Published on February 28th, 2017 | by Guest


SD-WANs vs. Hybrid WANs

In the current environment, organisations are faced with the need to change their networks to adapt to current technological changes as well as emerging business realities. Gone are the days when organisations relied on the traditional data-based architecture to

transfer data from the main office to remotely-located branches. Given that the manner in which people work and live today is largely internet-driven, organisations have been forced to adopt new formats of sharing data. It is based on this trend that SD-WAN or Software Defined WAN and Hybrid WANs are considered the best solutions. However, these two are not similar, regardless of the fact that they share some attributes. Here is a comparison of their nature and how they work.

Hybrid WANs and SD-WANs: Similarities

The basic similarity between these two technologies is that they are innovations that organisations use to solve the problems associated with the traditional forms of WAN. Old WAN technologies are not only rigid but also lack the level of compatibility that organisations need in the current business environment. Thus, SD-WANs and Hybrid WANs are innovations that organisations nowadays use to overcome the challenges of old-school WAN technologies and increase the level of productivity of their employees.

The Hybrid WAN

The Hybrid WAN is a slight improvement of the traditional WAN architecture. This type of SDN has two types of connections. The first connection uses the MPLS or any other appropriate technology to link the branch of the office to the data centre. The second connection of this type of SDN uses direct broadband to the internet. Hence, your organisation can use this second connection to connect its branches via the internet or even a VPN, if need be.

Using a Hybrid WAN can be useful to your organisation in several ways. In the first place, a Hybrid WAN carefully selects the most appropriate to route your traffic at any given time. The network automatically analyses the two connections and determines the better of the two in terms of speed and overall throughput. Thus, when you use Hybrid WAN, you will experience relatively high levels of connectivity speeds and efficiency.

Additionally, when you use Hybrid WAN, you reduce the level of latency that you could experience when using the traditional WAN technologies. The use of the direct path to the internet as part of this SDN helps to eliminate the number of hops that traffic has to go through when it is channelled via traditional data centre-based path.

Besides, the costs of using the internet-based path are relatively lower than those of using the conventional data centre-based path. Therefore, Hybrid WAN uses two connection paths to solve the problems of latency and costs that organisations experience when they use conventional WAN technologies.


An SD-WAN is an advanced form of the Hybrid WAN, just as the Hybrid WAN is an improvement of the traditional WAN technologies. The defining characteristic of an SD-WAN is that the process of selecting and configuring its applications is determined by particular policies that an organisation puts in place. Thus, SD-WAN is an advanced form of the Hybrid WAN in that it relies on policies to make some of the most important decisions that optimise the operation and performance of the network.

Your organisation stands to benefit in several ways if you choose to use SD-WANs. For example, using an SD-WAN will significantly reduce your overall costs of operation, given that it eliminates dependence on the cost-intensive data centres. Second, an SD-WAN gives you an enhanced sense of security and deep control over your network. You can outsource your security needs to a service provider and still maintain a relatively high level of control over the performance of your network.

In conclusion, Hybrid WANs and SD-WANs are improvements on the traditional WAN technologies. However, SD-WANs give you an advanced level of control over your network as compared to Hybrid WANs, thanks to the use of pol

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