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GigaOm Radar for Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WANs)v4.0

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Decision Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Solution Insights
  6. Analyst’s Outlook
  7. About Ivan McPhee

1. Executive Summary

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) provides branch offices, distributed workforces, and remote workers fast, seamless access to corporate applications, resources, and services. It creates a virtual network overlay with centralized management and end-to-end observability, enabling flexible, responsive, and scalable wide area connectivity that dynamically adapts to changing application demands and network conditions.

SD-WAN solutions provision remote branches, monitor network health and QoS, and intelligently reroute traffic flows based on software-defined rules. As a result, enterprises are migrating to SD-WAN to take advantage of its application-aware path selection across multiple links, centralized orchestration, native security, and other application performance optimization capabilities.

Typically sourced from network equipment providers (NEPs), network service providers (NSPs), or managed network service providers (MNSPs) and their channels, SD-WAN infrastructure can exist on- or off-premises via physical or virtual appliances. It can be managed in-house, co-managed, or outsourced in its entirety to a third-party provider.

While traditional WANs incur greater expense for less flexibility, deploying an SD-WAN offers scalable infrastructure and reduces the need for expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections. As an investment in efficiency, performance, and cost savings, an SD-WAN directly impacts business growth in a cloud-centric world by enhancing network agility, reducing costs, and optimizing cloud performance. By auto-selecting the best path, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity even if a link fails, and enhancing the user experience, integration with cloud platforms means faster access to applications, which directly impacts productivity. Furthermore, with centralized management, deploying policy changes is swift and hassle-free.

The SD-WAN market has evolved to accommodate the explosion of remote work, hybrid cloud architectures, and increased cybersecurity threats, leading to the convergence of SD-WAN with secure access service edge (SASE) solutions. However, we expect standalone SD-WAN to continue as a separate category for the foreseeable future. Moreover, the demand for application-aware routing and automated provisioning has increased, requiring enhanced network agility and resilience. Enhanced AI-driven analytics and self-healing capabilities are being added to optimize performance and reduce operational overhead, reflecting the need for more autonomous, intelligent networks in an increasingly digital and distributed business landscape.

This is our fourth year evaluating the category space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Radar report examines 21 of the top SD-WAN solutions in the market and compares offerings against the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and non-functional requirements (business criteria) outlined in the companion Key Criteria report. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading SD-WAN offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and non-functional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.