What is SD-WAN?

Software-Defined WAN is an application-aware service that intelligently routes traffic in real time, based on established business policies, along with network quality and availability.

It’s based on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) that separates the overlay network from the physical WAN, and network function virtualization (NFV) that enables the virtualization of network services using commodity hardware. SD-WAN determines the most effective way to dynamically route traffic to multiple disparate locations, uses open hardware software standards to run NFV features, enables the use of all available circuits, and centralizes the management of all connection points into a single view.



Many businesses that require the security and performance of a private WAN have built hybrid WAN architectures that combine traditional MPLS-based networks with readily available options like dedicated Internet. While this solves for any-to-any connectivity, it can compromise performance and security and increase costs and complexity due to capital outlay, internal resources and vendor management.

As demand for cloud applications and services continues to grow, enterprises are re-examining their WAN strategies and architectures to optimize business efficiencies, protect critical data and enhance the user experience across public, private and cloud paths. SD-WAN decouples network intelligence and configuration from physical connections and hardware (via an abstracted layer) to create a scalable, centrally managed virtual voice and data WAN that connects distributed branches and remote locations regardless of connection type, access point or carrier.

Introducing Windstream SD-WAN

64% of U.S. based companies are in stages of planning to implement or expanding implementation from a traditional WAN to an SD-WAN solution in the next 12 months*. And for good reason. Windstream SD-WAN delivers everything your network needs to be agile, efficient and ready for the cloud era.

* Forrester's Business Technographics Network & Telecommunications Survey, 2016

SD-WAN topology diagram indicating the relationship between a headquarters and branch site, incorporating MPLS, IP-sec, VoIP, 4G LTE, firewall, SaaS, and the public internet.]

Simplify network management

Converge voice, data and video applications on the same IP backbone and use existing hardware and available access types to connect locations. Now you can reduce capital investment, lower provisioning time and simplify technology migration. There are no manual switches to engage or monitor, plus a centralized portal that offers deep visibility. Automatic updates and upgrades ensure no downtime or business interruptions.

Keep critical data safe

Your employees want ubiquitous access from anywhere, and it’s your job to keep data safe and secure. Now you don’t have to choose. A secure abstracted overlay creates a virtual private network on top of existing connection points. All network traffic is encrypted over public or private paths, for security in a borderless environment.

Increase efficiency and resiliency

Determine the most effective way to dynamically route traffic to multiple locations. Business policies automatically prioritize and de-prioritize traffic, making better use of bandwidth to enhance application performance and overall user experience. What’s more, dual active links provide redundant and/or diverse connections at each site, increasing network resiliency.

Scale easily

With rapid site deployment and standardized low-touch provisioning, you’ll hit the ground running while transferring any capital outlay risk, network configuration and maintenance to Windstream. When you’re ready to grow, the solution scales seamlessly to accommodate new sites with easily activated circuits to meet your ongoing business needs.

Next-generation features

  • Hybrid WAN: Integrates private and public links into one hybrid architecture
  • Flexible connectivity: Ubiquitous access connects disparate locations
  • Private network: Secure abstracted overlay creates a VPN across connection points
  • Software-based: Converges voice, data and video apps with low-touch provisioning
  • Dynamic path selection: Business policies automatically prioritize and de-prioritize traffic
  • Dual active links: Redundant and/or diverse connections at each site
  • Centralized management: ‘Single pane of glass’ customer portal
  • Managed service: Windstream manages, maintains and monitors the solution for all networks


  • Support increasing use of cloud-based applications
  • Protect data across all locations
  • Lower CAPEX and transfer outlay risk
  • Optimize performance across network applications
  • Boost network resiliency
  • Simplify network management
  • Gain greater visibility over network traffic
  • Reduce OPEX and IT management time
  • Increase business agility and scalability

Windstream SD-WAN: Optimize Cloud-based Application Performance

By leveraging Windstream SD-WAN, enterprises can get visibility into every application on their network. Optimizing application performance, and the customer experience, is just one of the ways Windstream SD-WAN is helping to transform not just enterprise networks, but enterprise business.


Watch our video to learn more.

Ready to future proof your network?

Windstream can help you transition to SD-WAN at your own pace, whether that means launching the solution across your entire organization or by trialing small locations before transitioning larger or more critical locations. Windstream SD-WAN pairs easily with existing Windstream solutions, including MPLS IP VPN, SIP TrunkingUCaaS, Managed Network Security and Cloud Connect, for a comprehensive network solution that’s built to perform today and tomorrow.