5 Industrial and Enterprise Use Cases of SD-WAN

SD-WAN Industrial and Enterprise Use Cases

Software-defined networking and SD-WAN solutions are becoming an ever more popular choice for both industrial and commercial uses. This has, at least in part, been driven by technological advances in wireless communications, networking, and the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT).

SD-WAN is currently transforming the way in which industries all over the world design, implement and utilize their network architectures and has the potential to drastically improve the flexibility, reliability, connectivity and security of their network.

In this article, we’ll be looking five industrial and enterprise use cases of SD-WAN and how it is helping to enhance and improve their network capabilities and functions.

So, let’s jump straight in.

1- SD-WAN in Retail Use Case

The retail industry is our first use case and is currently seeing significant improvement in their networking efforts thanks to the growing adoption of SD-WAN solutions.

There are various reasons as to how SD-WAN can help improve wide-area networks in retail, with each one offering unique benefits to the organization.

SD-WAN is allowing retail enterprises to get new stores up and running much faster than before, as they do not need multiple hardware pieces, engineers on site and an MPLS to get started. SD-WAN appliance can be set up in matter of minutes and connect with the overlay network and request configuration settings automatically.

Retail sector is fact adopting a variety of evolving IoT solutions. 4K Digital Signage is one fast growing trend that is creating great value for the companies that want their customers to be informed about their promotions, procedures, or products as they are in the store. Cloud managed digital signage requires internet connection that is very stable. SD-WAN solves rising bandwidth challenges in Retail sector by offering link aggregation and QoS features to isolate bandwidth for digital signage network. WiFi Internet for visitors is also isolated by using SD-WAN, so that visitors usage of internet does not weigh heavily on the network resources.

Being a software-based solution, SD-WAN won’t need to hardware upgrades in 5 years’ time, it won’t need to be physically repaired due to environmental degradation, and it will allow a much smoother upgrade paths for future additions to the network.

The need for less hardware is also a god-send for retail networks, as many will require the same configurations for hundreds or even thousands of stores and outlets across the country or the world.

Software-defined networks can be controlled and configured from a single console, with those configurations then able to be transferred to each store’s network.

With retail networks growing in their capabilities, it seems it won’t be long before we begin to see the potential of SD-WAN in retail fully realized.

2- SD-WAN in Manufacturing Use Case

Another industry that has seen a lot of transformation over the past few years is the manufacturing industry.

With a huge increase in the number of connected and IoT devices involved in the manufacturing, network solutions will need to be able to manage and leverage the different connections in terms of their priority.

With SD-WAN solutions, manufacturers are able to isolate network segments based on process, business unit or department. No longer you have to provide access to your suppliers and jeopardize integrity of your own network. Network segmentation is one of the biggest benefits for manufacturing industry.

Also, SD-WAN allows for simple management and prioritization of network traffic to ensure business-critical communication has the best connection available.

Growth in the number of manufacturing processes, applications and techniques such as real-time data sharing and predictive maintenance means that ensuring that all vehicles, tools, equipment and machinery are working together in harmony is essential. It is also but one of the ways SD-WAN solutions are improving manufacturing operations and management.

3- SD-WAN in Events Use Case

With advances in wireless, cloud and mobile technologies have come a plethora of new ways in which events venues can engage with their patrons.

Music concerts, sports events, festivals, conventions and exhibitions and other public and private events are now making use of SD-WAN to provide new and improved services at their events.

In the UK, a joint partnership between Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson and English football club Chelsea FC has emerged with the aims to provide fans of the club with an enhanced fan experience where those inside Chelsea’s stadium will be able to take advantage of its carrier-grade WiFi network.

There are also plans to implement SD-WAN solutions at music concerts due to a recent rise in the popularity of artists performing songs by request. In these scenarios, fans and audience members use their smartphones or other devices to connect to the venue’s network and vote on which tracks they want to hear.

This requires an intelligent WAN architecture in order to prioritize and leverage network traffic and resources so as to be able to manage both critical and low-priority traffic as well as provide a seamless customer experience.

4-SD-WAN in Finance Use Case

The financial industry sees an absolutely enormous amount of sensitive and personal data and traffic pass across its branch networks every day. For this reason, securing this data and information has to be a top priority of any financial enterprise or institution.

The vast majority of legacy WAN systems are unable to provide basic levels of security and protection that are essential in today’s day and age. This is one of the main reasons as to why those in the financial industry are looking to SD-WAN solutions.

Many SD-WAN solutions come with built-in security and protection measures such as temporary VPN (virtual private network) connections and encryption as standard. These two functions are a great foundation to then build up the appropriate security measures and policy.

The threats faced by modern networks are numerous and can have devastating consequences on businesses if pre-emptive protective measures are not already in place.

5- SD-WAN in Healthcare Use Case

Healthcare is another industry that has seen a huge increase in the use of connected and IoT devices in its services. However, this increase isn’t the only challenge facing healthcare networks.

Complex and disparate networks, compliance, capacity, and network security are also up there with the issues faced by those looking to build, configure and maintain healthcare networks.

These issues, however, are now being dealt with through the implementation of software-defined wide-area network solutions. SD-WAN is currently one of the most looked to technologies in the healthcare industry and is enjoying growing adoption and integration into healthcare networks.

SD-WAN provides the visibility needed across the entire network, allows users to centrally manage their networks, provides traffic and application data prioritization and can assist in enhancing network security. For these reasons, SD-WAN solutions may be the go to solution for the healthcare industry for years to come.

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