Will 2017 Be the Tipping Point for SD-WAN?
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Will 2017 Be the Tipping Point for SD-WAN?

Posted on by FS.COM

SD-WAN, also called Software Defined Wide Area Network, was all the buzz in enterprise networking in 2016. As a new approach to support branch office and data center connectivity in a simplified and cost-effective manner, SD-WAN is dramatically reshaping the enterprise router market. According to Gartner, by 2020, spending on SD-WAN products will grow to $1.24 billion and almost a third of enterprises will have some form of SD-WAN technology in operation. As more enterprises deployed SD-WAN technology and the potential became reality, 2017 looks to be a promising year for SD-WAN.

Brief Introduction to SD-WAN

If this is the first time you’ve taken a look at SD-WAN, you may have question about “What is SD-WAN”. SD-WAN, short for Software Defined Wide Area Network, is a specific application of SDN technology applied to WAN connection. It allows users to design and deploy an enterprise WAN with software defined networking to determine the most effective way to route traffic to remote locations. In 2016, SD-WAN is not just a buzzword, and it has quickly gained traction among CIOs. The following diagram shows some opinions about using SD-WAN.


Traditional WAN vs. SD-WAN

Traditional WAN design is based on multiple devices stacked in the branch office with a combination of distinct links. Thus, limited and expensive bandwidth has been the major deterrent in traditional WAN setups. In addition, everything in traditional WAN depends on access to adequate physical infrastructure such as circuit-switched phone lines, radio wave transmissions, optic fiber technologies, multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), and so on.


On the contrary, in a SD-WAN, networking hardware is virtualized, which simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism. Compared to traditional WAN, SD-WAN enables a greater level of circuit flexibility and reliability, and offers higher performance with lower cost.


SD-WAN in 2017

SD-WAN gained good traction in 2016. Not only the leading industry analysts (e.g. Gartner, IDC, etc.) seem quite bullish on the future of SDN, but also more enterprises adopt SD-WAN as they transition to more cloud-based applications. It is clear that the upward trend of SD-WAN seems set to continue in 2017. The following diagram from IHS shows that SD-WAN will soon dominate the global WAN optimization market.

SD-WAN market

Here are some of the major impacts predicted for enterprise networks and SD-WAN in 2017:

  • SD-WAN will enable IT engineers and operators to focus more on strategic business initiatives and less on network design.
  • SD-WAN will encompass all network connection end-points which enables IT engineer to optimize the location of their applications for more efficient business operations.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) will fuel the adoption of SD-WAN.
  • Telcos will integrate SD-WAN capabilities to provide comprehensive End-To-End network solutions.
  • White box vendors will start grabbing bigger market share in this space as organizations continue their migration to SD-WAN.



The emergence of SD-WAN is a relatively recent market development. Compared to traditional WAN, it has the significant benefits of lower cost, higher performance, easier management and greater reliability. We believe that 2017 may be the tipping point for SD-WAN. SD-WAN adoption will go to accelerate and further evolve into new markets.

FS.COM offers high performance 10/40GbE switches that support multiple form factors and includes fiberstore Open Switch Platform (OSP) reference software for Data Center, SDN, Openflow and enterprise applications.

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