Introduction to Next Generation Routing - Part I

An Article by Pankaj Verma

It the time when more than 50% of the enterprises are evaluating the SDWAN vendor as they want to transition into next generation of routing which is SD-WAN! Let’s talk about SDWAN in general and more and more in way in future!  

Why should I care about SDWAN?
Legacy network topologies are becoming day by day complex and expensive to implement and secure. Tomorrows networks are not able to meet the need of today’s enterprises with agile requirement. 

Trends like multi-cloud data centers, IoT, mobility are putting strain on branch network.  
To address above challenges, there requirement of an overlay network that is transport independent (it should be supported by any media i.e. MPLS, Internet, Point-to-point, 4G) and should provide automation to save IT time to perform day to day repetitive tasks. 

What does SDWAN do for an Enterprise? 
Reduction of Cost: Legacy network runs on expensive hardware, which require considerable time for configuration and troubleshooting. In addition to this, these networks require stable transport media to Data Center. SDWAN reduces the cost as Internet link (commodity media) can be used for enterprise application securely also the single pane of window to manage the network reduces time to troubleshoot and maintain the network.


Fig 1.1- SDWAN Introduction
Reduction of Complexity: Legacy network work in distributed way where every router in the network should be configured with local routing and security policies. This brings a complexity to a network when a new change is required network wide as this router maintains both types of routing one ISP reachability and the other enterprise wide routing configuration. 

Small changes in network become a project for IT team to make sure everything goes smoothly. With SDWAN, network is maintained as entity where policies are defined centrally and deployed network wide also true SDWAN solution introduces the fabric which is an overlay network. 

Increased Control over Network: Legacy network that run on carrier circuits depends on the carrier to perform even a small change i.e. introduction to new subnet, monitoring and network design. Enterprises do not have any control over network. SDWAN provides this routing control back to IT team with more visibility into the network. 

Reduced Time to Market: Legacy network that run on dedicated circuit provider depends on the carrier to install a new site. This way due to non-feasibility of link at some location may increase the time to market. SDWAN that it transport / media independent do not depends on any circuit and can operate on any available media i.e. Internet, 3G / 4G greatly reduces the time to market. 

What should I expect from SDWAN Solution? 
SDWAN solution should be Software defined and no to be hardware centric. This should be scalable in terms of supporting the thousands of remote locations. Cost reduction.  

SDWAN solution should be centrally managed solution and be able to perform network wide changes quickly. Should be equipped with powerful GUI functionality to get the Intend from IT and push the network configuration to devices.  

SDWAN solution should be transport and carrier independent and should work with any media available at any given point. Thus, reduction of time to bring the new site.

SDWAN Solution should be flexible enough to meet an enterprise need – components should be virtualized, or appliance based, management should be on-premises or in cloud (Public [SaaS / IaaS] / Private); because one size is not fit for all 😊.

Last but not the least should ensure security from both Data Plane and Control Plane. Yes you got it right when we talk about clear separation of control and data plane the communication between the routers (Data Plane) and the routers and controllers (Control Plane) should be secure. I know this brings the new question how the authenticity of the routers is maintained and ensured! 

I hope you find this article informative and should equipped you to make the informed decision to finalize your technology partner for next generation routing journey!