SD-WAN as a branch router
Branch routers are expensive devices that can require very complicated command line configurations and manufacturer support for anything beyond the simplest deployments. When aging network infrastructure requires a branch router replacement, it can be a very long and complicated process. But there is a very easy way to configure your branch routing with an SD-WAN solution. Here's how.
Branch routers are configured the same way today as 15 years ago. You get a serial cable and open a terminal session. Then, you take your configuration sheet that was created in advance and apply it to the device. Some functions can be done via the web interface, however, when you return to the CLI you will find that anything that was done from the web interface creates a lengthy list of configuration commands that were entered. Unless you are an expert at deploying these devices frequently, you are going to need support from manufacturer support or an outside company that specializes in this kind of work. Once it is configured, any troubleshooting will need to go back to those experts that set it up.
Here's a good example
A customer of ours had a 3.0 Mbps MPLS link and a 100 Mbps commodity Internet connection linking two sites. The customer knew he wanted all voice traffic to go down the MPLS and everything else could use the commodity Internet and VPN between the two locations. This required policy-based routing which was beyond the administrator’s ability to set up. The customer had manufacturer support on the devices and called in to open a ticket for this configuration. After being bounced between many departments, hours on the phone and testing it seemed that the policy-based routing was working. Complicated command line tests did indicate the policies were activated and in use. However, the traffic didn’t always follow the policy for some reason. In the end, the simple goal of just sending voice traffic and phone client application traffic down the MPLS link was never fully realized.
Another good example is shown in this case study:
The easier way is to use SD-WAN
Five years ago SD-WAN wasn’t a solid product yet, so there wasn’t a better way than traditional policy-based routing. Today this can be accomplished in minutes with clear visibility to know the policies are applied correctly.
VeloCloud SD-WAN recognizes voice traffic and the client application. It sends this traffic out first and automatically down the best path at the time. It can steer the traffic down one or the other link based on how well the link is performing at any given second. Instead of creating the policy, just choose the outcome for the traffic that needs to be steered the certain way. For instance, the desired outcome is "voice traffic is the most important". Select the application and mark it as high priority, and VeloCloud does the rest.
When it is time to do the network refresh, take a different direction than just replacing that old branch router. Instead, pick a technology that understands the outcomes in a simpler, better way to save time, money, better manage your traffic.