SD-Wan Solutions

Top 10 Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions

SD-WAN allow you to connect to offices across the globe. What are the top SD-WAN solutions? And what features should you look out for?

The Top 10 Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions Include:
  • 1. Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN
  • 2. Aryaka SmartConnect
  • 3. Cato Socket SD-WAN
  • 4. Cisco Viptela
  • 5. Citrix SD-WAN
  • 6. Fortinet Secure SD-WAN
  • 7. Juniper Session Smart Router
  • 8. Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN
  • 9. Versa SD-WAN
  • 10. VMWare SD-WAN

A software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a way of connecting offices in multiple locations. They are used to connect multiple transport services – such as VPNs, broadband internet, LTEs – simultaneously.

Traditionally, broadband Multiple Label Switching (MPLS) connections would have been needed to connect multiple locations in a single network. This is a very expensive and complicated process. Even once properly configured, the MPLS method is susceptible to failure or dropouts. SD-WAN solutions enable these disparate transport methods to be unified and their data accessed from different geographical locations, which can reduce cost and improve application performance 

In this article, we’ll consider some of the top SD-WAN solutions on the market and suggest what type of organization they are ideally suited to. We’ll identify key features such as encryption, speed, and ease of setup.

Aruba Logo

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Company, are a provider of next-gen network access solutions, which enable users to connect with other employees on the network from a range of devices, in a range of locations. This results in increased productivity and lower operational costs. EdgeConnect SD-WAN is their SD-WAN tool that leverages zero-trust principles to keep your network safe.

Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN Features:

  • Orchestrator management tool – allows admins to centrally manage, assign, and implement policies to secure and control services across the network
  • WAN optimization – Boost is a tool that improves and accelerates network performance when needed
  • Reduce hardware infrastructure through network simplification and cloud tools
  • Fine-grained segmentation for additional security
  • Close integration with third-party security service edge (SSE) solutions

Expert Insights’ Comments: Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN is a solution that is easy to implement and easy to use. This ensures that your organization can benefit from an SD-WAN, regardless of size or prior experience. By using the centralized admin console, a small team can manage a large and geographically disparate network. We would recommend Aruba EdgeConnect for organizations looking for an effective and streamlined SD-WAN that allows them to modernize their infrastructure without needing masses of technical configuration.

Aryaka Logo

Aryaka offers a fully managed SD-WAN service, with its Network-as-a-Service solution: SmartConnect. Traffic is transported using either Aryaka’s layer 2 or 3 private cores – this ensures consistent and reliable coverage, whilst maintaining security and privacy. Aryaka is based in San Mateo, CA, and have been operating in the managed SASE and SD-WAN sector since 2009.

Aryaka SmartConnect Features:

  • Quick performance – over 95% of businesses receive less than 30ms latency
  • Multi-cloud ready – can connect with public clouds, SaaS providers or partner clouds
  • Native security features – stateful firewalls and micro-segmentation as well as virtual firewalls
  • Adaptive traffic management to optimize network speeds
  • Automation and orchestration capabilities give insightful analytics and management functions regarding the state of WAN and app performance
  • Move away from a router-centric approach – this is scalable, and makes it easier to implement changes across the whole network

Expert Insights’ Comments: Aryaka is a robust solution that enables disparate teams to connect quickly and securely. Aryaka’s support team is efficient and reliable, ensuring that your connection remains stable. Overall, Aryaka SmartConnect is an effective solution for organizations needing SD-WAN capabilities without the need for granular customization or a large admin overhead. We would recommend Aryaka for organizations with multiple bases, who want a managed service to take care of their WAN implementation and management.

CATO Logo

Cato provide a sophisticated SASE platform that promotes cloud-native security by integrating SD-WAN capabilities with security service edge (SSE) functions, so ustomers can decrease costs, while improving security. With their socket SD-WAN, you can connect a physical location to a local Cato point-of-presence (PoP). The X1500 model is designed for branch offices, while the X1700 is ideal for datacenters.

Cato Socket SD-WAN Features:

  • Accepts fibre, cable, xDSL, and 4G/LTE connections
  • Active-active link usage
  • Application and user aware QoS prioritization
  • Dynamic path selection – this prevents network outages
  • Packet duplication – decreases the chance of packet loss
  • Continual device monitoring from Cato’s network operations center (NOC)

Expert Insights’ Comments: Cato Socket SD-WAN is a flexible and robust platform – if a network outage does occur, the solution will automatically switch to the best available link, allowing you to continue operating. The SASE platform allows you to migrate to a fully SD-WAN at your own pace and integrate these tools alongside other SASE features, such as secure web gateways. The company offer managed services, breach protection, optimized connectivity, and secure hybrid cloud as well as multi-cloud access.

Cisco Logo

Established in 1984, California based market leader Cisco have developed a series of sophisticated solutions for connecting and securing users across corporate networks. Viptela is the organization’s SD-WAN solution with a focus on extending visibility to identify and remediate issues faster. Cisco accounted for 38% of the SD-WAN market in 2020, representing 20,000 users, including 70% of the Fortune 100.

Cisco Viptela Features:

  • Integration with vAnalytics and Cisco ThousandEyes to enhance visibility and gain actionable insights to network activities
  • Can be deployed on-premises or cloud-based to match your way of working
  • Multi-cloud capabilities – Cloud OnRamp brings unified policies and IaaS integrations
  • Solution is fully scalable and will support high throughput – multi-gigabit port options and 5G cellular links
  • Data is encryption and network segmentation to keep your data safe

Expert Insights’ Comments: Cisco Viptela is a comprehensive solution that focuses on making the user experience as efficient and productive as possible. A centralized management platform gives admins a wealth of control and the ability to integrate with external security systems like Cisco Umbrella – a leading internet gateway solution. Cisco Viptela also has inbuilt performance optimization features to ensure that users always receive a good level of service.

Citrix Logo

Citrix are a company focused on creating secure and effective digital workspaces and networks. They have 16 million cloud users, across thousands of organizations. Citrix SD-WAN provides a secure and high-performance service that enables users to work efficiently and consistently. This solution is highly scalable, allowing businesses to remain agile and flexible as they grow and expand into new markets or territories.

Citrix SD-WAN Features:

  • Optimize network experience and reduce bandwidth expenses through TCP optimization, compression, deduplication, and protocol optimization
  • Multi-cloud connectivity – link bonding, packet-based real-time path selection, QoS and congestion/outage resiliency
  • Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator enables central management of policies – traffic steering and firewall configuration
  • UI gives visibility over WAN alerts and status updates – overlay and underlay paths, usage trends, and global network view
  • Built-in and third-party security options

Expert Insights’ Comments: Citrix SD-WAN is a highly regarded SD-Wan solution. It is quick and secure – two elements that are of critical importance to ensure that your organization can work effectively and safely. We would recommend this solution of mid-sized organizations looking for a reliable and flexible solution for a wide range of use cases.

fortinet logo

Fortinet is a California based cybersecurity company whose broad product range covers physical appliances, cloud services, digital solutions, and managed services. Every day, Fortinet gathers threat data from across their product range and uses sophisticated AI and ML to analyse 100 billion events. This information can be fed back into your security suite to ensure that you are as prepared as possible. Fortinet Secure SD-WAN is part of the company’s FortiGate firewall solutions.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN Features:

  • Advanced Next-Gen firewall and routing to provide strong security when on and off the network
  • Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) enables the solution to scale easily with no impact on performance
  • Multi-cloud functionality
  • Centralized management – deployment, configuration, operations, network analytics and reporting can all be accessed from a centralized UI

Expert Insights’ Comments: Fortinet is a well-established brand in the sector, with their FortiGate firewall – and, by extension, their SD-WAN – trusted by users as a versatile and robust solution. While it is cloud focused, it can also be deployed on-premises and provides a secure and reliable service. We would recommend Fortinet Secure SD-WAN for larger organizations who need a fully featured and integrated solution, enhanced by Fortinet’s additional security solutions and implementation.

juniper logo

Since 1996, Juniper Networks have offered a range of IT networking, cloud operations, and security solutions for enterprise customers. Their AI-driven SD-WAN enables you to automate network processes and provides valuable insights into activities. Juniper have developed their SD-Wan around their acquisitions of 128 Technology in 2020, and Mist in 2019.

Juniper Session Smart Router Features:

  • Application-aware routing – by understanding what’s going on, the solution can ensure performance is optimised
  • Intelligent UI allows you to manage, orchestrate, administer, monitor, and gather data from remote and distributed routers
  • Uses Jupiter Networks’ SRX Series firewall service to protect your users and networks
  • Security is of paramount importance with “deny-by-default” policies to promote zero-trust security

Expert Insights’ Comments: The Session Smart Router enables SD-WAN, SD-Branch, or multi-cloud use cases. When paired with Juniper’s AI-powered Mist Cloud, the solution can easily scale to provide excellent network connectivity for large organizations, and small start-ups alike. The solution is highly praised across the board. We would recommend this solution to larger organizations who need a powerful and reliable SD-WAN solution with integrated firewall capabilities.

Palo Alto Logo

Palo Alto Networks is a market leading California-based cybersecurity provider who produce a series of sophisticated tools – these include next-gen firewalls, SIEM solutions, XDRs, and SD-WAN solutions. Prisma SD-WAN uses AI and ML to automate network operations, reducing network trouble tickets by 99%.

Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN Features:

  • AI and ML backed automation – this reduces network issue tickets by 99%
  • Cloud-delivered security implementation that is easy to roll out and effective at reducing threats
  • ML-powered threat prevention
  • Effective integration with the Palo Alto product fleet
  • Use Palo Alto Networks CloudBlades – an API-based platform – to integrate further third-party tools

Expert Insights’ Comments: Palo Alto Networks are a leader in cybersecurity solutions, and the effectiveness of their SD-WAN product cannot be overlooked. The centralized admin console allows for comprehensive management with clarity and ease. We would recommend Prisma SD-WAN for organizations who need to manage many users, and may want to integrate additional Palo Alto tools, such as their next-generation firewall service.

versa logo

Versa Networks is a Californian SASE provider that was founded in 2012. Their SD-WAN solution is part of their SASE solution and has packet loss reduction and encrypted overlay features. This solution can be deployed on-premises, via the cloud, or as a blended service. It is designed for wide-scale deployment, ensuring that the level of service remains efficient, and the security is robust, trusted by industry giants such as BP and Capital One.

Versa SD-WAN Features:

  • Software defined network (SDN) controller manages flow to improve performance
  • Acts as a DNS Proxy with SD-WAN traffic steering
  • Full mesh topology and hub-spoke topology
  • Single unified policy management for the whole network
  • Data is encrypted with MPLS/GRE, VXLAN, and SD-WAN controller

Expert Insights’ Comments: Versa SD-WAN is a highly effective solution with a host of technically advanced tools to add additional layers of security and capability to the SD-WAN solution. The solution can be deployed to a wide range of use cases, with admins having a great deal of technical control. We would recommend Versa SD-WAN to organizations looking for a SASE solution with an extensive feature-set.

VMWare Logo

VMWare are an IT provider who focus on implementing and securing multi-cloud networks and applications for enterprise customers. Founded in 1998, VMWare and a market leader in multi-cloud networking solutions. Their SD-WAN solution provides reliable connectivity with network optimization and high-performance.

VMWare SD-WAN Features:

  • Supports a range of popular SSE providers and VNF applications to enhance security and visibility
  • Utilise AIOps to speed up identification and resolution of poor performance
  • Multi-cloud optimization
  • Extends connectivity for remote users through unique client endpoint solutions
  • Certified for SOC2 Type 2 and ICSA – also has customizable security policies and end-to-end network segmentation

Expert Insights’ Comments: VMWare SD-WAN is one of the dominant SD-Wan providers thanks to its network optimization features – the solution will automatically switch to the connection with the best quality, and highest speed, allowing you to work uninterrupted. The support team are helpful for ensuring that you get the most from your network. Overall, we would recommend VMWare SD-WAN for organizations who need a reliable and efficient SD-WAN, but who also have the technical expertise to properly configure it.

Top 10 Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions