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SD-WAN makes secure networks possible in hybrid WANs
As enterprises became more distributed over the years, a curious trend emerged: MPLS was no longer the golden child of the wide area network (WAN). Its high costs and inflexibility left many network engineers disillusioned. All the while, commercial Internet services became an attractive option for branch connectivity.
But for most enterprises, a hybrid WAN architecture -- one that relies on a mix of access connections -- was not only tricky from a routing perspective. Broadband becoming more than a failover option at branch offices also raised red flags about enterprises' ability to maintain secure networks.
The emergence of a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), however, is helping enterprises aggregate MPLS and Internet connections without sacrificing their secure networks, even improving them in some cases. As we explore in this edition of Network Evolution, early adopters say they're confident in sending sensitive data over the Internet via SD-WAN platforms.
Also in this issue, Cisco and Microsoft have taken the fight to the cloud as they once again go head-to-head in their ongoing battle for the unified communications market. Learn more about how to decide whether Microsoft's Skype for Business or Cisco's Spark is a better fit for your enterprise.
We also dive into beacons on the network and what you need to know about installing and managing them -- straight from companies that have already deployed them.
Finally, don't miss this edition of The Subnet, in which we explore how an IT pro at a high-tech Midwestern church manages a wireless network that supports thousands of congregants who use the church's mobile app on its WLAN during prayer services.
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Features in this issue
For all the gripes enterprises have about MPLS, one point of contention remains: Branches directly connected to the Internet don't feel safe. Is that still true in the age of SD-WAN?
As these industry giants wrestle for dominance in UC, their fight moves to the cloud. But as their offerings increasingly overlap, how do you decide which best fits your business?
There are countless exciting applications for beacons, but can they fulfill everything they promise? And, more important, can your backend infrastructure support them?
Tempered Networks wins this month's Network Innovation Award for its HIPswitch IoT management and security platform, which its director of product management discusses in this Q&A.
When a new WAN optimizer feature was added to the network, it appeared it would improve performance -- but it didn't.
A contemporary church in Indiana celebrates its growing congregation, but an expansion creates networking challenges with its Wi-Fi design and wide area network.
Columns in this issue
SD-WAN means you're not just limited to an MPLS connection at every site anymore. The flexibility and cost savings of combining MPLS with Internet is great, but is it secure?