🚩Best Practices for Underlay Network Analysis in Last Mile SD-WAN Deployments 🚚

🚩Best Practices for Underlay Network Analysis in Last Mile SD-WAN Deployments 🚚

Reducing private WAN or MPLS bandwidth needs by using direct internet access (DIA) at multiple locations


3 min read

In today’s digitally-driven landscape, more than sixty percent of outbound traffic on corporate networks is destined for the internet. This traffic is predominantly for cloud services. Utilizing direct internet access (DIA) at various locations can drastically reduce the need for private WAN or MPLS bandwidth dedicated to routing non-internet traffic, leading to significant cost savings. Non-internet traffic typically involves private WAN traffic necessary for on-premises services and applications.

The Role of SD-WAN in Modern Network Architecture

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) technology facilitates the use of direct internet connections for both cloud and private WAN traffic. By leveraging SD-WAN, businesses can efficiently manage and optimize their internet connections across multiple locations, including sites and branches. This flexibility is essential, especially given the diverse internet connectivity options available depending on the region or city.

Varied Internet Connectivity Options

In regions like South Africa, the array of available internet connections can be overwhelming. The country boasts more than 40 fibre network operators and up to 500 ISPs, alongside additional types of internet connections including copper, fixed wireless access, mobile networking, and satellite. Each of these options has unique characteristics and potential use cases:

  • Fibre Optic Connections: Known for high speed and reliability, fibre optic connections are ideal for data-intensive applications and large organizations with high bandwidth needs.

  • Copper Connections: While slower than fibre, copper connections (like DSL) are widely available and can be sufficient for smaller businesses or less bandwidth-intensive applications.

  • Fixed Wireless Access: This option provides internet access via radio signals from a base station, useful in areas where laying physical cables is challenging.

  • Mobile Networking: Leveraging cellular networks (4G, 5G), mobile networking offers flexibility and is useful for temporary setups or remote locations.

  • Satellite Internet: Ideal for extremely remote areas, satellite internet provides connectivity where other options might not be feasible.

SD-WAN: The Glue for Diverse Connections

SD-WAN acts as the adhesive that binds these various internet and broadband connections, enabling a business to utilize multiple types of broadband and internet connections from a range of network operators and ISPs. This technology allows for seamless management and optimization of traffic across different connections, ensuring that each site or branch receives the best possible connectivity based on available options.

The Importance of ISP Aggregators

Determining the most feasible and cost-effective connectivity options for each business site can be a daunting task. This is where the services of a billing aggregator become invaluable. An ISP aggregator can provide a range of service provider options based on availability in various regions and cities. Businesses can then select the most appropriate service provider for each location. Furthermore, the ISP aggregator handles the administrative burden of managing multiple internet providers, simplifying the process for the business.

Optimizing Internet Peering Exchanges

The success of deploying SD-WAN in an environment where a business uses multiple different ISPs heavily relies on the optimal use of internet peering exchanges. These exchanges are crucial for:

  • Reducing Latency: By directly interconnecting networks, peering exchanges minimize the distance data has to travel, reducing latency and improving performance.

  • Enhancing Redundancy: Multiple connections through various ISPs increase redundancy, ensuring better reliability and uptime.

  • Cost Efficiency: Peering can reduce transit costs by minimizing the need for data to traverse multiple network hops.


For businesses in South Africa and beyond, deploying SD-WAN involves a thorough analysis of the underlay network. By leveraging a mix of internet connections and employing the services of ISP aggregators, businesses can optimize their network performance, reduce costs, and ensure robust connectivity. The strategic use of internet peering exchanges further enhances the efficiency and reliability of the network, making SD-WAN an indispensable solution for modern enterprises.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa.

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