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SD-WAN Definition

WANs were very important for the development of networking technologies in general and were for a long time one of the most important applications of networks both for military and enterprise applications.  The ability to communicate data over large distances was one of the main driving factors for the development of data communications technologies, as it made it possible to overcome distance limitations, as well as shorten the time necessary to exchange messages with other parties.

Legacy WAN technologies allowed communication over circuits connecting two or more endpoints. Earlier technologies supported point-to-point communication over a slow-speed circuit, usually between two fixed locations. As technology evolved, WAN circuits became faster and more flexible. Innovations like circuit and packet switching (in the form of X.25, ATM and later Internet Protocol or Multiprotocol Label Switching communications) allowed communication to become more dynamic, supporting ever-growing networks.

The need for strict control, security, and quality of service meant that multinational corporations were very conservative in leasing and operating their WANs. National regulations restricted the companies that could provide local services in each country, and complex arrangements were necessary to establish truly global networks. All that changed with the growth of the Internet, which allowed entities around the world to connect to each other. However, over the first years, the uncontrolled nature of the Internet was not considered adequate or safe for private corporate use.

Independent of safety concerns, connectivity to the Internet became a necessity to the point where every branch required Internet access. At first, due to safety concerns, private communications were still done via WAN, and communication with other entities (including customers and partners) moved to the Internet.

As the Internet grew in reach and maturity, companies started to evaluate how to leverage it for private corporate communications. During the early 2000s, application delivery over the WAN became an important topic of research and commercial innovation. Over the next decade, increasing computing power made it possible to create software-based appliances that were able to analyze traffic and make informed decisions in real-time, making it possible to create large-scale overlay networks over the public Internet that could replicate all the functionality of legacy WANs, at a fraction of the cost.

What is SD-WAN, where did SD-WAN come from, and why has it attracted so much attention from the market? This needs to start with SDN itself. From the proposal of the centralized control architecture and the OpenFlow protocol by Stanford University in 2006 to the commercial use case of Google B4 in 2012, the focus of SDN during its nascent and disillusionment stages remained within cloud and data center scenarios. The industry was eagerly searching for the next “killer app.” On the other hand, the development of cloud computing technology triggered a transformation in the IT industry, and the “Internet+” trend drove the digital transformation of traditional sectors. The attention shifted from B2C (business-to-consumer) to B2B (business-to-business) internet-based services, surpassing B2C in 2014.

Amid this industry background and expectations, SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) services emerged, focusing on the enterprise market and the wide area network category. The term “SD-WAN” first entered the public eye in September 2014 with the publication of an article titled “Software-Defined WAN: A Primer” on networkcomputing.com. However, the concept of SD-WAN originated from the earlier Hybrid WAN, aiming to address the challenges of unstable internet connectivity and expensive MPLS VPNs faced by enterprises in their network connectivity.

SD-WAN combines several technologies to create full-fledged private networks, with the ability to dynamically share network bandwidth across the connection points. Additional enhancements include central controllers, zero-touch provisioning, integrated analytics, and on-demand circuit provisioning, with some network intelligence based in the cloud, allowing centralized policy management and security.

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a wide area network that uses software-defined network technology, such as communicating over the Internet using overlay tunnels which are encrypted when destined for internal organization locations.

SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by decoupling the networking hardware from its control mechanism. This concept is similar to how software-defined networking implements virtualization technology to improve data center management and operation. In practice, proprietary protocols are used to set up and manage an SD-WAN.

A key application of SD-WAN is to allow companies to build higher-performance WANs using lower-cost and commercially available Internet access, enabling businesses to replace more expensive private WAN connection technologies partially or wholly such as MPLS.

When SD-WAN traffic is carried over the Internet, there are no end-to-end performance guarantees. Carrier MPLS VPN WAN services are not carried as Internet traffic, but rather over carefully controlled carrier capacity, and do come with an end-to-end performance guarantee.

SD-WAN has garnered significant attention in the market due to several key factors:

  • Cost Savings: SD-WAN allows organizations to use cheaper internet connections alongside expensive private connections (like MPLS) to optimize their network performance and reduce operational costs.
  • Enhanced Performance: By intelligently routing traffic over the most efficient paths, SD-WAN can optimize application performance and reduce latency, leading to a better user experience.
  • Network Flexibility: SD-WAN provides greater flexibility in network management, enabling IT teams to adapt to changing business requirements more rapidly.
  • Centralized Control: The centralized management capabilities of SD-WAN make it easier to configure and monitor the network, simplifying overall network management.
  • Improved Security: Many SD-WAN solutions offer built-in security features, such as encryption and firewall capabilities, which enhance network security and reduce the risk of data breaches.
  • Cloud Readiness: SD-WAN is well-suited for cloud-based applications and services, as it can optimize traffic flow to and from the cloud, ensuring better performance and reliability.
  • Hybrid WAN Support: SD-WAN can seamlessly integrate with existing WAN infrastructure, supporting a hybrid network environment during the transition phase.


The combination of these benefits has led to increased interest and adoption of SD-WAN in various industries, as businesses seek to modernize their networks and stay competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

SD-WAN, which stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network, is a technology that simplifies the management and operation of a wide area network by separating the network’s control plane from its data plane. This separation enables centralized control and management of network traffic, providing increased agility, performance, and cost savings. Here’s how SD-WAN works:

  • Overlay Network Creation: SD-WAN creates an overlay network on top of the existing physical network infrastructure, which can consist of various types of connections, such as MPLS, internet links, 4G/5G, or satellite links. The overlay network abstracts the underlying transport technologies, making it easier to manage and optimize traffic.
  • Centralized Controller: At the heart of SD-WAN is a centralized controller, which is responsible for managing and configuring the entire network. The controller makes decisions based on policies defined by network administrators and dynamically adjusts traffic routing and management in real-time.
  • Intelligent Traffic Routing: SD-WAN employs intelligent traffic routing algorithms to determine the most efficient and reliable paths for data transmission. It takes into account various factors such as link quality, bandwidth availability, application requirements, and real-time network conditions to choose the best path for each packet of data.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): SD-WAN allows administrators to define QoS policies for different types of applications or traffic. This enables prioritization of critical applications over less important ones, ensuring that real-time applications like VoIP or video conferencing receive sufficient bandwidth and low latency.
  • Load Balancing and Link Bonding: SD-WAN can distribute traffic across multiple connections, balancing the load and avoiding congestion on a single link. In some cases, SD-WAN can even bond multiple links together, combining their bandwidth to act as a single virtual connection.
  • Security: SD-WAN provides built-in security features, including encryption and authentication, to protect data as it travels across the network, especially when using public internet links.
  • Centralized Management and Visibility: With SD-WAN, network administrators can have a centralized view of the entire network, allowing them to monitor performance, identify issues, and make configuration changes from a single interface.
  • Dynamic Adaptation: SD-WAN continuously monitors the performance and conditions of the network. If a link experiences issues or degrades in quality, SD-WAN can quickly reroute traffic to a more optimal path to maintain service continuity and performance.


By leveraging SD-WAN technology, organizations can achieve better network performance, improved application experience, simplified network management, and cost savings through efficient use of various network connections. The flexibility and adaptability of SD-WAN make it an attractive solution for modern enterprises with distributed networks and cloud-based applications.

Traditional Connectivity

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a routing technique in telecommunications networks that directs data from one node to the next based on labels rather than network addresses. Whereas network addresses identify endpoints the labels identify established paths between endpoints. MPLS can encapsulate packets of various network protocols, hence the multiprotocol component of the name. MPLS supports a range of access technologies, including T1/E1, ATM, Frame Relay, and DSL.


MPLS VPN is a technology that provides secure, scalable, and efficient communication between different sites of an organization over a shared service provider network. It is commonly used to create private and virtualized networks that allow multiple locations to communicate with each other while keeping their traffic isolated from other customers’ traffic in the service provider’s network.

The key components of MPLS VPN technology are as follows:

  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS): MPLS is a packet-forwarding technology that uses labels to make forwarding decisions. Instead of traditional IP-based routing, MPLS adds labels to data packets at the ingress router and forwards the packets based on these labels. The labels are used to create explicit paths (Label Switched Paths – LSPs) through the network, resulting in faster and more efficient packet forwarding.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): MPLS VPN creates virtual private networks that allow different sites or branches of an organization to communicate as if they were on the same private network. Each site is assigned to a specific VPN, and the traffic is kept separate and isolated from other VPNs on the same MPLS network.
  • Provider Edge (PE) Routers: PE routers are devices at the network edge of the service provider that connect to customer sites. They perform the labeling of packets and handle the ingress and egress of traffic into and out of the MPLS VPN.
  • Customer Edge (CE) Routers: CE routers are located at the customer’s premises and connect to the service provider’s MPLS network. They exchange routing information with the PE routers and are responsible for sending and receiving data between the customer’s sites and the MPLS network.
  • Forwarding Equivalence Class (FEC): FECs represent a group of data packets that share the same characteristics and are assigned the same label for forwarding purposes. Each VPN in the MPLS network has its own FEC.

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a routing technique in telecommunications networks that directs data from one node to the next based on labels rather than network addresses. Whereas network addresses identify endpoints the labels identify established paths between endpoints. MPLS can encapsulate packets of various network protocols, hence the multiprotocol component of the name. MPLS supports a range of access technologies, including T1/E1, ATM, Frame Relay, and DSL.

MPLS VPN is a technology that provides secure, scalable, and efficient communication between different sites of an organization over a shared service provider network. It is commonly used to create private and virtualized networks that allow multiple locations to communicate with each other while keeping their traffic isolated from other customers’ traffic in the service provider’s network.

The key components of MPLS VPN technology are as follows:

  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS): MPLS is a packet-forwarding technology that uses labels to make forwarding decisions. Instead of traditional IP-based routing, MPLS adds labels to data packets at the ingress router and forwards the packets based on these labels. The labels are used to create explicit paths (Label Switched Paths – LSPs) through the network, resulting in faster and more efficient packet forwarding.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): MPLS VPN creates virtual private networks that allow different sites or branches of an organization to communicate as if they were on the same private network. Each site is assigned to a specific VPN, and the traffic is kept separate and isolated from other VPNs on the same MPLS network.
  • Provider Edge (PE) Routers: PE routers are devices at the network edge of the service provider that connect to customer sites. They perform the labeling of packets and handle the ingress and egress of traffic into and out of the MPLS VPN.
  • Customer Edge (CE) Routers: CE routers are located at the customer’s premises and connect to the service provider’s MPLS network. They exchange routing information with the PE routers and are responsible for sending and receiving data between the customer’s sites and the MPLS network.
  • Forwarding Equivalence Class (FEC): FECs represent a group of data packets that share the same characteristics and are assigned the same label for forwarding purposes. Each VPN in the MPLS network has its own FEC.

SD-WAN and MPLS leased line are two different technologies used to establish wide area network (WAN) connections between different locations of an organization. Let’s explore the main differences between them:

  1. Technology and Architecture:
  • MPLS Leased Line: MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) is a traditional WAN technology that provides a private and dedicated point-to-point connection between two locations. It uses a physical leased line to create a secure and reliable connection.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN, on the other hand, is a more modern and flexible approach to WAN connectivity. It is based on software-defined networking principles and can use a combination of public internet links, MPLS, or other transport technologies to connect different locations. SD-WAN creates a virtual overlay network that abstracts the underlying transport technologies and enables dynamic path selection.
  1. Connectivity and Redundancy:
  • MPLS Leased Line: MPLS leased lines offer a single dedicated connection between two locations. While this can provide reliability, it lacks inherent redundancy, making it vulnerable to single points of failure.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN allows for multiple connections, such as combining MPLS with internet links, 4G/5G, or other broadband connections. This provides built-in redundancy and the ability to utilize multiple paths simultaneously, increasing overall reliability and performance.
  1. Cost:
  • MPLS Leased Line: MPLS leased lines tend to be more expensive compared to other WAN technologies, especially as the distance between locations increases.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN can leverage more cost-effective internet links and other broadband connections, making it potentially more cost-efficient, especially for organizations with multiple branches or remote locations.
  1. Deployment and Management:
  • MPLS Leased Line: Setting up an MPLS leased line usually requires coordination with the service provider, which can lead to longer deployment times.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN deployments are typically quicker and more straightforward, especially when using internet links. Centralized management and configuration are also possible with SD-WAN, providing better control and visibility over the entire network.
  1. Quality of Service (QoS):
  • MPLS Leased Line: MPLS networks generally offer consistent performance and QoS, which is suitable for applications with strict latency and bandwidth requirements.
  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN can also offer QoS and application-based routing, allowing administrators to prioritize critical traffic over less time-sensitive data, even when using different types of connections.

In summary, MPLS leased line is a traditional, dedicated, and reliable WAN technology with limited flexibility, while SD-WAN is a more dynamic, cost-effective, and flexible approach that allows for multiple connections and intelligent traffic management. Organizations often choose between these options based on their specific needs, budget, and desired level of control over the WAN infrastructure.


SD-WAN offers several advantages over traditional MPLS leased lines, making it an attractive alternative for modern networking requirements. Here are some of the key advantages of SD-WAN compared to MPLS leased lines:

  • Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of SD-WAN over MPLS leased lines is cost savings. MPLS leased lines can be expensive, especially for organizations with multiple branch locations. SD-WAN allows businesses to leverage more cost-effective internet links and other broadband connections, resulting in lower operational costs.
  • Flexibility in Connection Types: SD-WAN can support a variety of connection types, including MPLS, internet links, 4G/5G, or other broadband options. This flexibility enables organizations to choose the most suitable connections for each site, depending on their performance and budget requirements.
  • Improved Performance and Reliability: SD-WAN’s intelligent traffic routing and load balancing capabilities optimize application performance by selecting the best available path for data transmission. This results in improved network performance, reduced latency, and better user experience compared to MPLS leased lines.
  • Built-in Redundancy: SD-WAN provides inherent redundancy by utilizing multiple connections, which ensures high availability and fault tolerance. In the event of link failures or performance degradation, SD-WAN can quickly reroute traffic to alternative paths, reducing downtime and enhancing network reliability.
  • Centralized Management and Visibility: SD-WAN offers centralized management and control, allowing network administrators to monitor and configure the entire network from a single interface. This centralized visibility simplifies network management and troubleshooting, leading to better operational efficiency.
  • Application-Aware Traffic Steering: SD-WAN can prioritize and steer application traffic based on business requirements. Critical applications, such as VoIP or video conferencing, can be given higher priority, ensuring consistent performance even during periods of network congestion.
  • Rapid Deployment and Scalability: SD-WAN deployments are typically faster and more straightforward than setting up MPLS leased lines, which can involve longer lead times for installation. SD-WAN is also more scalable, making it easier to add new sites or adjust network configurations as an organization grows.
  • Seamless Integration with Cloud Services: With the rise of cloud-based applications and services, SD-WAN offers optimized connectivity to cloud resources, ensuring efficient and secure access to the cloud.

IPSec VPN (Internet Protocol Security Virtual Private Network) is a technology that provides secure communication over the public internet or untrusted networks. It creates encrypted and authenticated tunnels between two endpoints, allowing data to be transmitted securely and confidentially. IPSec VPN is commonly used to establish secure connections between remote users and a corporate network or between different branch offices of an organization.

The IPSec VPN technology operates using the following key components and processes:

  • Authentication: IPSec VPN ensures the authenticity of communicating endpoints. This is typically achieved using authentication protocols like Pre-shared Keys (PSK) or digital certificates. Authentication ensures that only authorized devices can establish a VPN connection.
  • Encryption: IPSec VPN uses encryption algorithms to protect data confidentiality during transmission. Data packets are encrypted before being sent over the internet, making it challenging for unauthorized parties to intercept and decipher the information.
  • Tunnel Mode: IPSec VPN operates in tunnel mode, where the entire IP packet is encapsulated within another IP packet. This outer packet provides the secure tunnel through which the encrypted data travels between the two VPN endpoints.
  • Security Associations (SA): Before data transmission begins, IPSec VPN establishes a security association between the communicating endpoints. The SA includes parameters like encryption algorithms, authentication methods, and security keys needed for secure communication.
  • Key Exchange: The VPN endpoints negotiate encryption keys during the establishment of the IPSec tunnel. There are several methods for key exchange, including Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol, which ensures secure and automated key management.
  • Transport and Tunnel Mode: IPSec VPN supports two modes of operation: transport mode and tunnel mode. Transport mode encrypts only the data payload of the IP packet, while tunnel mode encrypts the entire IP packet, including the IP header.


Benefits of IPSec VPN:

  • Security: IPSec VPN ensures data confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity, making it a highly secure method for transmitting sensitive information over untrusted networks like the internet.
  • Ease of Implementation: IPSec VPN is supported by most modern operating systems and network devices, making it relatively easy to implement and configure.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Since IPSec VPN uses the existing internet infrastructure, it can be a cost-effective solution compared to dedicated private circuits like MPLS.
  • Remote Access: IPSec VPN enables secure remote access for remote workers to access the corporate network from anywhere, enhancing workforce productivity.

Overall, IPSec VPN is a widely used and robust technology for secure communication over the internet. It provides a flexible and scalable solution for organizations to establish secure connections between geographically distributed locations and remote users.

SD-WAN and traditional IPSec VPN are two different technologies used to establish secure connections and improve network performance, but they have distinct differences in their approach and functionalities. Let’s explore the main differences between SD-WAN and traditional IPSec VPN:

  • SD-WAN: SD-WAN is a comprehensive technology that focuses on optimizing wide area networks (WANs) and enhancing their performance, reliability, and efficiency. It involves centralized network management, intelligent traffic routing, load balancing, link bonding, Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities, and more. SD-WAN aims to provide a holistic approach to network connectivity and performance improvement.
  • IPSec VPN: IPSec VPN, on the other hand, is primarily focused on providing secure encrypted communication between two endpoints over an existing network, typically the public internet or another untrusted network. Its primary purpose is to ensure data confidentiality and integrity during transmission.

SD-WAN offers several advantages over traditional IPSec VPNs, making it a preferred choice for many organizations. Here are some of the key advantages of SD-WAN compared to traditional IPSec VPN:

  • Improved Performance and Network Optimization: SD-WAN uses intelligent traffic routing and application-awareness to optimize the network’s performance. It can dynamically select the best path for each application’s traffic, considering factors like latency, bandwidth, and link quality. This leads to better application performance and user experience compared to the static routing of IPSec VPNs.
  • Enhanced Network Visibility and Control: SD-WAN provides centralized management and visibility across the entire network. Administrators can monitor real-time traffic, identify bottlenecks, and make configuration changes from a single interface. This level of control allows for quicker troubleshooting and more efficient network management.
  • Cost Savings: SD-WAN can utilize various types of connections, including cheaper internet links, which can result in cost savings compared to the more expensive dedicated circuits used in traditional IPSec VPNs, such as MPLS leased lines.
  • Better Scalability: SD-WAN is more flexible and scalable, allowing organizations to easily add new sites or locations to the network. It can integrate with existing WAN infrastructure, making it a seamless solution for businesses with expanding networks.
  • Seamless Failover and Redundancy: SD-WAN can intelligently switch traffic to available, optimal paths in case of link failures or performance degradation, providing built-in redundancy and improved network uptime.
  • Application Prioritization and QoS: SD-WAN enables Quality of Service (QoS) policies that prioritize critical applications and ensure they receive the necessary bandwidth and low latency. This ensures a better user experience for time-sensitive applications like voice and video conferencing.
  • Flexible Deployment Options: SD-WAN supports a wide range of connection types, including MPLS, internet, 4G/5G, and more. It allows organizations to use a mix of connections and adapt to varying network requirements.
  • Centralized Security Management: SD-WAN can integrate security features like encryption and firewall capabilities into the network fabric. This simplifies security management and ensures a consistent security posture across all sites.
  • Quick Deployment and Configuration: SD-WAN deployments are generally quicker and easier to set up compared to traditional IPSec VPNs, which often require more complex configurations and coordination with service providers.

In summary, SD-WAN is a more comprehensive technology that enhances network performance, provides better control, and optimizes traffic flow, while traditional IPSec VPN primarily focuses on secure point-to-point connections. Organizations often choose between these technologies based on their specific networking requirements, with SD-WAN being a preferred choice when advanced network optimization and management capabilities are needed alongside secure connectivity. IPSec VPN, on the other hand, is commonly used for secure remote access and site-to-site connectivity.

Hub and Spoke and Full-Mesh are two different networking architectures used to connect multiple locations within a network. Each architecture has its own advantages and is suitable for different scenarios. Let’s explore each architecture:

  • Hub and Spoke Architecture:

In the Hub and Spoke Architecture, all remote locations (spokes) connect to a central site (hub), but the spokes do not directly connect to each other. Instead, all communication between spokes is routed through the central hub.

The central hub serves as the main aggregation point for traffic from remote locations, and it becomes a central point for network management, configuration, and control.

Hub and Spoke is commonly used in wide area networks (WANs) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for connecting branch offices or remote locations to a central headquarters or data center.

  • Advantages:
  • Simplified network management, as all configuration and control can be done at the central hub.
  • Scalability, as new remote locations only need to connect to the hub without requiring direct connections to each other.
  • Cost-efficiency, as it requires fewer direct connections and network devices at remote sites.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Increased latency for communication between remote locations, as all data must pass through the central hub.
  • Full-Mesh Architecture:

In the Full-Mesh Architecture, every location (spoke) is directly connected to every other location in the network, creating a fully interconnected mesh of connections.

Each location has a direct point-to-point connection with every other location, forming an efficient and redundant network topology.

Full-Mesh is typically used in smaller networks or scenarios where direct communication between all locations is critical, such as in data centers or critical infrastructure environments.

  • Advantages:
  • Direct and efficient communication between all locations, with no need to route traffic through intermediate hubs.
  • High redundancy, as there are multiple paths for data transmission between any two locations.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Higher cost and complexity, as each additional location requires a new direct connection to every existing location.
  • Difficult to manage and scale as the number of locations grows, as the number of connections increases exponentially with each new location.

In summary, the Hub and Spoke Architecture is suitable for larger networks with a central hub serving as a central point of management and traffic aggregation. It is cost-effective and straightforward to manage. On the other hand, the Full-Mesh Architecture is more suitable for smaller networks where direct communication between all locations is essential, and redundancy is a top priority. The choice between the two architectures depends on the specific needs, traffic patterns, and scalability requirements of the organization’s network infrastructure.

The traditional IPSec VPN approach can encounter several challenges when attempting to support a Full-Mesh architecture, where each location is directly connected to every other location in the network. Some of the main challenges include:

  • Complex Configuration: In a Full-Mesh network, each location needs to establish a separate IPSec VPN tunnel with every other location. As the number of locations grows, the configuration complexity increases significantly, making it challenging to manage and maintain the large number of VPN connections.
  • Scalability: The Full-Mesh approach scales poorly with the number of locations. As the number of locations increases, the number of VPN tunnels needed for each location also grows exponentially. This can lead to resource exhaustion on VPN devices and network congestion, impacting overall network performance.
  • Bandwidth Consumption: In a Full-Mesh architecture, all traffic between locations needs to traverse the IPSec VPN tunnels. This increased data transmission can lead to high bandwidth consumption and cause performance issues, especially when dealing with bandwidth-intensive applications.
  • Latency and Delay: Data traveling through multiple VPN tunnels in a Full-Mesh network may experience increased latency and delay, as the data has to traverse multiple intermediate nodes before reaching its destination.
  • Maintenance Overhead: Managing and monitoring a large number of IPSec VPN connections can be labor-intensive and time-consuming for IT teams. Troubleshooting and maintaining such a complex network may lead to increased operational overhead.
  • Security Concerns: In a Full-Mesh architecture, all locations have direct access to every other location. This creates a larger attack surface, increasing the risk of lateral movement for attackers if one location is compromised. Additionally, the numerous VPN connections can lead to security misconfigurations and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Redundancy and Resilience: Achieving redundancy and resilience in a Full-Mesh network can be challenging using traditional IPSec VPN. Redundant paths may require even more VPN connections and add complexity to the network design.
  • Costs: As the number of VPN tunnels grows, the costs associated with deploying and maintaining numerous IPSec VPN connections can become significant, potentially leading to a less cost-effective solution.

To overcome these challenges, organizations may need to consider alternative networking solutions that offer more efficient and scalable approaches for connecting multiple locations securely. Modern networking technologies, such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) with dynamic routing capabilities or MPLS-based solutions, can provide more flexible and resilient alternatives for Full-Mesh networking scenarios, ensuring better network performance and easier management.

Oceanblue Cloud SD-WAN is designed with a versatile architecture that allows it to efficiently support Full-Mesh networking topology. The architecture consists of three layers: the Access Layer, the Forwarding Layer, and the Control Layer.

  • In the Forwarding Layer, the SD-WAN solution offers significant flexibility in establishing connections between locations. This means that each location within the network can connect to any other location directly without any restrictions or limitations. The Forwarding Layer acts as a dynamic backbone network, facilitating seamless communication and data exchange between all locations.
  • The Access Layer serves as the entry point for individual locations or branches to connect to the SD-WAN network. Each location can establish a secure and encrypted connection to the SD-WAN infrastructure through this Access Layer, ensuring data confidentiality and integrity.
  • The Control Layer is responsible for centralizing the management and orchestration of the entire SD-WAN network. It provides a centralized platform where administrators can configure and control the SD-WAN policies, routing algorithms, and security settings. With centralized management, administrators can easily configure Full-Mesh networking policies and ensure efficient traffic routing between all locations.

By leveraging the Forwarding Layer’s ability to establish unrestricted connections, Oceanblue Cloud SD-WAN can efficiently support Full-Mesh networking topology. This architecture enables dynamic routing and traffic optimization, as data can be directed through the most efficient paths between any two locations. Moreover, the centralized management offered by the Control Layer simplifies the configuration and maintenance of the Full-Mesh network, minimizing complexity and operational overhead.

Overall, Oceanblue Cloud SD-WAN’s innovative architecture empowers organizations to implement Full-Mesh networking with ease, providing enhanced connectivity, resilience, and performance for their distributed network environments.


The background of SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) stems from the need to address the challenges posed by the increasing adoption of cloud services, the rise of mobile workforces, and the growing sophistication of cyber threats. Traditional network architectures, such as MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), were not designed to efficiently support the modern distributed and cloud-centric environment.

The concept of SASE was introduced by Gartner in 2019 as a new networking and security paradigm. It combines networking and security functionalities into a unified cloud-based platform, aiming to provide a more agile, scalable, and secure solution for the evolving digital landscape. SASE integrates a wide range of networking and security services, such as SD-WAN, security functions like SWG (Secure Web Gateway), CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker), ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), and more, into a single, cloud-native architecture.

The key drivers that led to the development of SASE include:

  • Cloud Adoption: As more organizations migrate their applications and data to the cloud, traditional network architectures struggle to efficiently handle the increased volume of cloud traffic.
  • Distributed Workforce: With the rise of remote work and mobile devices, users require secure access to corporate resources from anywhere, beyond the confines of the corporate network.
  • Security Challenges: Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and pervasive, making it essential to enhance security measures and adopt a Zero Trust security model.
  • Complexity and Management Overhead: Managing and securing disparate networking and security solutions can lead to increased complexity and operational challenges for IT teams.

SASE aims to address these challenges by offering a unified and cloud-native approach to networking and security. By converging networking and security functionalities into a single platform, SASE provides a more efficient, scalable, and consistent solution for organizations to manage their wide area networks and security posture.

The SASE architecture is built on the principles of Zero Trust, continuous authentication, micro-segmentation, and identity-centric security. It leverages cloud-based services and global PoPs (Points of Presence) to optimize performance and provide a seamless user experience for accessing cloud and on-premises resources.

As cloud adoption continues to grow, and the need for secure and agile networking solutions becomes increasingly apparent, SASE is gaining momentum as a transformative approach for modern enterprises seeking to streamline their networking and security infrastructure and adapt to the changing demands of the digital era.

SASE stands for Secure Access Service Edge, pronounced “sassy.” It is a networking and security architecture that combines Wide Area Networking (WAN) and network security services into a unified cloud-based platform. SASE aims to provide a more agile, secure, and scalable solution for the modern enterprise, particularly in the context of the growing adoption of cloud-based applications, remote workforces, and distributed networks.

  • SASE combines SD-WAN with network security functions, including cloud access security brokers (CASB), Secure Web Gateways (SWG), antivirus/malware inspection, virtual private networking (VPN), firewall as a service (FWaaS), and data loss prevention (DLP), all delivered by a single cloud service at the network edge.
  • SASE SD-WAN functions may include traffic prioritization, WAN optimization, converged backbones, and self-healing using artificial intelligence platforms AIOps to improve reliability and performance.
  • WAN and security functions are typically delivered as a single service at dispersed SASE points of presence (PoPs) located as close as possible to dispersed users, branch offices and cloud services.To access SASE services, edge locations or users connect to the closest available PoP. SASE vendors may contract with several backbone providers and peering partners to offer customers fast, low-latency WAN performance for long-distance PoP-to-PoP connections.

The key components and principles of SASE include:

  • Cloud-Native Architecture: SASE is built on a cloud-native architecture, leveraging cloud-based services to deliver networking and security functions. This approach allows for scalability, flexibility, and rapid deployment of services.
  • Converged Services: SASE integrates various networking and security services, including Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), Secure Web Access (SWA), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and more. By combining these services, SASE provides a comprehensive and cohesive solution.
  • Identity-Centric Security: SASE focuses on identity-centric security, where access controls are based on user identity, device, and context rather than solely relying on traditional perimeter-based security models.
  • Zero Trust Security: SASE embraces the Zero Trust security model, which assumes that no user or device should be inherently trusted and requires continuous verification and authentication for all users and devices trying to access resources.
  • Edge Connectivity: SASE extends its services to the edge of the network, providing secure access for remote users, branch offices, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices regardless of their location.
  • Global PoPs (Points of Presence): SASE services are often delivered from a distributed network of global PoPs, enabling low-latency and optimized performance for users regardless of their geographic location.
  • Dynamic Network Routing: SASE leverages dynamic network routing to optimize traffic flow and ensure efficient data delivery.
  • API Integration: SASE platforms are designed to integrate with various cloud applications and services through APIs, enabling seamless connectivity and security for cloud-native environments.

The SASE architecture aims to address the challenges posed by the shift to cloud-based applications, mobile workforces, and the increasing complexity of cyber threats. It offers organizations a unified and scalable solution for managing network connectivity and security, making it easier to enforce security policies and protect critical data and resources. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, SASE is gaining traction as a transformative networking and security paradigm for the modern enterprise.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a security framework and architecture that shifts the traditional network security paradigm from a perimeter-based approach to a more identity-centric and context-aware model. ZTNA is designed to ensure that no user or device is inherently trusted, regardless of their location or network connection. Instead, ZTNA requires continuous verification and authentication before granting access to specific resources or applications.

Key principles and characteristics of ZTNA include:

  • Continuous Authentication: ZTNA employs continuous authentication, which means that users and devices are continuously verified throughout their entire session, not just at initial login. This ongoing authentication ensures that access remains secure even if user behavior or device status changes during the session.
  • Identity-Centric Access: ZTNA focuses on user and device identities rather than solely relying on IP addresses or network locations for access control. This identity-centric approach allows organizations to apply access policies based on the user’s identity, device attributes, and contextual factors like time, location, and behavior.
  • Micro-Segmentation: ZTNA uses micro-segmentation to create fine-grained access control. Each user or device is granted access only to the specific resources they need, reducing the attack surface and limiting the potential impact of a security breach.
  • Application-Aware Policies: ZTNA applies application-aware policies, tailoring access permissions based on the sensitivity of the application and the data being accessed. It allows organizations to implement more granular controls, such as restricting copying or downloading of certain files.
  • Secure Access Broker: ZTNA often uses a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform or a Secure Access Broker to enforce access policies. This broker acts as an intermediary between users/devices and the resources, verifying identity and applying policies before granting access.
  • No Implicit Trust: ZTNA operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify.” It means that even users within the corporate network are not implicitly trusted, and access decisions are based on continuous verification and contextual information.
  • Cloud and On-Premises Support: ZTNA is designed to support access to both cloud-based and on-premises resources. It allows organizations to apply consistent security policies regardless of where the resources are located.
  • Remote Workforce Enablement: ZTNA is particularly well-suited for enabling secure access for remote workers and mobile devices, ensuring that employees can securely access corporate resources from anywhere.

Overall, ZTNA is a security approach that aligns with the dynamic and distributed nature of modern networks. It provides enhanced security, better protection against cyber threats, and a more user-friendly experience, making it a valuable security model for organizations seeking to adopt a Zero Trust security strategy.

Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is a cloud-based security offering that provides firewall functionality as a service. It allows organizations to deploy, manage, and maintain firewall protection without the need to invest in and maintain physical firewall appliances on-premises. FWaaS is delivered through cloud service providers, and the firewall functions are hosted in the provider’s cloud infrastructure.

Key features and characteristics of Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) include:

  • Cloud-Based Firewall: FWaaS operates entirely in the cloud, where the firewall functions are virtualized and hosted in the service provider’s data centers. This allows for greater scalability, flexibility, and ease of management compared to traditional on-premises firewalls.
  • Centralized Management: FWaaS provides a centralized management interface, accessible through a web-based portal or API, allowing administrators to configure, monitor, and manage firewall policies and rules for multiple locations and sites from a single point of control.
  • Scalability: FWaaS can easily scale to accommodate changing network demands, as the cloud infrastructure can dynamically allocate resources based on traffic volume and requirements.
  • Global Coverage: FWaaS can provide global coverage, allowing organizations with distributed or remote offices to apply consistent firewall policies and protection across all locations.
  • Advanced Security Features: FWaaS offerings often include advanced security features, such as intrusion prevention, application control, URL filtering, threat intelligence, antivirus, and data loss prevention (DLP).
  • Zero Trust Networking: FWaaS aligns with the principles of Zero Trust networking, where access decisions are based on continuous verification of user identity, device health, and contextual factors.
  • Traffic Inspection and Logging: FWaaS performs deep packet inspection and can log and analyze network traffic for security and compliance purposes.
  • Operational Cost Savings: By adopting FWaaS, organizations can reduce the capital expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining physical firewall appliances. Additionally, operational costs related to firewall management, updates, and maintenance are shifted to the service provider.

FWaaS is particularly well-suited for organizations that require advanced security protection and centralized management across geographically dispersed locations. It is an attractive option for businesses that seek to simplify their network security infrastructure, improve agility, and reduce the burden on their IT teams.

However, when considering FWaaS, organizations must carefully evaluate the service provider’s security capabilities, data privacy, compliance adherence, and network performance to ensure that it aligns with their specific requirements and regulatory obligations.

A Secure Web Gateway (SWG) is a security solution that acts as an intermediary between users on an internal network (such as a corporate network) and the internet. Its primary function is to protect users from web-based threats, enforce corporate internet usage policies, and provide secure and filtered access to web resources.

Key features and functions of a Secure Web Gateway (SWG) include:

  • URL Filtering: SWGs use URL filtering to block access to malicious or inappropriate websites based on predefined categories or custom policies. This helps prevent users from accessing harmful or non-work-related content.
  • Malware and Threat Protection: SWGs scan web traffic for malware, viruses, and other web-based threats in real-time. They use various security mechanisms, including antivirus scanning, sandboxing, and threat intelligence feeds, to identify and block malicious content before it reaches the users.
  • SSL Inspection: SWGs can perform SSL/TLS inspection to inspect encrypted web traffic and detect threats hiding within encrypted communications. This allows them to provide security coverage for both HTTP and HTTPS traffic.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): SWGs can apply data loss prevention policies to prevent sensitive data from being leaked or exfiltrated through web channels. They can monitor and control data transfers to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
  • User Authentication and Access Control: SWGs enforce user authentication and access controls to ensure that only authorized users can access web resources. This may include integration with single sign-on (SSO) systems or integration with user directories like Active Directory.
  • Bandwidth Management: SWGs can prioritize web traffic based on policies, ensuring critical business applications have sufficient bandwidth and reducing the impact of non-essential web usage on network performance.
  • Reporting and Analytics: SWGs provide detailed reports and analytics on web traffic, security events, user activity, and policy violations. This information helps administrators gain insights into network usage and identify potential security issues.
  • Cloud Application Control: Some SWGs include cloud application control features, allowing organizations to monitor and control access to cloud-based applications, ensuring compliance with security policies.

Secure Web Gateways are a critical component of an organization’s security infrastructure, especially as web-based threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. They play a crucial role in protecting users and sensitive data from web-based threats, enforcing acceptable use policies, and ensuring a secure and productive web browsing experience for employees. SWGs can be deployed on-premises, as virtual appliances, or as cloud-based services, providing organizations with the flexibility to choose the deployment option that best suits their needs.

A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a security solution that acts as an intermediary between an organization’s users and the cloud services they access. It provides visibility into cloud usage, enforces security policies, and ensures compliance with organizational and regulatory requirements when using cloud-based applications and services.

Key features and functions of a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) include:

  • Cloud Visibility: CASBs offer visibility into cloud application usage, providing organizations with insights into which cloud services are being used, by whom, and for what purposes. This visibility allows organizations to understand potential risks and ensure compliance with corporate policies.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): CASBs can enforce data loss prevention policies, ensuring that sensitive or confidential data is not inappropriately shared or leaked through cloud services. They can detect and prevent the unauthorized sharing of sensitive information.
  • User Authentication and Access Control: CASBs can enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) and other access control policies to ensure that only authorized users can access cloud services and data.
  • Encryption and Tokenization: CASBs can provide encryption and tokenization of data to protect it while it is in transit and at rest within cloud services.
  • Threat Protection: CASBs can detect and block malware, phishing attempts, and other cyber threats within cloud applications and services.
  • Shadow IT Discovery: CASBs can identify and monitor “shadow IT” usage, where employees use unauthorized cloud services, helping organizations gain control over their cloud footprint.
  • Compliance and Policy Enforcement: CASBs help enforce corporate security policies and ensure compliance with industry regulations and data protection standards when using cloud services.
  • Cloud-to-Cloud Visibility and Control: CASBs can extend their visibility and security controls to interactions between different cloud services, ensuring a holistic approach to cloud security.
  • Real-time Activity Monitoring: CASBs offer real-time monitoring of user activities and data transactions within cloud applications, providing IT teams with insights into potential security incidents.

CASBs can be deployed in different modes, including API-based, forward proxy, or reverse proxy. Each mode offers its own advantages and capabilities for securing cloud usage. Some CASB solutions are offered as standalone products, while others are integrated into larger cloud security platforms or Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offerings.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud-based applications and services, CASBs play a crucial role in providing the necessary security controls, ensuring data protection, and maintaining compliance in the cloud environment. They help organizations embrace the benefits of cloud computing while maintaining a strong security posture.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a set of technologies and strategies designed to prevent sensitive or confidential data from being leaked, lost, or stolen. DLP solutions aim to protect critical information from unauthorized access and transmission, both within an organization’s internal network and when data is being transferred outside the network, such as to cloud services, email, or removable storage devices.

Key features and functionalities of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions include:

  • Content Discovery: DLP solutions can scan an organization’s data repositories, networks, and endpoints to discover sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial records, intellectual property, or other proprietary information.
  • Data Classification: DLP solutions can automatically classify data based on predefined policies or user-defined rules. Data classification helps identify the sensitivity level of data and enables more granular protection policies.
  • Policy Enforcement: DLP solutions enforce policies that dictate how sensitive data should be handled, transmitted, or shared. These policies may include rules for encryption, access controls, data usage, and data movement.
  • Endpoint Protection: DLP solutions can be deployed on endpoints, such as laptops, mobile devices, and servers, to monitor and control data access and transfer on these devices.
  • Network Monitoring: DLP solutions can monitor network traffic in real-time to identify and prevent unauthorized attempts to send sensitive data outside the organization’s network.
  • Data Encryption: DLP solutions can enforce encryption of sensitive data, ensuring that data remains protected even if it is intercepted during transmission.
  • Preventing Data Exfiltration: DLP solutions can detect and prevent unauthorized attempts to exfiltrate data, whether through email, file transfer, cloud services, or other communication channels.
  • Data Masking and Redaction: DLP solutions can apply data masking or redaction techniques to protect sensitive information while allowing authorized users to access the data for legitimate purposes.
  • Data Handling Policies: DLP solutions can enforce policies for data handling, such as preventing the use of USB drives or limiting the ability to copy sensitive data to removable media.
  • Compliance and Reporting: DLP solutions often include reporting and auditing capabilities to demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations and industry standards.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is crucial for organizations that handle sensitive information and want to safeguard it from accidental leaks or intentional data theft. It helps maintain data confidentiality, integrity, and availability, reducing the risk of data breaches and protecting the organization’s reputation and customer trust. DLP solutions are employed in various industries, including healthcare, finance, government, and enterprises that deal with personally identifiable information, financial data, trade secrets, and other sensitive data types.