SD-WAN Analytics: Leveraging Data Insights for Network Optimisation

Updated: December 12th, 2023

Make Network Management More Intelligent with SD-WAN Analytics

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SD-WAN enables businesses to intelligently manage their computer networks and connect local branch offices to each other, data centres, cloud platforms and SaaS applications over large geographical areas. Creating reliable, consistent connections that allow data and information to seamlessly travel over the network with no latency is a big challenge, especially for companies still relying on traditional WANs. SD-WAN analytics is revolutionising how businesses optimise their network performance. By leveraging data insights, companies are making more informed decisions, resulting in enhanced efficiency and cost savings.

Understanding the Basics of SD-WAN Analytics

The analytics and network oversight capabilities of SD-WAN play a pivotal role in allowing organisations to gain granular insights into their network’s performance. Using real-time data analytics, controllers and administrators can identify bottlenecks in data transfer to proactively uncover issues before they emerge and constantly optimise network performance to improve business efficiency.

Network-wide View Through SD-WAN Analytics

SD-WAN analytics provides businesses with a comprehensive, real-time view of their network’s performance. By collecting data from multiple sources, such as network devices, applications, user interactions and traffic levels, administrators are able to generate insights into how the network is performing and identify inefficiencies and risks.

Identifying and Removing Bottlenecks

One of the key benefits of SD-WAN analytics is its ability to identify bottlenecks within the network that could be disrupting performance and productivity. By monitoring network traffic and performance metrics, businesses can pinpoint areas where the network is experiencing congestion or latency issues. This can be analysed to a granular level down to the time of day when congestion is at its peak or what type of traffic is causing the problem. This information allows organisations to take proactive measures to optimise their network and ensure smooth operations.

For example, using SD-WAN analytics, high-value traffic (like VOIP calls or video conferencing) can be prioritised and routed through a different – higher capacity – line so it’s not competing with low-level traffic like web browsing and emails.

Proactively Monitor ‘Network Behaviour’ and Security Threats

A major problem with traditional WAN is the difficulty in having suitable visibility of security issues, because it requires the monitoring of each individual location or site (which can be dozens or hundreds of locations depending on the business). SD-WAN centralises network security, making threat detection much simpler. Using analytics, it’s possible to proactively detect anomalies and unusual behaviour on the network.

With baseline patterns established, SD-WAN analytics can identify and warn of any deviations, which could be a sign of performance issues or security threats. For example, SD-WAN could flag any unrecognised URLs trying to access the network, or any unknown devices that could be a potential threat, and trigger an action to investigate the issue further. This proactive approach helps businesses address potential problems before they escalate into major incidents.

Understanding User Behaviour to Optimise Performance

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As well as providing insight into network behaviour, SD-WAN analytics provides crucial insight into user behaviour, allowing companies to analyse how users interact with applications and resources. With this data, businesses can optimise how applications are delivered to users. They can prioritise critical traffic and platforms to ensure high-value projects are given more bandwidth.

Making Better, Data-driven Decisions

With real-time and historical network and user data, businesses can evaluate performance and the impact of any changes made to the network, assess the effectiveness of security measures in real-time and use network usage data to plan for future expansions.For example, using historical data, an organisation can predict when peak usage periods will happen throughout the year and expand capacity during those times to reduce lag.

Real-time data can also be used to analyse network performance and quickly identify any performance drops that could require additional capacity to solve. This data could also help to identify growth opportunities. For example if the network sees an increase in the use of cloud based platforms, this could be an area to invest in to improve the user experience. By leveraging data and analytics, organisations can optimise their network, enhance security, and deliver a seamless user experience.

The Importance of Data Insights in Network Optimisation

The Importance of Data Insights in Network Optimisation

Real-time data is a critical tool for network optimisation, providing end-to-end visibility and control at every level, from user and network behaviour to security, providing actionable information that helps organisations make better, more informed decisions. With the ability to monitor network traffic in real-time, companies can continually optimise performance and take a more proactive approach to resolving issues. Whether it’s prioritising and rerouting critical application traffic to improve business performance, or identifying rogue devices or activity that could pose a risk to data security, SD-WAN analytics play a crucial role in overall network performance. 

Proactive Problem Solving

Predictive analytics takes this a step further, enabling managers to anticipate and take preventative measures to resolve problems before they happen. For example, predictive analytics allows managers to anticipate network congestion based on historical data and current trends. Traffic could then be rerouted to avoid outages or delays on the network. Taking this proactive approach not only mitigates disruption but improves network performance overall.

Tailoring Networks to User Needs

Real-time data insights go beyond just the technical aspects of network optimisation. It plays a key role in enhancing the user and customer experience. By understanding user behaviour, businesses can tailor network services to meet specific needs and challenges.

For example, data might reveal a significant number of users are experiencing slow internet speeds during peak hours of the day because users are taking part in more video conferences or online presentations. Using real-time insights, bandwidth can be reallocated during these times, improving the user experience.

Using Data Insights to Cut Costs and Inefficiencies

As well as improving network performance and the user experience, real-time SD-WAN analytics enable more cost savings by identifying areas of inefficiencies and allowing better allocation of resources. For example, data may show that some network segments (like local branches) are underutilising their bandwidth, while other branches are consistently congested or experiencing high levels of traffic. In this case, resources could be reallocated to balance the network’s bandwidth, avoiding simply investing in more bandwidth for one site while the other site continues to underuse what they have. These insights can also identify potential areas of growth if parts of the network suddenly experience higher bandwidth requirements. 

Building the platform for SD-WAN analytics

In order to achieve full network optimisation and visibility, an analytics platform must be able to collect and analyse data from multiple sources within a network. This means investing in advanced monitoring tools, the infrastructure for data storage and also data analytics expertise to help understand the insights presented.

Additional data privacy and security could also be a consideration for a data heavy network to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. With this platform in place, and SD-WAN analytics providing granular insights into how the network is performing, businesses will be well placed to have a more efficient business, while providing the best user experience.

Implementing SD-WAN Analytics

Implementing SD-WAN Analytics

In order to implement SD-WAN analytics, understanding the needs of the network is the first step. This involves identifying network pain points or the requirements of an organisation when it comes to bandwidth and network management. For example, is the network experiencing congestion during peak hours? Is improved visibility over individual application performance needed? Is more proactive threat detection to protect data a priority? Answering these questions helps when it comes to evaluating the right SD-WAN solution.

When choosing an SD-WAN solution, finding a provider that offers comprehensive data analytics capabilities will ensure you experience the benefits we’ve covered in this article. Whether it’s having a customisable dashboard so you quickly interpret your data, or implementing a more sophisticated reporting tool to gather data from multiple locations and devices, having this as part of your solution will help when it comes to managing your network.

Let Elite Group help you make network management easier

At Elite we’re here to help you start seeing the benefits from better technology. Whether you need advice on the best options for you or you’re ready to get the ball rolling with an SD-WAN solution, our team is here to help. Contact our expert team today and we’ll work with you to identify your requirements and find the right SD-WAN solution for your business.