If you’re planning to take advantage of 5G networks and emerging technologies, or if you have branch offices and remote workers, then you need a network that’s robust, reliable, and future-ready. Secure software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) has emerged as an ideal way to upgrade your network without adding unnecessary cost and complexity.

SD-WAN is a software overlay that abstracts the network hardware from its control mechanism. This makes it easy to manage and gives the network a level of intelligence that can demonstrably improve the user experience. It can be used to prioritise traffic so that mission-critical applications receive the bandwidth they require and any network outages are seamlessly managed so that end users don’t experience a drop in performance.

Security is the key ingredient in any SD-WAN solution. Secure SD-WAN helps businesses rapidly provision branch and satellite offices, prioritise network traffic more precisely, and make network management easier and more visible without compromising security.

SD-WAN is so game-changing that market intelligence firm IDC predicts the rapidly expanding global SD-WAN infrastructure market, excluding managed services, will reach US$5.3 billion by 2023.1

However, in the understandable excitement that surrounds SD-WAN, it can be easy to lose sight of just how important the network underlay is in helping to achieve the true benefits of a secure SD-WAN solution.

What is the network underlay?

The network underlay is the physical network that underpins SD-WAN. An underlay network can include multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), internet, fibre, or wireless broadband. A secure SD-WAN solution manages the application traffic based on the availability and performance of these underlay networks.

Why is the network underlay so important?

Secure SD-WAN promises numerous benefits around flexibility, speed, and agility. However, if the network underlay can’t support this, then those benefits will be lost. Automation assists you to leverage the full potential of secure SD-WAN.

Can’t I just use my existing WAN and add the secure SD-WAN overlay?

In a traditional hub-and-spoke WAN configuration, all data is backhauled through the data centre. Backhauling all traffic can lead to a network that is strained by the explosion of network traffic that accompanies digital transformation. Secure SD-WAN is designed for high availability via multiple redundancies and can therefore support new and increased types of traffic.

What effect does the network underlay have on security and visibility?

Secure SD-WAN solutions provide good control and visibility into the network; however, they may not necessarily provide visibility into the underlay network. This can make it difficult to identify and resolve issues, potentially leading to increased costs and user frustration. Therefore, choose a solution that combines the network underlay with the secure SD-WAN solution, giving you full visibility into every layer of the network.

Do I need to choose a co-managed solution?

When it comes to your network, you can choose a fully managed solution, manage it yourself, or opt for a co-managed solution. With co-management, the team can make changes on the fly rather than submitting a ticket and waiting for a response. Co-managed solutions are rare in Australia because most vendors don’t provide a configurable, flexible, self-service portal with role-based access for customers. However, there are significant benefits to providing this control while still abstracting the complexity of running the secure SD-WAN.

How can TPG help?

At TPG, we’ve partnered with Fortinet, a global leader in security-driven networking, to bring you a secure SD-WAN solution that combines a next-generation, automated network underlay with market-leading secure SD-WAN.

The key word is automation. Our automated network means most existing customers can get branch offices and new locations up and running with a wireless implementation within three days and gain real-time control over their network through the customer portal.

Our combined secure SD-WAN solution is built on TPG’s high-speed, high-performing fibre and mobile networks, so you know the network underlay is engineered to perform.

What’s the next step?

To learn more about why the network underlay is crucial to successful secure SD-WAN deployments, read the whitepaper.

Download the whitepaper