E-Handbook: Is the SD-WAN home office here to stay? Article 1 of 4

SD-WAN for home offices alters the managed vs. DIY debate

The debate between managed and DIY software-defined WAN deployment is relatively straightforward, but the conversation has shifted over the past six months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has altered how businesses operate and where employees work, affecting enterprise networks in turn.

Enterprises have experienced a surge in traffic that originates outside their corporate networks, especially as remote employees connect to those networks via VPN connections. In the early days of the pandemic, many businesses had to quickly turn up VPN capacity to accommodate the growing number of remote workers. While VPN strategies are adequate in many cases, they can't provide the extra level of control, security and management that some companies require for networks that now include home offices.

Over the past couple of years, SD-WAN has demonstrated its ability to enable the use of multiple connectivity links, create more detailed security policies and better prioritize traffic depending on its origin and destination. These capabilities grew more relevant amid the pandemic, leading some enterprises to deploy SD-WAN to business-critical home offices.

The details of SD-WAN deployment for home offices vary widely across business use cases, depending on company size, employee requirements, cost and deployment strategy. Enterprises that decide to deploy SD-WAN to their employees' home offices need to deliver the SD-WAN device or software to those locations and then manage and troubleshoot those connections. This could prove tedious and costly for enterprises that take the DIY route, likely paving the way for managed SD-WAN to become the go-to strategy for residential SD-WAN deployments, even after the pandemic subsides.

This handbook explores the different components IT teams should include in service-level agreements with their managed SD-WAN providers. It also explores the differences between managed and DIY SD-WAN and dives deeper into the potential for home SD-WAN to radicalize the next-generation WAN.