How can SD-WAN transform the Education Sector?

Suresh Kumar Vijayen

How can SD-WAN transform the Education Sector?

The education sector has changed rapidly since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, resulting in a noticeable disruption in education operations globally. Many countries have rushed transforming their educational systems to advance digital learning. Laptops, tablets, online classes, online educational materials, and online examinations have set the new tone for education. This abrupt and massive shift has confronted the sector with critical concerns related to IT demands:

  • Traffic surges have posed questions about the bandwidth and reliability of the Internet.
  • Network protection from malicious threats is a persistent necessity 
  • Lack of visibility around network and application performances

SD-WAN is an intelligent network technology embedded with unique capabilities of software-based control, monitoring, analyzing, and securing the internet network, enabling it to tackle all those IT-related issues, hence empowering the education sector.

How can SD-WAN help the Education Sector?

Performance: SD-WAN eliminates traffic congestion and improves Internet reliability by leveraging two or more combinations of WAN links between MPLS, Fiber Broadband, and 4G LTE. This configuration provides an option and opportunity to increase bandwidth. Besides, SD-WAN intelligence monitors WAN links performance and steers traffic automatically between WAN links to meet specific critical application SLA. I.e. Online classes or examinations require uninterrupted and reliable connectivity to ensure activity runs smoothly.

Security: SD-WAN technology has positioned security threats as its top priority.  Various security features are embedded to ensure the network remains protected from malicious attacks (viruses, malware, worm, phishing). These include URL and web content filtering, Malware Protection, Intrusion Prevention and Detection, IPsec tunnel Segmentation, and many more. I.e., via few clicks, blocking/restricting any unwanted website or content to access may constitute a threat to the network.

Visibility: SD-WAN has a high level of visibility into the network, simplifies its central management and orchestration, and monitors traffic and application performance according to SLA and QoS. This gained visibility unlocks network analysis which results in enabling more informed decisions.  I.e., Management can monitor and analyze the performance of the entire network and applications

The Cisco SD-WAN dashboard

Figure 2: CISCO SD-WAN dashboard provides full visibility of the network

In short, the Education sector has a lot to benefit from adopting SD-WAN technology as it allows it to exploit the power of the internet with software-based control. SD-WAN ensures applications performance is optimized, network performance is improved, and security and privacy are guaranteed.