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SD-WAN technology is innately beneficial for organizations of any size. If an organization depends on its network for its productivity, it will be able to leverage the benefits of SD-WAN technology. However, organizations may not always see how SD-WAN interacts with their specific industry. Every industry needs to have real-time data sharing. However, the manufacturing industry has a unique set of needs, and the industry needs to ensure constant connectivity across operations as well as locations, partners, suppliers, etc.
Manufacturing organizations have long led the charge on wide-area networking. The manufacturing industry is currently undergoing a transformation that would allow it to become more digital. The Internet of Things (IoT) is making organizations in the manufacturing industry smarter, and supply chain agility is improving, and critical applications are moving to the cloud. With the various challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturing industry is discovering that it needs dependable and secure networks that will support organizations that are implementing remote and hybrid workforce platforms.
As mentioned previously, manufacturers have unique requirements when it comes to connectivity, especially since the industry’s makeup consists of factories, warehouses, and headquarters that are geographically distributed. Today, manufacturers have to adjust to network priorities that have changed due to the pandemic, having to make quick adjustments to meet connectivity needs. Manufacturing organizations also have to perform network management, monitor the performance of their applications, and ensure that users are always connecting to secure networks.
Fuelled mainly by the need for greater reliability and mobility, the need to access data in real-time, and the need for more cloud services, SD-WAN is making a name for itself as an effective solution. Since data centers are no longer at the forefront for business applications, SD-WAN is quickly becoming essential to the manufacturing industry.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already proven to be one of the most important technologies in the 21st century. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of “things” that have sensors, software, and other technologies embedded into them, and the purpose of this is to gain the ability to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet.
In order to fully leverage the potential of the Internet of Things, manufacturers will need wide-area networks that are not only capable enough to fulfill the ever-changing demands but also be flexible enough to make adjustments when needed. With the growth in the Internet of Things estimated to bring in 22 billion connected devices by the year 2025, typical WAN networks will more than likely struggle to keep up with growing demand. This is where software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) leave their mark.
SD-WAN has the ability to provide network administrators with improved levels of network visibility which will ensure the traffic of critical IoT devices is taking a safe and secure network route. The availability and use of IoT devices and technologies within the manufacturing industry is becoming an everyday practice, and there are numerous benefits to utilizing different IoT sensors, cameras, and other equipment.
How can manufacturers benefit from SD-WAN?
SD-WAN Technologies Can Be Customized
Software-defined wide area networks have the ability to be customized so they can better fill the needs that are required for deployment. Typically, manufacturers will make the most of centralized private networks. Software-defined wide area networks allow IT administrators and network administrators within the manufacturing industry to create specific policies that will be put in place to govern the traffic of the network. An SD-WAN has the ability to prioritize data packets, and this will ensure that all high-priority packets properly make their way across the most efficient and secure network path. SD-WAN also makes it easier to simplify network policy configuration and management.
SD-WAN Improves Connectivity
As more manufacturers begin to use wireless technologies and IoT devices to improve their operations, stable and secure network connectivity will become an integral part of software-defined wide-area networks within the manufacturing industry. Connectivity is important because it ensures that various WAN links are supported, especially in locations that would otherwise be difficult to reach. The ability to host several WAN links will likely become a rising critical function of SD-WAN within manufacturing. Under SD-WAN, different service providers can be used at various manufacturing locations to enhance connectivity.
SD-WAN Strengthens Security Features
SD-WAN provides more improved and reliable security features for all sites that are being managed from a single location. SD-WAN achieves this through visibility into WAN network traffic. The improved security capabilities will thwart various cyberthreats and cyberattacks through IoT devices, especially as they become more widespread in the manufacturing industry. As we have witnessed in the past year, cybercriminals are always looking for as much personal data and proprietary information as they can get their hands on. SD-WAN will ensure that all network traffic is encrypted as it leaves a website to better protect data against unauthorized access. IT teams can secure a solid perimeter around the local network, and this can include remote locations.
SD-WAN Improves Flexibility and Scalability
Manufacturers can use SD-WAN technology to improve their customer experience, especially with the rise of cloud services and IoT devices. Today, the majority of manufacturers are using cloud‑based applications and are incorporating SD-WAN to make it possible. More manufacturers will soon find themselves getting on board with smart-factory designs, and SD-WAN technology will establish a foundation that will allow them to do this more efficiently and effectively. Large networks grow quickly. Typically, an organization will need to add multiple network locations within a specific time frame. If manufacturers see sudden growth in a different market, a traditional MPLS service may not be the best option. SD-WAN can enable manufacturers to establish new locations quickly.
SD-WAN for manufacturing is becoming a necessary part of the industry because it allows manufacturers to direct network traffic. There are multiple advantages to SD-WAN technology in the manufacturing industry, but it has to be applied correctly.
Is your organization wondering how SD-WAN solutions can impact its manufacturing operations? Centerpoint IT specializes in working with manufacturers. Contact us today to discuss your networking requirements.