SD-WAN adoption

SD-WAN adoption has made cost savings and simplified management a reality. But enterprises need to implement thoughtfully.

It was February 2017, and Fox Broadcasting Co. was gearing up to air the Super Bowl. For this highly visible broadcast, which would end up being among the most-watched TV programs in U.S. history, the company had myriad cameras and production trucks ready to transmit the show, from instant replays to the half-time performance.

“If you saw the Super Bowl, you saw software-defined networking,” said Thomas Edwards, vice president of engineering and development at Fox, at a panel on SD-WAN adoption at the Interop 2017 conference. “You saw live production video inside the trucks being routed using SDN or an Ethernet IP switch inside the trucks.”

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is an architecture that uses software-defined networking (SDN) to send data over large geographic distances, direct traffic and improve connectivity. Using virtualization, SD-WAN simplifies WAN management and enables lower-cost intranet links. SD-WAN is particularly useful for global companies with branch offices as well as for business in the retail and financial services industries.

Fox uses SDN, which abstracts networking routing from hardware into software, to control its video transmission. The company needs iron-clad control over video for telecasts such as the Super Bowl.
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