Nov 27 2017

3 Ways Universities Can Use SD-WANs to Optimize Bandwidth

The software-defined solution makes IT management easier.

Strong internet connections are incredibly important for today’s college students and staff. For universities to flourish, they need to come up with ways to offer the most bandwidth possible for their users.

One way that some universities have found to optimize their connectivity and network management is through software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs). SD-WANs, which can manage multiple types of connections, allow for a number of efficiencies for IT staffs, students and faculty.

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1. SD-WANs Create Easy Bandwidth Optimization

A recent report from market intelligence firm IDC found that the worldwide market for WANs will reach $8 billion in 2021, in part because of the number of IT staffs embracing SD-WANs, Campus Technology reports.

About 36 percent of those surveyed indicated that bandwidth optimization is the biggest reason they would consider an SD-WAN. Other reasons include faster deployments, operational efficiency and reduced complexity for IT staff.

For universities with shrinking IT budgets and staffs that are often stretched thin, SD-WANs can create easy optimization.

2. Optimized Networks Boost Control and Efficiency

When Thomas College in Waterville, Maine considered an SD-WAN, ease of optimization was a top priority, EdTech reports.

SD-WANs provide centralized control and increased visibility into the network. Because of this, IT staff can save time by managing networks centrally instead of making site visits.

SD-WANs can also be incorporated into existing hardware and infrastructure, limiting the investment in new tools. EdTech reports that Thomas College made sure to pick an SD-WAN solution that worked with existing routers and firewalls.

3. SD-WANs Bolster Cloud Security and Access

At Thomas College, the SD-WAN was incorporated into its existing Microsoft Azure infrastructure, EdTech reports. This cloud setup boosted security and increased data access for the 1,000 students the IT team supports.

“We created a [virtual private network] tunnel from our campus to Azure,” says Thomas College’s CIO Chris Rhoda. “It’s encrypted on both sides, so it’s fully secure. Basically, we’re just extending out local area networks out to the cloud.”

SD-WANs Will Continue to Reinforce Network Efficiencies

According to the IDC report, SD-WAN networks boost optimization, network and application security, integrate routing and increase application visibility.

With these reasons in mind, institutions and enterprises will continue to turn to the solution to deepen network optimization.

“Given the affinity towards leveraging broadband for enhanced capacity across enterprise sites, in parallel with the proliferation of cloud-based applications and services, the enterprise WAN is being rapidly re-architectured to cost-effectivity deliver new, secure capabilities,” says IDC VP for network infrastructure, Rohit Mehra, in the Campus Technology article.

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