SDN vs SD-WAN: Understand the difference



Introduction to SDN & SD-WAN

SDN and SD-WAN are latest technologies which are changing how Network functions are performed. SDN and SD-WAN are quite similar is some of behaviors like they both decouple the network control and forwarding functions, this enables the network control to become directly programmable by the customer or end user.

Both SD-WAN and SDN architectures take an entire network and turn it into a single manageable entity. Infact, they simplify the network management, allowing IT teams to focus on other areas of your technology management.

The objective of both technologies is to create a fully dynamic and scalable setup that allows reduced setup time and automatic provisioning. Notable is that SDN is predecessor of SD-WAN and latter was born from former. It’s also equally true that SD-WAN is becoming increasingly more popular than SDN.

Comparison Table: SDN vs SD-WAN

Difference between SDN and SD-WAN is shared in below table:




Abbreviation for Software-Defined Networking Software-Defined Wide Area Network
Target Area Focused on Customer LAN or Data Center environment Focused on providing software defined routing over WAN
Programming Configuration and management is performed by customer itself Configuration and management is performed by Service provider and not customer.
Chronology Was developed 1st and is building stone for SD-WAN SD-WAN came later and is based on SDN technology.
Key vendors OpenDaylight




•Big Switch Networks












Download the comparison table: SDN vs SD-WAN

Continue Reading:

Introduction to Cisco SD-WAN (Viptela)


What is SDN?

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