Did you know SD-WAN can cut your costs?

Suresh Kumar Vijayen

Did you know SD-WAN can cut your costs?

For years, businesses worldwide have been keen to adopt the latest technology and trends. Therefore, it’s prime time to go digitised and explore cloud capabilities. However, this presents a challenge with the network infrastructure (data centre, cloud, security, or network connectivity). It requires a revamp to measure up to emerging and demanding requirements. Additionally, the adoption of any new technology or trend with an MPLS-based traditional WAN infrastructure comes with significant cost increases related to bandwidth, maintenance, and management of the network.

Transitioning from a traditional WAN to SD-WAN technology enables significant cost reduction without sacrificing reliability, performance, or application Quality of Experience (QoE).


As is known, traditional WAN limitations have surfaced with the latest technology and trends, which requires flexibility and a sophisticated architecture to tackle the challenges. This means acquiring different solutions for different functions as needed, such as firewalls for security and WAN optimisers for WAN optimisation. However, acquiring multiple software and appliances will increase the complexity of the network landscape and the unitary cost per device. 

With SD-WAN technology, multiple services such as WAN optimisation, security, and monitoring tools are an all-in-one solution. In this case, SD-WAN adoption allows the reduction of a significant cost medium to long term. Based on Gartner, reviews across multiple vendors show that the 5-year hardware/software/support costs of SD-WAN are up to 40% less than traditional routers. [Source: Gartner Research Note G00369080, 14 Sept 2018]

Operations and Maintenance

Traditional WAN operation and maintenance functionalities are well known for their lack of network monitoring and decentralised controllers resulting in manual management of the entire network components, high OPEX and low productivity. For instance, Traditional WAN requires 3rd party monitoring software, repetitive tasks, travelling, accommodation for multiple sites, and more.

Switching to SD-WAN has the potential to reduce OPEX by 20% to 30%. For example, planning and deployment time can be cut by up to 75% via Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP). Network controller centralisation with full visibility and automation helps reduce the overall time spent managing by 30% and downsizes required staffing by 20%, compared with previous traditional environments. [Source: Enterprise Networking Building the network of the future with SD-WAN by Deloitte TEE]

WAN Connectivity

An organisation’s IT budget is hugely affected by the cost of WAN connectivity. For most businesses, the bandwidth of Internet traffic is increasing. Thus, it is not encouraged to scale down bandwidth as this may impact productivity. In Traditional WAN, bandwidth consumption is from Internet traffic such as browsing and accessing cloud applications (representing 90% of the total traffic flows) together with high sensitive traffic such as critical business applications. It’s not questionable that MPLS-based traditional WANs are not cost-efficient since non-critical traffic flows over expensive dedicated MPLS links.

The SD-WAN capability of utilising any combination of transports such as broadband or mobile connectivity provides a better solution regarding cost-efficiency. WAN connectivity costs could be reduced by up to 50% to 90% without compromising performance. Note that savings here may vary depending on connectivity type and geography.