Harnessing the Power of Hybrid WAN: A Shift in Network Architecture

Evolving Wide Area Networks for Seamless Connectivity and Optimized Performance

Key Takeaways:

  • Hybrid WAN connects two geographically separated WANs to a branch office through two different types of connections: traditional MPLS and a broadband internet or VPN connection.
  • Hybrid WAN resolves issues of older WAN architecture by directing traffic directly to the internet, reducing latency and cost associated with MPLS links.
  • Real-time monitoring enables hybrid WAN users to select the most efficient link back to the data center.
  • Compared to traditional WAN, hybrid WAN utilizes asymmetrical optimization techniques and offers path selection based on real-time monitoring.
  • Hybrid WAN works in conjunction with software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs), using SD-WAN’s intelligence for traffic distribution.

In today’s digital era, organizations require robust, flexible, and cost-effective networking solutions. Traditional Wide Area Networks (WANs) often struggle to meet the demands of increased cloud computing, data traffic, and geographically dispersed operations. This is where Hybrid WAN comes to the fore, offering a way to connect geographically separated WANs efficiently and cost-effectively.

Understanding Hybrid WAN: The Basics

In essence, Hybrid WAN is a method of connecting two geographically separated WANs to a branch office. It routes traffic over two distinct types of connections: a traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connection to the data center and a broadband internet or Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.

While the regular business traffic intended for the data center uses the MPLS route, the Hybrid WAN allows for other traffic to be directed over the internet, reducing unnecessary latency and cost associated with data center visits.

The Advantages of Hybrid WAN

The significance of Hybrid WAN lies in its potential to resolve issues associated with older WAN architectures. By channeling traffic directly to the internet, it avoids extra hops and latency often encountered when traffic is routed through a data center. Furthermore, internet-directed traffic is more cost-efficient compared to using MPLS links, thus delivering considerable savings for businesses.

One of the key features of Hybrid WAN is its real-time monitoring capability. This enables users to determine the best path back to the data center based on the current conditions of each link, including latency and error rates.

Hybrid WAN Versus Traditional WAN

In contrast to traditional WAN architecture, Hybrid WAN provides a more effective solution. Traditional WAN optimization techniques are typically symmetrical, meaning traffic is balanced evenly across available links. Hybrid WAN, however, uses asymmetrical optimization techniques, harnessing both the MPLS link and the internet connection for greater efficiency.

Moreover, Hybrid WAN offers path selection. It can assess each link’s current performance and select the most efficient path for traffic, based on real-time monitoring. This approach enhances network performance and ensures optimal resource utilization.

Synergy with Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)

Hybrid WAN isn’t a stand-alone solution; it often works hand-in-hand with Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs). SD-WAN is a more modern approach to managing and optimizing network traffic, utilizing software and cloud-based technologies.

In a Hybrid WAN setup, SD-WAN’s intelligence is used to distribute traffic across the network. The versatility of Hybrid WAN means that it can also be transformed into an SD-WAN by integrating SD-WAN technology. This combination, known as Hybrid SD-WAN, offers numerous benefits.

Hybrid SD-WAN allows for policy-controlled path selection and configuration, enabling the network to adapt quickly and easily to changing needs. It ensures seamless traffic flow between links, maintaining high-quality application performance even if one link experiences issues such as latency, jitter, or packet loss. In such a scenario, the other link can take over, ensuring compliance with service level agreements and minimal disruption to business operations.

The Future of Network Architecture: Embracing Hybrid WAN

Hybrid WAN offers a compelling alternative to traditional WAN architectures. Its ability to streamline traffic, reduce latency, cut costs, and adapt in real time makes it a powerful tool for today’s businesses. When combined with the intelligence and flexibility of SD-WAN, Hybrid WAN presents a future-ready solution that meets the demands of our increasingly digital and connected world.

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