A computer network that covers a relatively large geographical area is called a Wide Area Network (WAN). A WAN typically consists of two or more Local Area Networks. Computers connected in such networks are often connected through public networks, the vastest wide area network being the internet.
Software-Defined Networking is the concept of computer networking that allows the network administrators to manage their services through the abstraction of a great level of functionality like enterprise VoIP features. It is the physical separation of the network’s control plane from its forwarding plane, and where the control plane runs several different devices. Software-Defined Network technology helps by automating the configuration of WAN edge routers. Software-Defined Networking requires that the control plane communicates with the data plane, to be effective.
A Software-Defined Wide Area Network is efficient and user-friendly in that it is directly programmable as it is separated from the forwarding functions. It is centrally controlled and logical therefore maintaining a global view of the network. It also is configured programmatically in such a way that the network administrators can easily configure, manage, secure and optimize the network’s resources efficiently through the dynamic automated Software Defined Networking programs as the programs do not depend on the manufacturers and retailers of the said software. Such networks can also be directly programmed and adjusted such that the traffic flow of the network meets the changing needs.
Software-defined networks also simplify the network design and operation, especially when implemented in the open standard design. In such instances, instructions are provided by the network controllers instead of the vendor-specific protocols and devices. Software Defined Wide Area Networking reduces the complexity of configuring hybrid WAN’s routing protocols as it handles this function automatically. It is flexible too, allowing the hybrid WAN it handles, to react to the changing network conditions automatically. Importantly, the Software Defined Wide Area Network helps the organization rely more on broadband and less on private links. In this instance, the network takes measurements in ensuring the broadband link is capable of performing its functions. This ensures the enterprise invests in larger and cheaper broadband links, minimizing the size of their expensive private links.
Cloud Wide Area Network computing is designed to make WAN services easier to use and manage. It more leans towards the consumers’ paradigm making the deployment of WAN services in the cloud with a software-only structure, easily achievable. Functions of such networking include application policy control, security, Wide Area network optimization, and business-class internet networking. A larger percentage of enterprise application traffic in the modern days is cloud-based. Cloud-based Wide Area Network amounts to a software as a service approach in network administration. In this situation, the network administrator’s consoles and the device’s configuration settings are based in the cloud, therefore they are accessed via browsers and use web APIs to implement the necessary configurations in the remote network devices. Cloud WANs also deliver private services to individual users, over a public platform such as the internet. Both these networks are essential in the proper running of the day to day computing activities in the enterprise.