10 SD-WAN Providers & Solutions to Consider in 2024: An Overview

IT leaders are increasingly turning to a Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) overlay. Here, we look into ten of the most popular SD-WAN providers.

10 Min Read
10 SD-WAN Providers & Solutions to Consider in 2024: An Overview
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What Is a Software-Defined Wide-Area Network?

When designing a network to connect central and far-flung offices, IT leaders are increasingly turning to a Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) overlay. A software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that's service provider-agnostic. This allows enterprises to leverage any assortment of transport services to securely link to desired applications. The list of transport services includes broadband Internet, Multiprotocol Label Switching, and Long-Term Evolution (wireless).

The increasingly popular and flexible SD-WAN architecture provides a network overlay and decouples network software services from hardware-provided WAN links. SD-WAN gives you a wide array of cost-effective and versatile services with which to build and enhance your enterprise network to meet today’s ever-changing business needs. 

10 SD-WAN Providers to Consider in 2024

Cisco SD-WAN Services: Catalyst and Meraki

Cisco Catalyst

Catalyst SD-WAN connects any user to any application with integrated capabilities for multicloud, security, predictive operations, and enhanced network visibility. The offering enables you to deliver network connectivity that’s cloud-agnostic, efficient, and simple to manage, lowers operational costs, and increases control and visibility.

Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN Manager provides a dashboard designed to simplify network operations. It provides centralized configuration, management, operation, and monitoring.

Catalyst SD-WAN offers integrated security, including full-stack multilayer security capabilities on the premises and in the cloud. This security provides real-time threat protection for branches connecting to multiple SaaS or IaaS clouds, data centers, or the internet, which can accelerate the transition to a SASE-enabled architecture.

Cisco Meraki

Cisco also offers Meraki SD-WAN, which is viewed as extremely user-friendly, from cloud-based network management to its template-based configuration and deployment. The Meraki cloud infrastructure is designed to be very reliable, with data centers providing redundancy to maintain uptime and performance.

A range of additional capabilities enhances the product, for example, endpoint management and integration with security cameras. Meraki SD-WAN provides comprehensive security coverage, including SASE security and additional capabilities that include an array of device management.

Through the cloud platform, Meraki offers tracking of connected devices from any site and through all types of connectivity options.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN

The security-focused vendor delivers fast, scalable, and flexible Secure SD-WAN on-premises and in the cloud. Fortinet Secure SD-WAN supports cloud-first, security-sensitive, and global enterprises, as well as the hybrid workforce. The vendor’s Secure Networking approach uses one operating system and consolidates SD-WAN, next-generation firewall (NGFW), advanced routing, and ZTNA application gateway functions.

Fortinet Secure SD-WAN is foundational for a transition to SASE and SD-Branch. It enables organizations to protect their investment and simplify operations en route to their journey to a Zero Trust Architecture. Its SASE offering delivers a set of networking and security capabilities, including secure web gateway (SWG), universal zero-trust network access (ZTNA), dual-mode cloud access security, Firewall as a Service, and secure SD-WAN integration.

Citrix SD-WAN Service

Citrix SD-WAN service secures your hybrid workforce. Citrix SD-WAN extends the network into IaaS/PaaS clouds.

It uses deep packet inspection to identify the type of application and apply the configured firewall policy to its traffic. This integration of the firewall on the branch appliance helps reduce the unnecessary traffic getting backhauled and wasting valuable WAN resources only to be blocked at the head-end.

The Citrix SD-WAN service is designed to manage data centers and clouds through monitoring analytics and performance assurance. The SD WAN solution offers Quality of Experience monitoring, troubleshooting and management tools.

Versa Networks SD-WAN

Versa Secure SD-WAN enables network teams to remove the barriers that legacy WAN branch architectures have placed on strategic IT projects and business processes.

The vendor’s solution, powered by Versa networking and security software along with commodity hardware, offers several crucial capabilities for enterprises. Versa eliminates appliance sprawl in the branch office with a software-based approach to SD-WAN and security functions.

It is implemented at data centers, clouds, and branch sites, enhancing service agility and significantly reducing capital and operating costs. The Versa SD-WAN allows integration of essential security functions, such as next-generation firewall and secure web gateway, into network infrastructure via service chaining. The SD-WAN solution uses Zero-Touch Provisioning to simplify network setup and management.

Aruba Networks EdgeConnect SD-WAN Solution

The EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform enables enterprises to improve application performance and reduce the cost and complexity of building a WAN by leveraging broadband internet to connect users to applications.

Aruba’s SD-WAN solution provides a secure network foundation for Zero Trust and SASE frameworks to tackle the networking and security challenges of hybrid working and cloud computing. The solution tightly integrates with HPE Aruba Networking SSE to form a unified SASE platform for simpler adoption and faster deployment of SASE.

EdgeConnect SD-WAN includes a built-in firewall providing segmentation and identity-based access control capabilities, as well as features to protect branch offices from malicious activities.

Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN

Palo Alto Networks offers its Prisma SD-WAN (formerly CloudGenix) is a cloud-delivered service that implements app-defined, autonomous SD-WAN to help you secure and connect your branch offices, data centers, and large campus sites without increasing cost and complexity. The AppFabric connects your sites securely with application awareness and lets you use any WAN or any cloud for a thin branch (security from the cloud) solution.

Prisma SD-WAN is natively integrated with Prisma Access for a unified SASE solution. Prisma Access provides ZTNA 2.0 as a distributed service that secures your branch office. Integration between Prisma SD-WAN and Prisma Access also provides integrated IoT security.

Cato Networks SD-WAN Services

Cato Networks has evolved from a traditional SD-WAN provider to a cloud-native service that combines SD-WAN with network security. The provider offers security features, including Internet firewalls, Intrusion Detection System (IPS), and anti-malware protection.

"Cato provides secure high-performance connectivity across distributed networks, prioritizing link quality metrics such as jitter, latency, and packet loss," according to Netify. Cato's network is designed to fit SMEs and large enterprises alike and can accommodate changing network sizes or remote branch offices.

Juniper Networks SD-WAN Solution

Juniper Networks is known for network infrastructure solutions, including routing and switching solutions. It bought Mist System for $405 million in 2019 to add AI to its offerings.

The Session Smart Router powers Juniper's SD-WAN solution. Built on an application-aware and zero-trust secure network fabric, it meets enterprise performance, security, and availability requirements. The software solution can run on customer premises equipment (CPE), on data center network servers, and in the cloud for flexible deployments. It is centrally manageable using the AI-driven Juniper Mist cloud or the Juniper Session Smart Conductor platform.


VMware SD-WAN is a Cloud and Edge Infrastructure service of the Cross-Cloud services portfolio that enables high-performance branch and device connections to your multi-cloud environment.

VMware SD-WAN solution incorporates a distributed network of service gateways deployed at top-tier cloud data centers around the world, providing scalability, redundancy, and on-demand flexibility. Other components include the VMware SD-WAN Edge, VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator, and VMware SD-Access.

VMware also markets its SD-WAN offering for service providers to sell to businesses. It provides a managed, cloud-ready solution for service providers looking to deliver a managed hybrid WAN with MPLS service.

Huawei SD-WAN Solution

Huawei's SD-WAN solution provides full-scenario on-demand interconnections between branches, between branches and data centers, and between branches and clouds. With features such as application-based intelligent traffic steering and acceleration as well as intelligent O&M, the Huawei SD-WAN Solution provides a full process service experience in enterprise WAN interconnections. 

The vendor’s SD-WAN solution features intelligent traffic steering. It also supports abundant application identification technologies. Multi-path packet duplication ensures reliable service transmission. Per-flow/per-packet load balancing implements refined traffic management. The SD-WAN solution includes end-to-end IPsec encryption as well as secure and reliable devices that ensure secure service transmission and secure interconnection with third-party security clouds.

How to Choose the Best SD-WAN Vendor for Your Needs

Step 1: Research SD-WAN Providers

Researching SD-WAN providers requires much vendor-specific information gathering. It includes reading reviews, use cases, and provider rankings – from top independent entities – such as Garner Group. Vendor websites provide a good deal of information. Following coverage and explanation of current trends, pros and cons, and user case studies is also essential. Published buyers' guides are also an asset.

Step 2: Choose a SD-WAN Vendor Based on Your Needs

Before diving into the deep end of the pool, it’s paramount to lay out your company’s WAN needs today and going forward. What strategic business goals are on the to-do list, and what capabilities do your employees need to reach them in the most effective manner and shortest timeframe?

Step 3: Consider Cost and Service Features

Check on SD-WAN pricing and project costs, as they are top considerations in the transition and ongoing operations. How do they compare to those of other providers? Are there discounts or other breaks for businesses that bundle SD-WAN with other services? Don't forget possible incentives for long-term service commitments.

Step 4: Read Reviews and Research Reports

A crucial part of your research process, time spend poring over posted reviews by customers, and media outlets is time well spent on SD WAN. Perhaps users in your vertical industry would share their candid experiences with SD WANs with you. Also, ask providers for a list of customer references.

Step 5: Check if the Provider Has Been Maintained on a Regular Basis by Staying Current with Recent Customer Reviews

A final suggestion on the customer reviews front: check to see if providers have more than a few reviews and if any are current. Be wary of reviews from unnamed customers and from those that are superficial and lack useful specifics.

Step 6: Evaluate the Provider's Knowledge of Its Market Competition

It's important to determine if an SD-WAN solution provider is truly aware of its competition, large and small. Push beyond those that dismiss rivals out of hand and those that appear to lack a comprehensive understanding of the market sector – which is growing by the quarter. Compare the financials of rivals with an eye to revenue growth and investment in SD-WAN product evolution.

Step 7: Look for Qualified Staff Members Who Have Expertise in Their Field

When researching SD-WAN solution providers, don't forget to seek out and speak with qualified staff members who can discuss with you the top issues, challenges, and advances in this increasingly crowded space. This can require separating marketing and communications staff from solutions engineers and those in charge of defining product development. Credentials are key.

Step 8: Evaluate the Security Standards of Each Provider's Solutions

For this potentially make-or-break aspect of research, you and your company's security experts should evaluate all relevant SD-WAN provider materials and discussions regarding each solution's current features, capabilities, and strengths in detail. Security feature plans should also be discussed.

Step 9: Consider Their Experience in Different Industry Conditions

It could prove useful in discussions with SD-WAN solution providers to determine if they have experience – and installations – in different vertical industries, as one size doesn't necessarily fit companies from diverse lines of business. A solution that does well with manufacturers may not be as effective in the financial tech space. Seek out provider customers in your industry.

Step 10: Ask Questions

Feel free to ask your own staff, SD-WAN providers, current users, market researchers, and industry experts questions wherever necessary in this core undertaking to prepare yourself for shortening the contender list to semi-finalists and finalists. Be wary of those who avoid, dodge, or simply can’t respond to queries in the above-listed areas.

About the Author(s)

Bob Wallace, Featured Writer

A veteran business and technology journalist, Bob Wallace has covered networking, telecom, and video strategies for global media outlets such as International Data Group and United Business Media. He has specialized in identifying and analyzing trends in enterprise and service provider use of enabling technologies. Most recently, Bob has focused on developments at the intersection of technology and sports. A native of Massachusetts, he lives in Ashland and can be reached at[email protected]or @fastforwardbob

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