SD-WAN (Software-defined Wide Area Network) is gaining favor among municipalities as a more effective choice for managing a decentralized network system. Municipal systems have struggled to adapt their outdated computer networks to meet modern demands.
Expecting to fulfill 21st-century requirements using 20th-century technology has proven ineffective for many municipal structures. This leaves critical tasks unaccomplished and residents potentially vulnerable. Here is why SD-WAN is set to revolutionize how municipalities do business:
The status quo
Before extolling the virtues of SD-WAN, a study of how it differs from traditional networks is essential, according to industry expert Geoff Hultin. Most municipalities continue to rely on a multiprotocol label switching network (MPLS), which lacks the capacity to accomplish routine tasks.
Without the necessary bandwidth capabilities, these systems are slow to perform and update. Patches take too long to fix issues, leaving an overall unsatisfying experience for users. New applications have worsened the situation as they call for expanded bandwidth demand. Municipalities wanting to develop their systems have found that the legacy MPLS network cannot cope with such growth, experiencing multiple crashes and an inability to sustain primary, critical service delivery.
A study in contrasts
Traditional networks’ shortcomings can be addressed via the implementation of SD-WAN solutions. A conventional WAN is based on conventional routers, which were not designed with cloud use in mind. Consequently, this system retrieves information from branches and returns it to a centralized source where the data receives a security inspection. Even data programmed to enter the cloud, it is still subject to this process before doing so.
SD-WAN solutions support applications in on-site data centers, the cloud, and programs like Office 365. The result is better data management coupled with high application performance levels. The centralized control of SD-WAN securely directs traffic across the WAN without any additional layers of movement that waste valuable time.
Fortunately, municipalities do not need to discard existing MPLS networks as they can be blended with SD-WAN solutions. This seamless scalability will support organizations with multiple locations. Since a decentralized system is a typical municipal administration structure, SD-WAN solutions lend themselves to local government structures.
Moving across departments, cities, counties, and regions, SD-WAN provides an ideal architectural design that makes integration simpler. Municipal offices no longer operate in siloes and can share information between relevant departments in real-time.
Modern municipal IT requirements cannot be met using old techniques. Traditionally, access would be achieved by routing a connection to a data center with high-capacity internet. Various security mechanisms filter the data and store it. Connecting sites using MPLS is less effective and secure, resulting in low performance. The cost can also become prohibitive.
SD-WAN has lower operating costs and saves municipal IT departments thousands of dollars. IT teams can connect various locations using high bandwidth networks and ensure that necessary security protocols remain in place to maintain the system’s integrity.
Efficiency and security
As mentioned before, security protocols are vital when using SD-WAN solutions. IT specialists are tasked with making data available without compromising its vulnerability. These solutions have built-in firewalls, URL filtering, and intrusion prevention mechanisms. Confidential data is isolated, and its movement across the network is segmented. Legacy MPLS systems do not provide such high levels of security as their core design predates many modern hacking techniques.
Older systems cannot prioritize data and its movement between different locations. As a more intelligent solution, SD-WAN enables pipeline and traffic path creation, allowing for the seamless movement of data without delay. The network is more reliable and less likely to crash when it can adjust to changing traffic volumes by equalizing data movement levels.