SD-WAN will analyse, assess and determine a less fragmented path between your organisation and the fastest, most reliable connection.

You can define priority traffic to improve your performance and speed – there’s even backup connections which can drastically improve your bandwidth.

So, it makes my Internet faster – that’s it?

Not quite. Nobody likes loading time and delays (or staff mucking around while on the clock). SD-WAN steers high-bandwidth applications to allow your employees to access their Data and files quicker and with less loading time. The downside of things being stored in the Cloud is that they present a built-in excuse come time to retrieve them – SD-WAN offers faster performing applications which, of course, mean your team can move more efficiently.

It also offers more security (because, believe us, your business is always at risk) without dropping your performance.

All SD-WAN solutions come with built-in, next generation Firewalls to ensure that those hackers won’t stand a chance.

What about a struggle we South African’s know too well – downtime? Well, with SD-WAN, it doesn’t exist (insert Mean Girls reference). Should a link fail, SD-WAN will find the next available alternative, meaning no lost revenue or turning customers away.

You can migrate to the Cloud (if you haven’t already) quite seamlessly and easily deploy new branches or implement changes. Manage your network centrally and, best of all, reduce your monthly spend so you can order the large chips at Nando’s instead.

Those are the benefits – but what’s the hook?

Well, if you’re still reading, we’re still pitching. Let’s look at what SD-WAN does in a nutshell (and why it can prevent your business from mimicking Home Affairs).

  • Reduced costs? Check.
  • Better speed? Check.
  • Improved performance? Check.
  • Safer, more reliable, no downtime? Triple check.

When we say checkmate, we aren’t referencing Queen’s Gambit – SD-WAN is really a gateway to smarter, better business operations and an affordable way to circumnavigate the challenges of being a South African business. Now that you know what it does, what it’s about and why your business can’t afford not to look into it, the only question left is why you’re still on the Content Hub and not looking at purchasing it (spoiler alert – click here).