Five SD-WAN stats every IT decision-maker needs to read

By Mark Conrad, Senior Product Manager, Virgin Media Business

Does SD-WAN have a significant impact on network performance and efficiency?


But while I’ve seen plenty of articles out there explaining how and why in vague terms, there aren’t many that put those improvements into numbers.

I’ve dug into our own data to try and achieve exactly that.

Here are five things that happened when our customers switched from IPVPN to SD-WAN:

  1. 80% increase in bandwidth efficiency
  2. 98% faster failover time
  3. 85% improvement in network throughput
  4. 50% (minimum) reduction in network hardware
  5. 43,200 daily data snapshots from every site

Let’s look at those numbers in a little more detail…

1. 80% increase in bandwidth efficiency

Many of our customers use a primary 100Mb circuit and an 80Mb backup circuit – pretty much the standard for most organisations.

Because a traditional network makes it difficult to use two active circuits at once, the backup circuit only kicks in when the primary one fails.

So that backup circuit spends the vast majority of its time doing absolutely nothing, which is not exactly helpful and, frankly, a waste of money.

With SD-WAN, however, you can run both circuits simultaneously, switching between the two in a dynamic and automated way.

You still have the same level of resilience – if the primary circuit fails, you can simply failover onto the backup circuit just like you would have before.

But if you make that backup circuit permanently active, perhaps using it for some of your less critical traffic like guest WiFi or internet browsing, you instantly give yourself 80% more bandwidth.

2. 98% faster failover time

Based on our own data and wider industry benchmarking, in an IPVPN failover scenario it can take up to 240 seconds for the network to reconnect.

Four minutes, in other words.

That’s a long time to be disconnected from the workplace tools you need, unable to do anything productive. Especially if it’s something that could impact your customer experience.

With SD-WAN that time is reduced to just six seconds.

That’s a 98% reduction in lost productivity.

By the time you’ve noticed the network isn’t working, it’s already reconnected.

3. 85% improvement in network throughput

This stat is a great way to illustrate one of the most important differences between traditional networks and SD-WAN.

With IPVPN, your route to the internet is always through a data centre.

There is always that middle step between your employees and any internet-based applications they want to use, which inevitably slows things down.

With SD-WAN your traffic doesn’t have to go through that data centre. It breaks off the network locally and goes direct to the internet. Which means it gets there and back much faster.

85% faster, in fact.

And while we’re only talking in milliseconds here, when you multiply that by the number of employees you have and the number of times they use internet-based applications, things start to look quite interesting.

4. 50% (minimum) reduction in network hardware

If you’re trying to provide a service that’s like SD-WAN but doesn’t use SD-WAN technology, you’re going to need a router and a firewall at every branch across your entire network. At a minimum.

With SD-WAN you only need one box.

If you multiply the former approach across, say, 200 sites, that’s at least four hundred pieces of hardware, potentially from multiple different vendors and running different software. And they all need to integrate and work together properly.

Or you could just have 200 boxes, with one piece of software, doing absolutely everything you need.

Why do I say a minimum 50% reduction?

Because you could realistically use SD-WAN to connect other disparate products and services and reduce that hardware footprint even further. 

5. 43,200 daily data snapshots from every site

One of the most exciting things about SD-WAN is the information it puts at your fingertips.

Every two seconds, a device at each of your sites produces a snapshot of information: performance, applications, bandwidth, throughput, utilisation and more.

Everything you could possibly want to know. 43,200 times a day.

Again, let’s say you have 200 sites – that’s 8.6 million data points every 24 hours, each one telling you exactly how every part of your network is performing.

And all those different data points go into an analytics tool, which sifts through all that information and presents it in a user-friendly way, allowing you to make much quicker and easier decisions about your network.

Still not sure SD-WAN is the answer? Take out a WAN audit with our specialist team. We’ll refund the cost in full if you do go ahead with one of our solutions. And to give your bottom line an extra boost on us, you’ll only pay IPVPN prices for SD-WAN.

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