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Definition: SD-WAN

(Software Defined-Wide Area Network) A hybrid wide area network (WAN) that is controlled via software. SD-WAN software manages the edge routers and offers more flexibility than the protocols built into standard routers. For example, an SD-WAN can allow more traffic to traverse the less-costly public broadband side of the network and dynamically route packets to the private side when needed.

A major feature of a software defined WAN is the use of off-the-shelf hardware rather than proprietary networking devices. As x86 CPUs become faster, they can serve the majority of WAN use cases at a more affordable cost. See software-defined networking, dynamic and hybrid network.