Which Is Better: SD-WAN or Wavelength Services?

Many people find choosing the right WAN for their businesses hectic. For starters, there are countless options to pick from with vague differences between them.

However, having numerous types of WAN could turn out to be a good thing. In fact, whether an organization was looking for network reliability, speed, security, or application in specific use cases, they’d find a WAN to fit those needs.

Two of the most popular Wide Area Networks in the networking world are SD-WAN and Wavelength. Here’s an overview of what they are and how they differ from other solutions.


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SD-WAN (Software-Defined WAN) is a relatively recent technology gaining popularity in the network service provider industry. SD-WAN implements features/functions in software, which means more functionality and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

This approach can make a big difference for smaller companies with limited budgets where the high cost of maintaining traditional WAN infrastructure within deployments cannot be sustained.

In addition, SD-WAN offers valuable benefits for larger, established companies that support a broad portfolio of locations and services that may need some re-prioritization or restructuring based on current business objectives.

Benefits of Using SD-WAN

SD-WAN promises freedom from compromise. So how is SD-WAN different from traditional multi-site WAN networks? And how does it compete with MPLS? 


The technology allows organizations to make efficient use of network resources. It’s ideal for companies that have many locations with lots of traffic. As such, it’s a significant initial investment but makes up for it in long-term savings.

Reasonably priced

Regarding SD-WAN pricing, many people can argue that it’s not cheap to implement a Software-defined Wide Area Network initially. But it’s worth it in the long term.

That’s because the cost to implement an SD-WAN includes several variables, which contribute to the financial benefit of choosing the solution over the alternatives.

For example, the initial cost to implement an SD-WAN system lowers with smaller organizations. This is because a massive chunk of this cost goes to hardware requirements. Smaller firms with more minor branches and traffic require little hardware, which slashes the price significantly.

Managing connection options

SD-WAN technology implementation varies depending on the provider. However, one primary benefit all SD-WAN users benefit from is creating a single network infrastructure with various types of connections, such as broadband or mobile connections and MPLS.

Software-defined Wide Area Network users can take advantage of this feature to rely less on the expensive but private MPLS for less sensitive data and use cheaper public connections instead. Additionally, MPLS and SD-WAN are offered as a package in some instances.

Easier network expansion

SD-WAN also allows organizations to change transports (the wireless or cable infrastructure collecting data from branches or data centers). The networks can be mixed and matched depending on bandwidth availability.

When the networks expand and more remote locations are added, the connections can be spun more efficiently and faster than hardware-based networks.

Overlaying SD-WAN Technology

Another upside of using SD-WAN is that it abstracts intelligence into an easily implementable virtual overlay. Abstraction allows for easier network control, traffic management, and network automation.

This overlay monitors the real-time performance details of the constituent networks and picks the best network for each application in line with configuration policies.


Wavelength services, on the other hand, have been around for a couple of years now. Large enterprises often use them to keep their legacy networks going until they can transition to newer IP-based network architecture.

The IP transit over WDM basically enables enterprises to use BGP on their existing networks and services that run on those networks without changing them.

Benefits of Using Wavelength

As one of the most commonly used WANs, Wavelength has a few advantages over its alternatives.

High security

Wavelength transports data through light in optical cables. It makes it immensely hard for outside entities, including the network provider, to view the transferred data. That said, it’s a popular choice for government organizations.

Easy scalability

Organizations that implement optical wavelength networks have complete control over their Wavelength, traffic speed, and other network protocols. This means they can increase or decrease the bandwidth to meet the organization’s needs as they arise.

Greater capacity than similar Hardware-based networks

Fiber optic cables can transmit higher volumes of data than copper cables. With DWDM, optical networks can significantly boost the bandwidth of fiber cables by breaking them down into multiple smaller channels.

Additionally, the organizations can send numerous signals at varying wavelengths on the same fiber.

High performance

Wavelength WANs are made to eliminate traffic bottlenecks, allowing the networks to achieve maximum speeds. Optical networks offer low latency, high capacity transfers, making them fast and reliable.

Final Thoughts

WAN networks are the hearts of most modern organizations. A good WAN can be the difference between smooth and successful operations for a firm or failure.

SD-WAN and Wavelength are both great WANs. Choosing between them boils down to the organization’s preferences and volume of traffic.