What are the steps involved in designing an SD-WAN network?

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SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide area network. It is an advanced form of WAN, or wide area network, technology. SD-WAN is a type of virtual private network (VPN) that connects multiple sites over a single infrastructure, enabling the user to optimize their networking resources and achieve cost savings. It also provides improved security, scalability, and better performance through automation. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in designing an SD-WAN network.
1. Planning and Setting Goals

The first step in designing an SD-WAN network is setting goals and planning the implementation. This includes understanding what types of applications will be used on the network, the desired performance levels, redundancy requirements, and the amount of bandwidth needed. It is important to consider how these factors will impact the design and ensure that the plan meets the organization’s requirements and budget.

2. Identifying Hardware Requirements

Once the desired performance levels have been established, it’s time to identify the hardware requirements. These include the router and switches needed to create the dedicated paths between the various sites. Depending on the scope of the project, additional devices such as firewalls, load balancers, and intrusion prevention systems may need to be taken into account.

3. Connectivity

The next step is to select a connectivity option based on the applications being used. Options include MPLS, broadband, and wireless. The cost and availability of each option need to be considered before making a decision. The selected option should provide adequate bandwidth to meet the organization’s needs.

4. Design and Deployment

Once the desired connectivity option has been selected, the design and deployment of the SD-WAN can begin. This involves configuring the router, switches, and other hardware components as well as designing the management platform. During this process, policies and rules should be put in place to ensure consistent performance across the network.

5. Testing and Monitoring

The final step in designing an SD-WAN network is testing and monitoring. During this phase, the network should be tested for performance and functionality to ensure that it meets the required specifications. The network should also be monitored to identify any potential problems or areas of improvement.

Designing an SD-WAN network is a complex process and requires careful consideration of several factors. To ensure a successful implementation, it is important to start with a clear plan and set of goals, identify hardware requirements, select a connectivity option, deploy the network, and test and monitor the system. With a thorough approach to each of these steps, organizations can benefit from a reliable and optimized network experience.

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