Between high-definition (HD) streaming, video conferencing, and cloud storage, present-day Internet applications are becoming more bandwidth-hungry than ever. Now, organizations deploy customer-specific services, applications, and platforms with software-defined networking (SDN) technology.

Conventional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks have been providing reliable, consistent, and assured performance between geographically dispersed locations. However, adding bandwidth to an MPLS-based WAN is cost-intensive, keeping companies caught between the ever-growing bandwidth needs and an IT expenditure that falls short. Moreover, the user experience might get impacted, and business operations might suffer when legacy networks reach saturation.

To solve these challenges, businesses are rapidly shifting toward hybrid wide area networks (WAN) to achieve the reliability and consistency of private/public links without hurting the bottom lines. By steering network traffic directly to the Internet, Hybrid WAN solutions remove additional latency and hops when they pass through data centers. This has enabled the smooth transmission of applications and data across all cloud environments.Furthermore, hybrid network WANs allow users to determine the best route back to the enterprises’ data centre by utilising real-time monitoring.

What is Hybrid WAN?

A Hybrid WAN solution is a network architecture connecting geographically scattered WANs by sending traffic over multiple networks at each site. While one connection is typically an MPLS circuit, the other connection could be broadband internet links, including cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), or 4G/5G. All the usual corporate traffic reaching data centres takes the MPLS path.

Sometimes, Hybrid WANs work alongside the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and depend on the latter’s intelligence to disperse the data traffic. The underlying SD-WAN technology ensures optimal user experience round-the-clock, irrespective of the connection type.

This enables seamless traffic flow between the network links without sacrificing quality and application experience - even if the application is resource-intensive such as audio files or video conferencing. For instance, if one of the routes malfunctions or encounters jitter, latency, or packet loss, the other route can replace it on the fly. Also Read: Zero Trust - Why is it essential to secure today’s hybrid workforce

7 benefits of Hybrid WANs

Following are the benefits of turning to Hybrid WAN solutions:

Better application performance

A Hybrid WAN architecture simultaneously utilises dynamic routes for traffic channelling, including Internet-heavy data, and picks the most efficient path for data transfer. In other words, they can share and deliver mission-critical applications and data to employees and users with the decided performance level. Moreover, Hybrid WANs can even support a single, large traffic flow across all available links.

At-scale customisability

As Hybrid WANs provide a wide range of high-speed connections, organisations (of all sizes) have the flexibility to tailor their network services. For instance, in finance, Ethernet enables determinism crucial for predictable performance, particularly for security and trading, where high-bandwidth, ultra-low-latency connectivity is paramount.

Cost savings

The Mbps/month cost of MPLS-based networks is considerably higher compared to standard broadband connections - sometimes more than 100x. Hybrid WAN solutions complement or substitute expensive MPLS with cost-effective Internet broadband and dedicated internet access (DIA). 

Compared to legacy WANs, Hybrid WANs save organisations expensive electricity bills for operating on-site hardware and operational expenses of maintaining the hardware. Besides, with improved application performance, companies reap higher value for their cloud-based investments.

Straightforward cloud migration

Using Internet breakout at branch offices, Hybrid WANs offer companies a direct connection to the cloud, preventing backhauling to the data centre over private WAN connections. A combination of public Internet with private circuits for corporate WAN transport provides enterprises with more uptime while reducing the expenses of conventional networking technologies.

Control and visibility

Hybrid WAN connections offer in-depth performance monitoring of latency, throughput, packet loss, and jitter. Additionally, they collect and share statistics about their locally-coupled services, providing a single-pane-of-glass map of the performance conditions across the virtual overlay.

Most Hybrid WAN platforms boast application-aware routing capabilities, requiring interconnected devices and systems to perform deep-packet-assessment on the network traffic. This feature allows businesses to detect network problems in advance and provides additional analytics and insights into the kind of traffic traversing the network.

Rapid deployment

Hybrid WANs deliver optimisation, alongside other network services, in a single appliance at the branch locations. These virtualised services remotely provisioned to this platform streamline and accelerate network service deployment compared to utilising several hardware appliances.

Edge-to-edge security

Most Hybrid WANs are purpose-built to fine-tune network and security operations (SecOps) to help organisations’ IT staff optimise resources, boost business agility, improve workforce productivity, and enhance end-user experiences.

Hybrid WAN solutions enable secure edge-to-edge connections across business private and public networks, irrespective of the provider. In addition, they automatically encrypt and authenticate all network traffic between sites, reducing attack exposure.

Typically, the network security suite incorporates next-gen firewalls (NGFW), secure web and email gateways, and tech-driven threat detection.

Why your business needs Hybrid WAN?

As nearly half of the world works remotely, organisations must discover a way to serve users who refuse to be tethered by physical sites and wires. The result has been an inflow of innovative networking tools developed for almost every touchpoint in the average enterprise.

Over the past several years, the WAN ecosystem has witnessed considerable changes. The days of connecting to remote branch offices and data centers through cumbersome, inflexible pipes are long gone – today, Hybrid WANs are offering new avenues.

Today’s tech heavyweights are turning to Hybrid WAN solutions to make their corporate networks more cost-effective, cloud-ready, and capable of offering better digital experiences to employees and customers.

These advanced networking WANs are empowering companies to rearchitect how they procure, utilise, and manage their existing WANs. In addition, thanks to Hybrid WANs’ flexibility, businesses no longer need to stick with a single vendor offering a single expensive technology or service to support their crucial business needs.  

Furthermore, remote working has brought a tremendous surge of video, voice, and data traffic and thus a rise in low-latency bandwidth demand. This has further pushed the need to transform conventional WANs into application-aware, policy-based Hybrid WAN connections.

Try our Hybrid WAN solutions

To ensure hybrid network WANs deliver on expectations, organisations require an advanced monitoring route that handles both application performance and network visibility with the same efficiency. That is why they bank on Tata Communications to ascertain successful migration to Hybrid WANs. With IZO™ Hybrid WAN, we offer businesses a cutting-edge suite to handle various network technologies, security, and critical applications.

Users can manage their digital experience across cloud applications and the Internet with our Hybrid WAN connections. Additionally, organisations realise the operational, technical, and commercial benefits of transmuting their network fabric to configurable networking driven by cloud arrangement.

IZO™ Hybrid WAN features a centralised, automated portal that coordinates and safeguards enterprise workloads across diverse connectivity technologies, thus minimising the complexity and risks of network transformation. Our skilled specialists design and install hybrid WAN solutions using best practices nurtured over years of experience across wired and wireless network infrastructures.

Drive your network potential, connectivity, security with Tata Communications’ Hybrid WAN solutions today.

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