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Jun 04

SD-WAN vs VPN: Can SD-WAN Replace VPN Completely?

Posted on June 04th, by Arpita Saxena 0 Comments
SD-WAN vs VPN: Can SD-WAN Replace VPN Completely?
  • Cost
  • QoS (Quality of Service)
  • Safe Cloud Usage

These three factors are defined as VPN+SD-WAN, or SD-WAN is just an attempt to “re-brand” VPN. It is marked as the advanced enterprise-grade VPN to differentiate it from legacy VPNs. However, VPN is the buzzing word, but SD-WAN is also the new edge (especially for granular security) in the networking environment.

If we travel a few years back, then VPNs were the significant part of networking security. Basically, VPNs are eminent due to its simplicity and traffic filtering. They have the potential to drop the packets, which don’t originate from the legitimate sources. Also, its property of traffic encryption makes it a level above than others. But, it gets failed when we reach out at its network performance. No doubt, VPNs are best at traffic prioritization and encryption; and that’s why these are unparalleled for small businesses that use a single IP backbone. But, if the enterprise has multiple locations, then the latency issues on voice and video transmission might have occurred.

Therefore, it is very important to manipulate your business requirements, study them, evaluate them comprehensively, and then after switch to the one alternative- either it’s VPN or SD-WAN.

A Look at Legacy VPNs!

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secured network that transmits data in an encrypted form between two end junctures. More often, it is used to connect individual devices to a site or a site to another site. Among which, VPN tunnel or IP tunnel plays a vital role. The tunnel is used to send the data on the private network. This ensures that the data should not be intercepted by any unauthorized source.

At times, you will find out that VPNs have the capability to provide security in two forms:

  • VPN Device: The VPN device or VPN “box” or VPN router is responsible for creating an encrypted tunnel between two same-keyed partners.
  • VPN Firewall: VPN firewall is that uncompromised “protection” that secures the transmitted data over the network.

However, when the VPN device and firewall get integrated, then you will get a VPN device with these two features embedded in it.

So, if you are going to staff VPN into your network, then you will get optimized data, encoded with security algorithms. (Remember, VPN has more failover time as compared to SD-WAN!!!)

Hence, it is a wiser step to invest your time in asking these three queries, before choosing the one (SD-WAN or VPN):

  • Does your enterprise require great application performance?
  • Is your enterprise stationed at multiple locations; or your client asks for the remote access and less secured networking?
  • Is it essential to manage/ control your own WAN?

When to Include SD-WAN!

SD-WAN comes into the picture when the enterprises operate at multiple locations and have to rely on the cloud to access data. Moreover, application awareness, remote access, and granular security are also the significant reasons that make companies turn their heads towards SD-WAN. On a different note, SD-WAN doesn’t have end-to-end QoS (Quality of Service), like a Layer 3 MPLS VPN did possess. But, SD-WAN’s local QoS has far more improved properties than basic internet VPN services. It’s because of its granular level of support and the technologies, as- caching or application acceleration. People switch to work from home or cafes or hotels, etc. due to the promising features set of SD-WAN.

Where there is cloud technology, security is the priority. And, with SD-WAN, IT people can have the accessibility to check and secure the traffic, on the basis of the user profile and traffic type. In short, you will acquire the robust security that helps you transmit the data easily across the network without any hurdle.

SD-WAN vs VPN: How do they Compare?

KFC, McDonald’s, & Healthcare Diagnostics, etc.- These possess multiple outlets or branches within the same city or outside or at a remote location. Yes, Software Defined WAN technology assists them in every possible way in retaining their data safe and unhampered. SD-WAN assists them and such clients in preserving their data/ information secure while transmitting across the network. Software Defined WAN, even, also helps optimize the networks on the basis of the traffic type.

Besides it, SD-WAN offers “self-healing” property as well, as compared to VPN. Especially, when you are using a simple WAN device, then it supports the level of reliability, unnoticed with VPNs.

Likewise, there are more such differences or, you can say, the advanced attributes of SD-WAN that surpass VPN’s conventional properties, as:

  • Primitively, every enterprise looks for the path with optimal network performance, reliability, flexibility, and full-fledged security in relatively low cost- SD-WAN is the way to choose.
  • Moreover, if you compare VPN and SD-WAN across the internet, then SD-WAN is much more comprehensive rather than VPN. It has the competency to empower the basic internet VPNs and to eliminate global MPLS & VPLS networks.
  • No one can predict future, but businesses always want the solution that delivers, and will deliver the fast and safest outcome (including, better reporting) over multi-networks. SD-WAN is best suited for it.
  • As the time is moving ahead, cloud technology is also booming, and it is the future of enterprises. So, along with cloud, what businesses crave for is the focused approach that prevents the poor performance, data infringement, or hacking threats- all that adversely affect the business. SD-WAN is the key to these locks.


Network is the pillar of an enterprise over which data is transmitted. So, it should be safe and offers optimum performance, no matter it is within the premises or at cloud. Software Defined WAN is that substratum that helps pillar (network) to be safe and secure under each condition in minimal cost. What else does an enterprise require!

Arpita Saxena
Written by Arpita Saxena
Arpita Saxena is a Content Writer at TaraSpan. She likes to explore and read about the latest technologies to provide the knowledge to the audience and educate them with correct insight.


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