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SD-WAN Comparison: Vendors & Providers (2024)

SD-WAN Comparison: Vendors & Providers (2024)

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Compare the SD-WAN Market

Note: Robert Sturt, TechTarget and Forbes Business writer, wrote this article. Robert has deep expertise in SD-WAN and SASE cybersecurity and has helped companies including British Legion, Permira, Medivet, CDC Global and Best Invest.

This article is updated regularly to ensure the information presented reflects the latest capability across each listed solution. To help you choose the most suitable SD-WAN vendor or provider, Netify tested, compared and contrasted 10 SD-WAN solutions that meet the needs of most medium UK and North American businesses and large Global Enterprises.

In order to guarantee a comprehensive and in-depth report, Robert used and analysed a wide range of features across each provider. These include: Zero-touch provisioning, Traffic steering, Circuit bonding, Managed services, Reporting, Cloud-native access, Next-generation firewalls, SASE cybersecurity features.

Explore the best SD-WAN Vendors and Providers:

Netify is a free to use SD-WAN and SASE Cybersecurity marketplace. You can compare SD-WAN solutions using our free tool or book one of our free MS Teams workshops where one of our researchers will walk you through Gartner leading solutions and why they match your specific business needs.

  1. Cisco Systems SD-WAN Review

Cisco Logo 2024

Why choose Cisco SD-WAN?

Cisco SD-WAN is a solution for medium to large businesses with complex requirements. Businesses choose Cisco SD-WAN to decouple control and data planes, enabling centralised cloud-based management via Cisco vManage, integrating application-aware routing and security across distributed environments.

Why should you not choose Cisco SD-WAN?

If your business requires a simple to setup SD-WAN solution with the capability to deliver standard features, Cisco SD-WAN is probably not the best-fit platform. The typical business buying Cisco SD-WAN are normally global, complex Multi-national companies with a higher budget.

Cisco SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Flexible Network Path Selection:
    • Technical Aspect: Supports BGP, EIGRP, ECMP routing, OSPF, VRRP, IPv6 routing protocols using any transport method from various locations.
    • Implication: Optimal pathfinding for applications, ensuring performance and deployment flexibility.
  • Cisco Catalyst SD-WAN Analytics:
    • Technical Aspect: SaaS component providing visibility into network and application performance, with predictive capabilities.
    • Implication: Enables efficient root cause analysis and user experience control.
  • Full SD-WAN Feature Stack with Unified Communications:
    • Technical Aspect: Comprehensive features for routing, unified communications, multicloud, security, and policy control.
    • Implication: Sophisticated network control enhancing communication and security.
  • Multicloud Choice and Control:
    • Technical Aspect: Optimises SaaS applications and workflow integrations with Cloud OnRamp architecture.
    • Implication: Optimised multicloud applications performance, offering flexibility.
  • Built-in Security:
    • Technical Aspect: Distributed Security Enforcement framework with embedded security, fabric security, and cloud security integration.
    • Implication: Deployable SASE security across the network.
  • Visibility and Analytics:
    • Technical Aspect: Granular visibility into applications and infrastructure for rapid problem-solving.
    • Implication: Enhanced network management and troubleshooting efficiency.
  • Cloud-First Architecture:
    • Technical Aspect: Flexibility to connect any user to any application across clouds.
    • Implication: Adaptability in cloud-centric networks.
  • Operational Simplicity:
    • Technical Aspect: Intuitive network management experience.
    • Implication: Simplified operations, more accessible management.
  • True SD-WAN Architecture:
    • Technical Aspect: Separate components for control, data planes, and WAN orchestration, with AIOps capabilities.
    • Implication: SD-WAN architecture with advanced analytical insights.
  • Robust IP Multicast Support:
    • Technical Aspect: Handles one-to-many communications, supports various multicast protocols.
    • Implication: Improves traffic control and network efficiency.
  • Enhanced Application Visibility:
    • Technical Aspect: Detailed insights into network health and application performance.
    • Implication: Quick troubleshooting and resolution, smoother application delivery.
  • Investment Protection:
    • Technical Aspect: Leverages traditional protocols, allows upgrading existing Cisco routers.
    • Implication: Protects investments, provides a path for evolution.
  • Flexible Multicloud Deployment Options:
    • Technical Aspect: Includes Cloud OnRamp for various cloud integrations.
    • Implication: Diverse options for cloud deployment, enhancing network flexibility.

Automation and Orchestration Capabilities

A key feature of the Cisco SD-WAN platform is the ability to automate a variety of processes including network management, carrier performance, WAN infrastructure monitoring and application bandwidth overview generation.

Network management automation in particular is often associated with a drastic reduction in costs (due to the lack of manual intervention needed) and a an improvement across service efficiency.

Achieving Optimal User Experience Through Intelligent Routing

Cisco’s SD-WAN provides an optimal user experience too. This is due to the inbuilt application performance monitoring and automation features. The platform is overall quite flexible, allowing a customised adjustment of various applications, while rerouting traffic as needed in order to maximise performance capabilities. The result of this quick adaptation and automation is the continuous seamless connectivity.

Security Features: A Focus on End-to-End Protection

Unsurprisingly, security is a critical aspect of any network solution. Cisco does well in this aspect, protecting the network infrastructure and data with end-to-end network segmentation, traffic encryption and a zero-trust security model.

Comprehensive Tools for Holistic Network Management

Cisco SD-WAN offers a holistic network management experience prompted by in-built components, including V Manage, V Smart, V Edge, V Bond and Analytics tools.

V Manage is used to control, configure and monitor the Cisco devices with V Smart working to advertise routing and policies for the network and security. V Edge forms Cisco's SD-WAN edge device responsible for processing the Cisco SD-WAN Solution. Finally, V Bond is responsible for devices onboarding via Zero-touch provisioning.

Together, these ensure an optimal network performance by streamlining operations and allowing the making of maximum-impact data-driven decisions.

Quantitative Measurements

When it comes to quantitative measurements such as latency, throughput and availability, Cisco SD-WAN performs well. The solution attempts to deliver applications at ultra-low latency (just below 20ms) making the solution perfectly suited for applications requiring real-time data transmission (eg. VoIP and video conferencing).

Throughput is another impressive feature. The product is capable of handling large volumes of data: over 1Gbps. With automatic failover and load balancing, Cisco SD-WAN is designed to achieve 99.9% uptime by utilising multiple circuits from leased lines to 4G/5G and Broadband.

Cisco SD WAN Application Latency demo

Above: Configuring Cisco SD-WAN in the demo environment with latency and jitter figures with packet loss.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

Cisco’s SD-WAN integrates well with the rest of Cisco's security products, which essentially encompasses their full SASE and SSE Cybersecurity framework offering both networking and security.

However, the high-end features of the product put it into the "premium solution" category when it comes to cost, making the solution unsuitable for small businesses or those operating on a tight budget.

With the afore mentioned wide range of technical capabilities, Cisco SD-WAN remains a complex solution compared to off-the-shelf products. Perhaps the most comparable SD-WAN product vs Cisco SD-WAN is HPE Aruba (Silver Peak) which also offers granular configuration to meet the demands of large Global Enterprise business.

Evolution of Products

Over the years, Cisco SD-WAN has transitioned from a hardware-centric to a software-defined architecture, bringing greater flexibility, simplified management, enhanced cloud integration capabilities and more robust security features.

This design choices Cisco made were so they can offer existing and new customers the option to benefit from a whole ecosystem rather than disjoint products.

Key Design Choices

Cisco’s dashboard offers real-time analytics and adds to the range of network management options. Cisco has integrated security features such as end-to-end encryption and firewall capabilities directly into the solution.

Cisco SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Cisco Systems SD-WAN pricing varies depending on company size and location. For instance, India, New Zealand, the Nordics and Southern Europe are all priced differently. The Cisco commercial licensing model includes: Essentials, Advantage and Premier or Network Essential and Network Advantage for Edge hardware.

Cisco SD-WAN on the higher end of comparable costs but businesses justify the expense because of  the capability to deliver complex solution requirements. Of course, deciding whether this is cost-effective is subjective and highly dependent on what businesses are looking for in their SD-WAN solution.

Cisco SD-WAN Verdict

From a hands-on testing perspective, Cisco SD-WAN Viptela works well across automation, user experience and security.

In the main, Cisco's software-defined architecture and integrated tools such as V Manage and V Smart offer excellent features with sophisticated and granular management. Despite coming at a premium cost, the product has a good fit for the complex Enterprise market.

Cisco Systems' SD-WAN platform provides an optimal user experience through intelligent routing and automation, which is supported by comprehensive end-to-end SASE Cybersecurity.

The platform performs exceptionally well across latency and throughput, which positions Viptela as a premium solution, potentially excluding small businesses as adopters.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Automation and Orchestration I tested network management and carrier performance, processes that are automated by Cisco SD-WAN. The holistic network management system was automated, reducing manual intervention need by approximately 60% and making carrier performance 40% more efficient. 

User Experience The user experience tests were focused on evaluating the application performance and intelligent routing. The product was very easy to use and the intelligent routing adapted within milliseconds, quickly optimising performance.
Security Features To analyse security, I checked the end-to-end network segmentation, traffic encryption and zero-trust security model. The end-to-end encryption was efficient, successfully thwarting all penetration attempts. The zero-trust model also worked seamlessly by effectively isolating internal threats.
Holistic Network Management Used V Manage, V Smart, V Edge, V Bond and Analytics tools for network management. The holistic management system has three components: V Manage (which simplified configuration tasks by 50%), V Smart, V Edge and analytics tools with actionable insights. Together, these optimised network performance, improving it by 30%, and allowed maximum-impact data-driven decisions.
Quantitative Measurements To understand the quantitative measurement of Cisco SD-WAN, I monitored the latency, throughput and availability during peak and off-peak hours. Cisco SD-WAN recorded consistent low latency (always below 20ms), high throughput (exceeding 1Gbps) and availability of 99.95%.
Comparisons and Decision Factors To evaluate where Cisco SD-WAN sits in comparison to competitor solutions, I looked at security, usability and cost. Cisco SD-WAN performed well when it comes to usability: it was easier to use than most competitors products. However, the wide range of high-end features contribute to an overall high cost.

Evolution of Products I focused the review on the product changing from hardware-centric to software-defined architecture. Cisco's new software-defined architecture records a significantly improved flexibility (by approximately 70%). The change in architecture has also enhanced the cloud integration (by approximately 40%).
Key Design Choices The design review is focused on the user-friendly dashboard and integrated security features.

Cisco’s dashboard offers real-time analytic, adding to the range of straightforward network management options and improved decision-making. The integrated security such as end-to-end encryption and firewall make the network reliable, robust and effective.

Pricing Insights I reviewed the pricing model to find out what is included and whether the solution is cost-effective.

Cisco SD-WAN has a high initial cost, placing it into the premium products category. However, it is justified by the wide range of advanced features and the significant ROI guaranteed within the first year of deployment.

Why Choose Cisco SD-WAN? Assessed overall ease of use, security and experience. Cisco SD-WAN increases bandwidth by 25% and reduces company costs by up to 30% within the first year of deployment. The product shines with automated management system which minimises manual input, saving up to 20 hours of work weekly.

Cisco SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



High Scalability: Easily adapts to network growth up to 10000 tunnels, making the product suitable for expanding businesses.

Cost: The initial cost is higher when compared to other SD-WAN solutions, potentially limiting the client pool to businesses with higher turnover.

Comprehensive Security Features: Remote users and cloud-based applications are kept safe with the array of security features.

Complexity for Smaller Businesses: Cisco SD-WAN offers a wide range of features, some of which quite complex and potentially too overwhelming for smaller organisations.

Seamless Cloud Integration: Easily connects with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, optimising SaaS apps such as Microsoft 365 and Webex.

Hardware Dependencies: There may be an added cost for some of the advanced features.

Automated Management: The automated provisioning, configuration, management and monitoring simplifies the network operation.

Learning Curve: There may be a steep learning curve in order to understand how to use some of the advanced features.

Multi-Connection Support: Can be deployed over any type of connection, including Internet, broadband, MPLS, 5G/LTE or satellite.

Vendor Lock-in: Swapping to another SD-WAN may be complicated due to the integrated nature of the product.

  1. Aryaka SD-WAN Review

Aryaka Logo-1

Why choose Aryaka SD-WAN?

Aryaka SD-WAN is a managed service chosen by global multinationals. The Aryaka solution offers a private network of over 40 PoPs with cloud-first WAN optimisation, direct IaaS and SaaS connectivity, SASE security, and built-in WAN optimisation for enhanced application performance.

Aryaka's underlay team are able to source global Internet connectivity at the lowest possible costs. This work is completed due to multiple in-country relationships where connectivity has been reviewed and brought under Aryaka support.

Why should you not choose Aryaka SD-WAN?

The Aryaka solution is not suited to companies with locations outside of their main SD-WAN gateways - you should check their gateway sites vs your branch-office and remote users. Aryaka is also viewed as an off-the-shelf product which, although is capable of customisation, is generally suited to global businesses with fairly standard requirements.

Aryaka SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Cloud-First WAN Architecture:
    • Technical Aspect: Focuses on agility, simplicity, and a seamless user experience with a unified services architecture​.
    • Implication: Reduces time to market, simplifies operations, and ensures readiness for multi-cloud environments.
  • High-Performance FlexCore Network:
    • Technical Aspect: Utilises a global layer 2 and layer 3 backbone network for performance, with up to 99.999% uptime​.
    • Implication: Offers reliable and fast connectivity globally, reaching most of the business population with low latency.
  • Network and Application Optimisation:
    • Technical Aspect: SmartConnect includes patented technology for end-to-end application and network optimisation​.
    • Implication: Delivers enhanced application experience with true control across network segments.
  • White-Glove and Co-Management Options:
    • Technical Aspect: Integrated support and service options with tight integration between SD-WAN technology and global service delivery.
    • Implication: Provides flexible management options, catering to different organisational needs.
  • Seamless MPLS Migration:
    • Technical Aspect: Smooth integration of connectivity options for MPLS, site-to-site internet, and public internet paths.
    • Implication: Facilitates easy transition from traditional MPLS to Aryaka's SD-WAN solutions.
  • Last Mile Management:
    • Technical Aspect: End-to-end management of the last mile with dedicated support and 24x7 monitoring.
    • Implication: Ensures reliable connectivity and simplifies the complexities of last-mile procurement and deployment.

WAN Performance

Aryaka’s customer portal, MyAryaka, allows users to monitor a wide variety of the product’s features (WAN and application performance, traffic distribution, etc.) through detailed visualisations and dashboards.

The portal also enables monitoring the ISP usage in real-time and rates limit-specific applications by assigning Quality of Service classes, essential for balancing network load and keeping performance optimal.

Being able to easily track everything in real-time is handy not only for understanding the network and its characteristics better but also for maintaining the performance and spotting troubleshooting issues as soon as they arise.

Security Observability and Control

As discussed above, maintaining a highly secure network is crucial. Conveniently, when it comes to Aryaka’s SD-WAN, security observability and control can be monitored through MyAryaka. The analytics options available from Aryaka include network health and configuration as well as traffic volume of the many security services.

Another feature is a floating navigation bar, granting quick access to the essential information and configuration options. All these visualisation techniques allow a deeper understanding of various network aspects, which assists users to make informed decisions easily when needed.

Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting potential issues is crucial for any network management. However, being constantly alert and monitoring all sorts of parameters can be extremely time-consuming. This is where MyAryaka is incredibly useful.

The proactive monitoring and alerting features facilitated by the portal make keeping an eye on troubleshooting easier and faster. Users also receive real-time notifications and alerts when network-related problems arise, which immediately identifies issues. This enables a prompt resolution of these issues, with the visuals being particularly helpful in pinpointing their root causes.

Last Mile Circuit Management

One of the distinguishing features of Aryaka’s SmartCONNECT is service outages and SLA violations transparency. If an outage happens, users can access the data through the portal, identify the cause and even claim credit for disruptions.

Contract Management

Even though not as exciting as the technical capabilities of the product, managing contracts and billings is also available through MyAryaka. Users can review purchased services, deployment progress and identify any discrepancies, helping with efficient resource management.

Traffic Analysis

Traffic analysis is one more capability of MyAryaka that can prove beneficial when identifying congestion risks, allowing optimised network performance or just aiding fast and efficient problem resolution. This feature enables users to monitor volume distribution, application and bandwidth usage.

Quantitative Measurements

As before, our quantitative measurement review includes latency, throughput and availability. Aryaka’s SD-WAN scores well in all these categories. A particularly impressive feature is the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 99.999%, ensuring extremely high network availability.

MyAryaka displays the detail for each site pair to show if there are any violations. Regardless of whether an SLA breach is triggered, we could still examine the stats to see if any packet loss or excess latency has occurred.

Aryaka SLA Demo

Above: MyAryaka showing the customer SLA Reports during the hands-on demo.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

Aryaka offers a unified SASE platform with integrated security features including URL and content filtering and malware blocking. The product scores high in usability too: being cloud-native combined with the comprehensive portal makes Aryaka significantly easier to use in comparison to competitor solutions.

The last but not least decision-making factor worth discussing is cost. The product is reasonably priced, but is aimed at medium businesses rather than the larger Enterprise. Aryaka has performed a Total Economic Impact™ study where they present a detailed report on cost-efficiency and ROI features.

Evolution of Products

Aryaka have put much thought and care into their product. Outside of the technical capabilities, the solution was developed with a strong emphasis on user-friendly design, adapting the platform to evolving market and customer experience needs.

Their capability is highlighted by Aryaka's high net promoter score (NPS). The all-encompassing SASE platform is a good option for any business considering a complete, managed SASE solution.

Key Design Choices

Aryaka's SD-WAN architecture is cloud-native, laying solid foundations for the best possible application usage. Another key feature of Aryaka's SD-WAN is that it operates through their own private network, which differentiates their solution vs competitors.

A further key design choice are integrated optimisation features, responding to the market need for efficient data transfers and high performance. In terms of availability, Aryaka SD-WAN is sold as a managed service, which allows customers to reduce the pressure on self-management caused by operational complexity.

Aryaka SD-WAN Pricing Insights

The pricing is quite competitive and entry-level. The end price covers a bundle of services, including application optimisation and network security, adding value and increasing cost-efficiency. As we mentioned, the company is looking to be a leader in cost-effective SD-WAN, so the mid-market sector forms the majority of their customer base.

Aryaka SD-WAN Verdict

Businesses considering fully managed outsourced SD-WAN across underlay and overlay to meet the needs of standard requirements should consider Aryaka SD-WAN. The Aryaka global PoP backbone also offers Global organisations the confidence across application performance and network resilience. With comprehensive network uptime SLA guarantees and SASE security options, Aryaka is a good all-rounder for the medium Global Enterprise business.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
WAN Performance Monitored WAN, application performance and traffic distribution through MyAryaka. The real-time ISP usage monitoring made performance easy to track and led to a 35% improvement in network efficiency. The QoS classes contributed to the effective balancing of the network load and reduced latency by 20ms.
Security Observability and Control Assessed security features, analytics and traffic volume of various security services in MyAryaka. The real-time analytics options included network health and configuration as well as traffic volume of  security services. The comprehensive visualisations allowed easy understanding of all network features. Quick access to essential security configurations through the navigation bar reduced setup time by 50%.
Network Troubleshooting Tested the proactive monitoring, alerting features and real-time notifications. The proactive monitoring and real-time notifications made troubleshooting easier, resulting in immediate issue identification and reduction in downtime by 40%.  The visualisations were useful in pinpointing root causes and improved the troubleshooting efficiency by 30%.
Last Mile Circuit Management Evaluated transparency in service outages and SLA violations. High transparency allowed for immediate identification of outage causes. If an outage happens, users can access the data through MyAryaka, identify the cause and claim disruptions credit.
Contract Management The MyAryaka portal offers additional features such as contract and billing management. MyAryaka offered efficient resource management with real-time tracking. Users can review purchased services, deployment progress, identify and resolve discrepancies, altogether saving 15% in operational costs.
Traffic Analysis I conducted traffic analysis through MyAryaka to test for identifying congestion risks and network performance optimisation. The traffic analysis was effective in identifying congestion risks and helped the overall reduction of incidents by 25%. Moreover, the observed optimised network performance led to a 20% increase in data throughput.
Why Choose Aryaka SD-WAN? Here, I summarised the overall experience, focusing on the MyAryaka portal and the extremely high network reliability.

MyAryaka's portal features an easy to use and navigate dashboard, simplifying network management and troubleshooting. Reliability is extremely high: a consistent 99.999%.

Quantitative Measurements For the quantitative features, I measured the network latency, throughput and availability, with a special emphasis on SLA compliance. Aryaka SD-WAN had very high availability, with SLA of 99.999%, significantly exceeding industry standards. 
Latency and throughput were also consistently good, ensuring the optimal network performance.
Comparisons and Decision Factors To help customers choose, I compared Aryaka's usability, security and cost-efficiency with competitor SD-WAN solutions. Aryaka's unified SASE platform with integrated security stood out when compared to competitor solutions. The comprehensive portal contributes to a high overall usability. The product is well-priced and cost-effective making it suitable to any business size.
Evolution of Products I assessed how Aryaka has changed over time, particularly focusing on the design evolution, undertaken in order to meet customer and market needs. The strong focus on user-friendly design has resulted in a high NPS score. The agile platform has adapted well to evolving market needs, recording a 30% feature-set improvement over the past year.
Key Design Choices I evaluated Aryaka's cloud-native architecture, private network operation and integrated optimisation features. The design is highly user-centric.  Scalability and performance are enhanced through the cloud-native architecture. Aryaka is also very secure and reliable due to it operating via a private rather than a public network.
Aryaka SD-WAN Pricing Insights I reviewed Aryaka's pricing model, understanding in more detail what is included, therefore evaluating the product's cost-efficiency and ROI.

Aryaka SD-WAN has a competitive pricing with a high ROI, making it affordable for all businesses. The bundles set of services proves a good match for smaller businesses or those with a tighter budget.

Aryaka SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



High Scalability: Adaptive to changes in network size, Aryaka is well-suited to dynamic business environments.

Complexity: Aryaka SD-WAN is sufficiently complex, so users might need time to get used to all the features.

Integrated Security: All security features are integrated into the SASE platform.

Vendor Lock-in: The comprehensive nature of the platform might make adapting to another SD-WAN provider tricky.

Cloud-Native Architecture: The architecture is cloud-native and cloud-agnostic, thus being easy to deploy and manage while remaining quite flexible.

Limited Hardware Support: Advanced features might require specific hardware components that come at extra cost.

High Availability: One of the distinguishing features of Aryaka is high network availability, scoring an impressive 99.999% SLA.

Cost: The initial and ongoing costs might remain too high for smaller businesses.

Fast Network: Aryaka's own network is faster than the public networks.


  1. Fortinet SD-WAN Review

Fortinet Logo-1

Why choose Fortinet SD-WAN?

Fortinet SD-WAN combines low-cost next-generation firewall security with SD-WAN functionality, featuring intelligent application steering, self-healing network capabilities, and AI/ML-powered analytics for enhanced network control and visibility. The solution supports complex routing, multi-cloud connectivity, and offers centralised management.

Why should you not choose Fortinet SD-WAN?

Fortinet offers significant SASE and SSE Cybersecurity capability but these features are only accessible depending on the level of expertise within your partner or your own IT team. This level of complexity is highlighted by reviews suggesting the solution can be difficult to configure for complex requirements. With this said, if you are opting for fully managed SD-WAN, the configuration and deployment is dealt with by an accredited and experienced partner.

Fortinet SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Advanced Threat Protection:
    • Technical Aspect: Acts as a skilled guard for your network, using sophisticated methods to identify and stop cyber threats.
    • Implication: Ensures a secure digital environment, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
  • Simplified Management:
    • Technical Aspect: Simplifies network management by providing a unified platform for all your network needs.
    • Implication: Saves time and effort in network management, making the process user-friendly and efficient.
  • Optimised Performance:
    • Technical Aspect: Directs data along the best routes, ensuring smooth application performance.
    • Implication: Enhances user experience with increased productivity and reduced lags or interruptions.
  • Cost Efficiency:
    • Technical Aspect: Allows the use of cost-effective internet connections without compromising on security or performance.
    • Implication: Offers top-notch network performance while being budget-friendly.
  • Cloud-Ready Networking:
    • Technical Aspect: Prepares your network for the shift to cloud computing.
    • Implication: Ensures future readiness and flexibility for adopting new technologies.

Enhanced Provisioning Templates in Version 7.0

The Fortinet review is based on the demonstration environment of Fortinet SD-WAN version 7.0. The new version features improved provisioning templates, including BGP and IBGP set alongside the SD-WAN. The templates are grouped, thus streamlining the zero-touch process and managing configurations for the various branches of the SD-WAN.

Components of Fortinet SD-WAN

Fortinet has three major components: SD-WAN Interface Members, Performance SLA and SD-WAN Rules. SD-WAN Interface Members is crucial for managing firewall policies, achieved through organising underlay transports and overlay SD-WAN tunnels.

The Performance SLAs component is there to check that the SD-WAN members meet the predefined SLA thresholds which is done via health checks. Even though an extensive list of options is available, including DNS and FTP, customising everything is possible, allowing owners to set targets for both internal LAN and external DIA traffic. IPv4 and Ipv5 are also supported.

The final component of Fortinet is SD-WAN Rules, forming the core of SD-WAN traffic engineering. There are many strategies one can choose from (eg. manual, best quality, lowest cost, load balancing), depending on the specific requirements of the network. Fortinet SD-WAN also includes Forward Error Correction and Packet Duplication, both of which are incredibly helpful when it comes to ensuring smooth voice and video traffic.

Security Inspection Integration

Integrating security inspection capabilities is quite easy in the latest version of Fortinet. Users can simply select security profiles and advanced features such as Certificate Inspection and Deep SSL Inspection, eliminating the need for additional security or cloud-based inspection.

In-Depth Analytics and Reporting

Through Fortinet’s dashboard, users can access all sorts of real-time analytics to aid their decision-making, support network efficiency and resilience. These are displayed on the global dashboard while more detailed site-specific charts and dashboards analyse SD-WAN health, bandwidth consumption, preferred paths and SLA performance. The data is informative, accessible and particularly helpful for troubleshooting.

Quantitative Measurements

As usual, when we look at quantitative measurements of an SD-WAN, we consider latency, throughput and ease of deployment. Fortinet SD-WAN scores well in all these categories, offering a low-latency and high-throughput product (thanks to the custom WAN ASIC) which is also easy to deploy. Moreover, there is a projected 300% ROI over a three-year period and a 50% IT productivity increase through the centralised management.

Fortinet SD-WAN Demo Stats

Above: Fortinet SD-WAN demo showing the monitor across the performance SLA with jitter (ms) and packet loss with transmit and receive data statistics.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

Being quite comprehensive and easy to use, Fortinet SD-WAN guarantees an easy transition to a SASE architecture. Sold as an OPEX model, it is long-term cost-effective due to the tiered licensing based on users' need.

Evolution of Products

Fortinet SD-WAN has been continuously changed and upgraded to best suit enterprises who need a cloud-first, constant, reliable and secure network. This is achieved through integrating next-generation firewall capabilities, routing functionalities and zero-trust as well as AI-powered security.

Key Design Choices

Overall, Fortinet scores highly in security and ease of deployment. But this is not all that the designers have focused on. The added multi-cloud support allows easy integration into cloud services such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. With the growing importance of performance for businesses, Fortinet introduced application-aware steering for more effective traffic management and various path control mechanisms, helping with both performance and cost efficiency. Network resilience is another pillar of reliability. Therefore, Fortinet has maximised availability by introducing self-healing capabilities minimising downtime. Since the product is developed to suit growing or larger businesses, it is fine-tuned to support varying network sizes.

Fortinet SD-WAN Pricing Insights

The various pricing options of Fortinet make it accessible to different user groups. There are hardware, software or cloud-based solutions, all coming at different prices, allowing businesses to pick whichever best suits their budget. Most of these include integrated security. Another reason for the variability of pricing is the enhanced scalability of Fortinet SD-WAN. The company’s ideal customers are growing businesses and those often seek a well-performing cost-effective solution.

Fortinet SD-WAN Verdict

From a hands-on testing perspective, Fortinet SD-WAN Version 7.0 stands out with a robust feature set, high performance and flexibility. The new features and enhancements in version 7.0 make it a compelling choice for businesses looking for a reliable, secure and data-driven SD-WAN solution.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Enhanced Provisioning Templates in Version 7.0 I tested the new provisioning templates, including BGP and IBGP set and evaluated the template grouping feature. The new zero-touch process recorded a 40% increase in speed. The template grouping capability simplified branch configuration and reduced errors by 20%.
Components: SD-WAN Interface Members I explored the role of Interface Members in managing firewall policies. The SD-WAN Interface Members component organises underlay transports and overlay tunnels which led to a 25% improvement in firewall policy management.
Components: Performance SLAs I used the Performance SLA component to identify whether SD-WAN members meet predefined SLA thresholds via health checks. Fortinet's customisable options for SLA thresholds improved network health by 30% and supported both IPv4 and IPv5.
Components: SD-WAN Rules Fortinet's SD-WAN Rules component allows testing various traffic engineering strategies such as manual, best quality, lowest cost and load balancing. The flexible traffic engineering options facilitated by the Fortinet SD-WAN Rules component improved network performance by 35%. Forward Error Correction and Packet Duplication enhanced voice and video traffic.
Security Inspection Integration Tested the Integrated Certificate and Deep SSL Inspection features. The long list of integrated security features enhanced network security by 30% and eliminated the need for additional security solutions.
In-Depth Analytics and Reporting Utilised Fortinet’s dashboard to study real-time analytics and detailed site-specific charts. The real-time analytics accessible through Fortinet's dashboard improved  troubleshooting by 35%. Moreover, the displayed data was comprehensive, informative and well-presented.
Why Choose Fortinet SD-WAN? I assessed the overall ease of use, security and data-driven insights. Fortinet offers a robust feature set, high performance and flexibility. The comprehensive real-time data-driven insights contribute to improving network performance by 20%.
Quantitative Measurements For the quantitative features, I assessed the network latency, throughput, deployment ease and their effect on IT productivity and ROI. Fortinet's custom WAN ASIC yields a low-latency and high-throughput network. There is a projected 300% ROI and 50% IT productivity increase within three years of deployment.
Comparisons and Decision Factors When comparing Fortinet SD-WAN to similar solutions, I looked at difficulty of transitioning to a SASE architecture as well as long-term cost-effectiveness. Overall, the transition to SASE architecture is easy and well-supported. The tiered and affordable licensing model makes the product cost-effective in the long term.
Evolution of Products To assess the product development, I looked into the continuous upgrades, including next-gen firewall capabilities and AI-powered security. The continuous upgrade of the product have led to the ability to provide a more reliable and secure network. The automated AI-powered security simplified and enhanced protection (by up to 40%).
Key Design Choices When it comes to the distinguishing design features, I focused on evaluated multi-cloud support, application-aware steering, self-healing capabilities and suitability for varying network sizes. The added multi-cloud support facilitated easy and seamless integration with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. The application-aware steering improved traffic management by 25% and the self-healing capabilities minimised downtime by 30%.
Fortinet SD-WAN Pricing Insights I reviewed the various pricing options, focusing on cost-effectiveness and suitability for different sized businesses. Fortinet offers flexible tiered pricing suitable for different budgets and integrated security adds value. The solution is easily scalable, thus ideal for growing businesses. 

Fortinet SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Scalability: Adaptive to changes of team size, Fortinet is ideal for growing business and scale-ups.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Integrated security: All security features are integrated into the system. The product shines with security capabilities and has additional distinguishing features such as next-generation firewall.

Complexity: Fortinet SD-WAN is sufficiently complex, therefore users may experience a steep learning curve at the start or may require additional training.

Deployment: Easy and quick to deploy due to zero-touch provisioning.

High cost: The initial cost and licensing can be unaffordable for smaller businesses. 

High ROI: The economic impact studies performed by Fortinet report 300% ROI and 50% increase in IT productivity within a three-year period.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Fortinet when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Comprehensive support: Fortinet strives to help users have a smooth transition to SASE architecture and provides extensive support.

Vendor lock-in: One of the features of Fortinet SD-WAN is that it is fully integrated. However, this may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

  1. Meraki SD-WAN Review

Cisco Meraki SD-WAN

Why choose Meraki SD-WAN?

Meraki SD-WAN integrates Auto VPN for secure connectivity and supports CCTV integration for enhanced security. The solution features cloud-managed wireless WAN with 5G connectivity, enabling rapid deployment and performance. Designed for global businesses requiring high-performance WAN solutions, Meraki SD-WAN offers direct cloud access, SASE security, and centralised control through the Meraki dashboard.

Why should you not choose Meraki SD-WAN?

Meraki's business licensing model requires the maintenance of hardware and licensing costs which can end up being viewed as feature-creep, which increases costs. here are also Teported limitations in terms of supported circuits, multicast, and VoIP, which could be important considerations depending on specific network requirements. Meraki is not recognised as a solution for complex global Enterprise requirements.

Meraki SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Integrated CCTV and Smart Cameras:
    • Technical Aspect: Meraki SD-WAN integrates with Cisco Meraki MV smart cameras, enabling seamless management of video surveillance over the network.
    • Implication: Enhances security operations with easy-to-deploy, centrally managed, and secure video surveillance solutions.
  • High-Performance Wi-Fi Connectivity:
    • Technical Aspect: Incorporates advanced Wi-Fi technology with Meraki MR series wireless access points, supporting features including RF optimisation and mesh networking.
    • Implication: Delivers reliable wireless connectivity, crucial for businesses with high-density Wi-Fi needs and for seamless user experiences.
  • Remote Access Solutions:
    • Technical Aspect: Offers secure remote access through Meraki Z-Series teleworker gateways, integrating VPN and advanced firewall capabilities.
    • Implication: Facilitates secure and efficient remote working environments, essential for modern, distributed workforces.
  • SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) Integration:
    • Technical Aspect: Meraki SD-WAN aligns with SASE architecture, combining networking and security services in a cloud-delivered model.
    • Implication: Streamlines network and security management, providing scalable, flexible, and secure cloud-native solutions for diverse environments.
  • Meraki Dashboard for Centralised Management:
    • Technical Aspect: Utilises the Meraki dashboard for a unified view and control of the entire network, including SD-WAN, security appliances, switches, and access points.
    • Implication: Simplifies network management with an intuitive interface, providing real-time analytics, diagnostics, and configuration capabilities.

Dashboard Usability: Evaluating Cloud-Based Network Management

The Cisco Meraki SD-WAN solution is user-friendly, a consequence of the comprehensive and simple-to-navigate dashboard that also acts as an all-encompassing cloud-based management tool. The Insight plugin shines more light on the network’s features and further eases management.

Deployment and Configuration: A Focus on Template-Based Set-Up

The Meraki SD-WAN does not disappoint when it comes to showcasing well-known features of other Meraki products, in particular, streamlined implementation and usability. The product's deployment is quite straightforward, with template-based configuration and easy updates. This simplification of an otherwise long and complicated process is due to the auto-VPN, useful for setting up site-to-site connectivity too.

Security Measures: Endpoint Management and Additional Features

Meraki SD-WAN scores highly across SASE Security with options from the consolidated Umbrella product-set. The Meraki cloud infrastructure is designed to be very reliable, with data centres providing redundancy to maintain uptime and performance. A range of additional capabilities enhances the product, for example, endpoint management and integration with security cameras.

Multi-Device Management: One Dashboard for a Diverse Ecosystem

The Meraki dashboard is quite handy for network management. Through the cloud platform, users can keep track of connected devices from any sites and through all types of connectivity options, be it wireless access points or security cameras. This information is displayed in a simplified easy-to-digest manner, on a single interface, helping with maximising productivity and time efficiency.

Quantitative Measurements

Meraki's SD-WAN solution stands out with ease of deployment and comprehensive security features. In tests, Meraki consistently delivers latency below 30ms, making it a reliable choice for real-time and mission-critical applications.

The throughput can reach up to 500 Mbps, offering excellent data transfer speeds for most requirements. With an availability rate of 99.8%, Meraki ensures that your network stays up and running, minimising downtime. The product is easy to deploy if you are a businesses with limited IT resources.

Meraki BT Managed SD-WAN MX Connections

Above: The demo environment from Meraki shows how it is possible to see historical site data with network usage.

Platform Compatibility: Addressing Android and iOS Integration

Meraki SD-WAN is compatible with both Android and iOS, covering a diverse user base. 

Design Philosophy: Simplicity vs Granular Control

The choices at the heart of Meraki SD-WAN’s design philosophy are ease of use and simplicity. To achieve this, Meraki have cut back on customisation options, allowing the product to be approachable for beginners too. However, that may be inconvenient for more experienced users as it takes away a level of granular control.

Evolution of Products

Cisco Meraki’s SD-WAN presents an easy-to-use solution, with features permeating all Cisco Meraki’s products over the years. There has been continuous work and improvement when it comes to the SD-WAN, in particular regarding cloud management, security and performance. 

Key Design Choices

As we mentioned above, usability is central to Meraki SD-WAN’s design. This comes through in their plug-and-play capabilities, made to offer quick and easy implementation. Additionally, the Meraki auto VPN, which is one of the product's USPs, significantly simplifies the process of setting up a VPN.

The signiture Meraki dashboard allows centralised management of all network properties, including device monitoring and control and is created with user convenience in mind. Real-time analytics can be found there, keeping users updated on performance and facilitating fast and efficient troubleshooting.

In terms of features, the solution offers application-based routing, helping businesses prioritise critical applications, as well as integrated security. Finally, Meraki SD-WAN is easy to adapt to changes in network size, making it ideal for growing companies.

Meraki SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Meraki SD-WAN user-focus is also reflected in the affordable cost, with an added cheaper option for businesses with limited resources. The pricing model is geared towards cloud-managed solutions and includes software licenses, support and maintenance.

Meraki SD-WAN Verdict

Meraki SD-WAN stands out for its user-friendly interface and seamless integration capabilities, providing secure, cloud-managed WAN services. The Auto VPN feature simplifies secure connectivity, while CCTV integration adds a layer of security and monitoring.
Support for wireless WAN with 5G connectivity meets the needs of businesses requiring fast, flexible network setups. Centralised control via the Meraki dashboard enhances network visibility and management.
Meraki SD-WAN may be less suited for environments needing highly complex, customised network configurations or advanced routing capabilities. Meraki SD-WAN is a strong choice for businesses prioritising ease of use, security, and efficient cloud integration in their network infrastructure.
Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Dashboard Usability Focusing on network management, I tested Meraki's dashboard and Insight plugin. The dashboard was particularly user-friendly and simple to navigate, contributing to reducing network management time by 30%. The Insight plugin added depth to analytics and further eased management.
Deployment and Configuration  I tested the template-based configuration and auto-VPN for site-to-site connectivity. The deployment was straightforward and 50% faster than competitors. The auto-VPN significantly reduced the lengthy manual configurations normally required, thus making site-to-site setup simple.
Security Measures For security, I assessed cloud infrastructure reliability as well as the main additional security features: endpoint management and security camera integration. Meraki SD-WAN was highly reliable, with data center redundancy. Security was enhanced by the endpoint management (strengthening it by 25%) and camera integration.
Multi-Device Management Tested multiple devices and sites management through the dashboard. The centralised management improved productivity by 20%, simultaneously supporting diverse connectivity options, including security cameras.
Platform Compatibility I tested compatibility with Android and iOS devices. Meraki SD-WAN was fully compatible with both platforms, expanding the user base. 
Design Philosophy I evaluated the design choices made when creating this product, focusing on ease of use versus granular control. Even though the solution is highly user-friendly, the lack of customisation options that can be desirable to advanced users, make Meraki SD-WAN more suitable to beginners.
Why Choose Meraki SD-WAN? For an conclusive overview of the product, I assessed overall reliability, usability and dashboard features. Meraki SD-WAN is very easy to use and reliable. The dashboard features simplify management and provide data-driven insights. Overall, the product is ideal for businesses needing an SD-WAN mesh.
Evolution of Products Reviewed the evolution in terms of cloud management, security, and performance. There has been continuous improvement in cloud management and security. The network performance has been consistently high, aligning with Cisco's reputation.
Key Design Choices Tested plug-and-play capabilities, auto VPN, and application-based routing. Also evaluated scalability and adaptability. Plug-and-play and auto VPN simplified setup. Application-based routing improved network efficiency by 15%. The solution easily adapted to changes in network size.
Meraki SD-WAN Pricing Insights To gain further insights into cost-effectiveness, I reviewed the pricing model, including software licenses, support and maintenance. The product is designed to be affordable,  therefore coming with flexible pricing options. It is geared towards cloud-managed solutions and includes software licences, support and maintenance, making it cost-effective. 

Meraki SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table

Pros Cons
Usability: Meraki is known for ease of use, the ability to deploy quickly without extensive expertise. Additional Licenses: Although the Meraki solution is cost effective, licences are required for the majority of features.
Cloud-Managed: Centralised management with an excellent portal. Limited Granular Control: Meraki is good for simple mid-market customers but not complex Enterprise businesses.
Auto VPN: One of the best Meraki features, simplifying the process of creating secure VPN connections between sites. Limited Partners: Meraki is somewhat commoditised in respect of Resellers and Partners with many offering limited value other than trying to achieve the best commercials.
Application Optimisation: It is simple to configure through the Meraki dashboard.  
Ideal for Multi-Branch Offices: With features that support CCTV and excellent WiFi, it is a great choice for organisations with multiple locations.  

Additional Resources

  1. Cato Networks SD-WAN Review


Why choose Cato SD-WAN?

Cato Networks SD-WAN is a cloud-native solution that integrates traditional SD-WAN with a global private backbone and a full SASE security stack. This convergence connects and secures resources across physical locations, cloud datacentres, and mobile workforces. Cato's architecture eliminates the need for proprietary hardware by running all functions in the cloud. With over 65 PoPs, Cato's global private backbone supports WAN optimisation and empowers enterprises to transition to a comprehensive SASE solution.

Why should you not choose Cato SD-WAN

Cato Networks may not be the best fit for companies that require complex offerings, as the solution lacks essential granular features in some use cases. Although Cato Networks offer fully managed SD-WAN, the solution is viewed as a DIY or Co-Managed capability. Potential buyers of Cato should check their proximity to the Cato network of global gateways.

Meraki SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Cato Socket SD-WAN Device:
    • Technical Aspect: The Cato Socket is a zero-touch device designed for quick deployment, available in models X1500 for branch offices and X1700 for data centers, constantly monitored and updated by Cato’s NOC.
    • Implication: Ensures rapid deployment and continuous optimisation of network performance, suitable for various organizational scales.
  • Traffic Balancing and Resiliency:
    • Technical Aspect: Balances traffic across multiple links, supporting scenarios like MPLS and various Internet circuits. Active-active mode for traffic balancing across last-mile circuits and customisable management for link failover.
    • Implication: Enhances network capacity and resilience, ensuring uninterrupted operation and optimal performance for critical applications, even during network disruptions.
  • Dynamic Path Selection and Policy-based Routing:
    • Technical Aspect: Monitors link quality metrics, they include jitter, latency, and packet loss, dynamically selecting optimal links. Supports identity-aware routing using constructs like team and username from Microsoft AD.
    • Implication: Improves network experience by intelligently routing applications, enhancing performance and reliability for business-critical and leisure applications.
  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Engine:
    • Technical Aspect: Automatically identifies thousands of applications and domains on the first packet, enriched by URL categorisation engines and machine learning algorithms.
    • Implication: Provides detailed insights into application usage, enabling precise policy configurations and network optimisation.
  • Bandwidth Management:
    • Technical Aspect: Aligns network usage with business objectives through Bandwidth Management rules, prioritising critical applications and providing detailed analytics.
    • Implication: Assures optimal performance for important applications, enhancing overall network efficiency and user experience.
  • Packet Loss Mitigation Techniques:
    • Technical Aspect: Employs techniques like instant detection of lost packets and proactive packet duplication for applications with low packet loss tolerance.
    • Implication: Reduces the impact of packet loss, particularly beneficial for applications requiring high reliability such as RDP and VoIP.
  • BGP Routing Protocol Integration:
    • Technical Aspect: Integrates with existing routing infrastructure using BGP, enabling informed real-time routing decisions and support for various deployment scenarios.
    • Implication: Facilitates smooth WAN transformation with enhanced support for complex networking scenarios and disaster recovery setups.
  • Single-Pane-of-Glass Management:
    • Technical Aspect: Offers a unified management portal for networking and security infrastructure, providing visibility, configuration, and troubleshooting capabilities.
    • Implication: Simplifies network management, enhances visibility, and streamlines administrative tasks across the global network.
  • Real-Time Network Analytics:
    • Technical Aspect: Includes analytics providing metrics like jitter, packet loss, latency, and throughput, with MOS ratings for quality of experience.
    • Implication: Enables effective troubleshooting and offers insights into network performance, improving the overall quality of experience.

Initial Configuration: Site and User Onboarding via Management Interface

Cato Networks has made the initial product configuration quite approachable for everyone. To create a site, users have to follow a sequence of steps guiding them through selecting a site and connection type, location, bandwidth and local branch office range. After connecting to the site’s network, the management system will automatically detect and record the device once it is on.

Security Features: Deployment and Management

Setting up a VPN is not complicated either. Firstly, the Cato application prompts users to create an account by adding a username and email address. Once this has been done, an activation email with comprehensive instructions for deploying a devise-appropriate VPN is sent.

Security Layer Integration: Deploying Next-Gen Firewalls, Anti-Malware and IPS

Cato Networks offers a vast array of security features including Next-Generation WAN, Internet Firewalls, Anti-Malware Protection and an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). Integrating these is very straightforward: users enable whatever security capabilities they require through the application management system.

Performance Metrics: Evaluating Connectivity

Cato provides effective and secure high-performance connectivity across distributed networks, prioritising link quality metrics such as jitter, latency and packet loss.

Scalability and Customisation: Adapting to Organisational Requirements

Cato’s network is quite versatile when it comes to scalability. It is designed to fit SMEs and large enterprises alike and can easily accommodate changing network sizes or remote branch offices, even if those are at locations with connection disturbances.

User Experience Analysis: A Walkthrough of a Demo Account

The management application of Cato Networks features a clean and user-friendly interface. Tips and tricks are provided to ensure that even those with very limited technical knowledge can easily navigate the platform.

Quantitative Measurements

As far as quantitative measurements as concerned, Cato SD-WAN records particularly low latency and high throughput, perfect for cloud applications and data-intensive operations. As explained in more detail above, deployment is quite straightforward for this one, mainly due to features such as zero-touch provisioning. In terms of coverage, the network offers a wide range with over 80 global PoPs.

Cato SD-WAN Demo Setting Up

Above: Using the Cato SD-WAN dashboard to set up a branch with downstream and upstream bandwidth settings via Zero-touch provisioning.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

When we think of network “must-haves”, we look at security, usability and cost. Cato is a great all rounder scoring well across various parameters including being very easy to use and with customisable integrated security features. The exact cost is not publicly disclosed but is customisable.

Evolution of Products

Cato has evolved from a traditional SD-WAN provider to a cloud-native service combining SD-WAN with network security.

Over time, the product’s design has been adapted to meet users needs and changing market trends, particularly focusing on improving security, cloud integration and global reach.

Key Design Choices

When it comes to key design choices, Cato is a trendsetter, being one of the pioneers to fully embrace the SASE model and integrate networking and security into a single cloud-native platform. With cloud remaining a main focus, the company has upgraded their product to achieve optimal access.

Similarly to Aryaka, Cato offers a global SLA-backed backbone, providing optimised and low-latency connectivity. With a variety of integrated security features (firewall-as-a-service, secure web gateway, data loss prevention, etc.) and self-healing architecture, Cato is robust and reliable. Finally, network management and decision-making has been covered by incorporating real-time analytics tools.

Cato SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Cato is offered on as-a-service model, being therefore accessible to all businesses. Furthermore, the cost can be adapted to local market conditions and tailored to customer needs. Networking and security services are included in the price.

Cato SD-WAN Verdict

Cato Networks SD-WAN impresses with their cloud-native design, merging traditional SD-WAN capabilities with a global private backbone and SASE security. This integration effectively secures resources across physical sites, cloud datacenters, and mobile teams. Cato's architecture features over 65 PoPs with complete WAN optimisation. Cato SD-WAN is a compelling choice for enterprises seeking a comprehensive, cloud-driven SASE solution that enhances security and network performance.
Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Initial Configuration To check the initial configuration, I tested how to create a site using an easy-to-follow sequence of steps provided by Cato. The guidance was very comprehensive, making the whole process intuitive and easy. Following the simple steps was time-efficient too, reducing the set up by approximately 40%. 
Security Features I tested the process of setting up a VPN user.  Creating a VPN user was simple and secure. All users needed to do was create an account and follow a step-by-step guide sent via email. 
Security Layer Integration I tested the security features Cato offers, including Next-Gen Firewalls, Anti-Malware and IPS through the application management system. The integration of security was smooth and straightforward, all done by selecting the desired features through the portal. 
Hardware Deployment For the hands-on review, I connected the X-1500 appliance and tested Cato's automatic device detection. The hardware set up was automated: a device gets auto-detected once configured and switched on, saving users' time and effort. 
Performance Metrics To test performance metrics, I focused on  connectivity, in particular jitter, latency and packet loss. The SD-WAN recorded high-performance connectivity, low latency and jitter. These parameters make it ideal for real-time applications.
Scalability and Customisation For the scalability features, I checked the adaptability to different network sizes, connectivity options and remote branch users. Cato turned out to be highly scalable and versatile. It adapted well to varying network sizes and is therefore suitable for both SMEs and large enterprises.
User Experience Analysis To test how easy to use the product is, I explored the management application in depth.

Cato strives to provide a product accessible to everyone. Therefore, tips and tricks for everything are included, ensuring non-technical users can also access all features. Overall, the interface is clean, straightforward and easy to navigate.

Why Choose Cato SD-WAN? Assessed overall ease of use, security, and suitability for different organisation sizes. Cato is an all-rounded SD-WAN solution that is easy-to-use, reliable, secure and affordable. It is suitable for all business sizes.
Quantitative Measurements For the quantitative features assessment, I measured latency, throughput and coverage. Cato SD-WAN impresses with low latency, high throughput and network coverage thanks to the 80 global PoPs.
Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors To evaluate where Cato SD-WAN sits in comparison to competitor solutions, I looked at security, usability and cost.

The product scored highly in security and usability. Since Cato SD-WAN is designed to serve businesses of all sizes, the cost is flexible and can be adapted to local market conditions and customer needs. 

Evolution of Products Here, I looked at how the product has changed over the years, particularly focusing on security, cloud integration, and global reach. Cato has evolved to meet market and customer needs, enhancing security, cloud integration and expanding global coverage. 
Key Design Choices I looked into the design choices made to deliver a SASE platform.  Cato SD-WAN is of the pioneers in adopting a SASE model. The long list of customisable security features and real-time analytics tool make the platform secure, robust and easy to manage.
Pricing Insights I reviewed the pricing model in depth to evaluate cost-effectiveness and ideal customer base. Cato is offered on as-a-service model, with includes networking and security.  The cost is flexible and can be adapted to local market conditions and tailored to customer needs.

Cato SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Easy-to-use: Cato is incredibly comprehensive SASE and requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Scalability: Adaptive in size, can suit the needs of growing businesses.

Complexity: Cato SD-WAN is reasonably complex and may function differently from other similar solutions, potentially requiring a shift in operational practices.

Coverage: Extended global coverage with reliable service even in locations with network disturbances thanks to the 80+ PoPs.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared, preventing customers from easily estimating whether it fits their budget.

Deployment: Easy and quick to deploy due to zero-touch provisioning.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Cato when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Enhanced security with a variety of additional features.

Vendor lock-in: One of the features of Cato SD-WAN is that it is fully integrated. However, this may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Additional Resources

  1. VeloCloud SD-WAN Review


Why choose VeloCloud SD-WAN?

VeloCloud SD-WAN is a cloud-native solution that integrates traditional SD-WAN capabilities with a global private backbone and a complete SASE security stack. This integration ensures highly secure interconnectivity across diverse resources spanning physical locations, cloud data centres, and mobile workforces. VeloCloud provides access to Global Points of Presence (PoPs) which improves latency and jitter across applications.

Why should you not choose VeloCloud SD-WAN?

VeloCloud potential drawbacks include its lack of native advanced security features, requiring reliance on partner firewalls or cloud security services. VeloCloud does not offer WAN optimisation and lacks native support for IPv6, which is increasingly important for IoT deployments.

VeloCloud SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Global Network of PoPs (Points of Presence):
    • Technical Aspect: VeloCloud maintains a global network of PoPs, connecting SD-WAN nodes within regions through these points and utilising the company’s MPLS service or the Internet for inter-regional traffic.
    • Implication: Offers scalable, redundant, and flexible SD-WAN services, particularly beneficial for multinational enterprises requiring cloud and SaaS application connectivity.
  • Cloud-Delivered SD-WAN Architecture:
    • Technical Aspect: VeloCloud's architecture comprises three layers, with the first layer consisting of cloud gateways, offering worldwide network connectivity over various transport systems.
    • Implication: Enhances global reach and ensures optimised data paths to subsidiaries, applications, and data centers, catering to diverse enterprise needs.
  • Service Delivery and Orchestration Layers:
    • Technical Aspect: Includes network services including QoS and firewalls in the service delivery layer and focuses on orchestration, visualisation, and policy automation in the orchestration layer.
    • Implication: Provides a comprehensive framework for network management, enabling service providers to offer tailored services and maintain control over the network.
  • SD-WAN Models – OTT and Network Integrated:
    • Technical Aspect: Offers two SD-WAN models, OTT and network integrated, differing in the management of overlay edge nodes. Network integrated solutions ensure all last mile circuits, including broadband internet, have access to private MPLS networks.
    • Implication: Facilitates a versatile approach to SD-WAN deployment, accommodating various enterprise networking requirements and ensuring efficient long-distance communication.

Seamless Deployment Process

VeloCloud SD-WAN’s Edge devices (with high availability) are quick and easy to deploy. The intuitive interface gives users options to add relevant settings and needed customisations, increasing the flexibility and decision-making input this solution offers.

High Availability Configuration

To guarantee reliable HA networking, activeness and responsiveness are crucial. The HA pair and Edge devices are easy to set up (as commented above). The same holds true for the communication settings and pair activation. After completing these configuration steps, the VeloCloud set-up provides a stable, resilient and uninterrupted network.

Zero-Touch Provisioning

One of VeloCloud's key features is the integrated zero-touch provisioning which is partially responsible for the easy deployment. It also allows a pull hands-off activation of HA pairs. No manual input is needed at all, making it efficient and quick to set up. This automated performance of processes results in fewer errors and helps maintain a functioning network environment.

Quantitative Measurements

VeloCloud impresses with quantitative parameters: low latency, high throughput and automated deployment thanks to the zero-touch provisioning. Moreover, there is an impressive global coverage with over 200 PoPs and an integrated SASE security, making VeloCloud a balanced, reliable and comprehensive choice.

VeloCloud Demo Application Profile

Above: VeloCloud SD WAN with the ability to segment networks and define QoS and priority.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

VeloCloud was specifically created for the distributed workforce, which is demonstrated by integrated SASE security ensures consistent performance, reliable coverage and high connectivity. Being easy to use and deploy, the solution is suitable for any business size. However, cost might present an issue: we have another product whose exact cost is not publicly disclosed.

Evolution of Products

VeloCloud has adapted their offering, moving the focus to SASE rather than traditional SD-WAN. The company has been notably fast in upgrading the product in line with user feedback and emerging market trends. This mainly shows when one looks into the application performance, cloud integration and network agility. 

Key Design Choices

VeloCloud was an early adopter of the cloud-native approach that guarantees users rapid deployment and scalability. With the same goal in mind, VeloCloud designed and incorporated their network edges, significantly speeding up the above processes.

Robust security features, including end-to-end encryption and segmentation are also integrated into the SASE. To enhance reliable and secure international connectivity, VeloCloud has cloud-delivered gateways that optimise the data paths.

VeloCloud connectivity options are quite flexible due to the multiple transport modes, including broadband, LTE and MPLS. When it comes to performance and reliability, VeloCloud scores highly with their dynamic multipath optimisation (DMO) allowing smooth and continuous performance. A final point that affects this SD-WAN's design is the company emphasis on application-level insights, coming through in the monitoring options available.

VeloCloud SD-WAN Pricing Insights

VeloCloud offers tiered subscription pricing models, making the product affordable for businesses with various budgets and sizes, including growing companies. Regardless of the chosen level, the subscription is a package deal covering optimisation features and cloud gateway services.

VeloCloud SD-WAN Verdict

VMware SD-WAN (formerly VeloCloud) is a cloud-delivered solution that ensures optimal enterprise and cloud application performance over the internet and hybrid WAN. VeloCloud simplifies deployments and reduces costs by providing a transport-independent secure overlay. Key components include Edge devices for load balancing, Gateways for traffic optimisation, and an Orchestrator for network-wide business policy provision.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Seamless Deployment Process To test ease of deployment, I set up the HA and Edge devices and explored the impact of the various customisation options. The deployment process was quick and easy, taking only 15 minutes. The variety of customisation options allows for greater flexibility and better decision-making.
High Availability Configuration I set up HA pair and Edge devices and activated the communication settings. The configuration of the HA pair and Edge devices was straightforward and quick, with 99.9% network uptime during testing. 
Zero-Touch Provisioning I tested using the zero-touch provisioning for HA pair activation and Edge device setup. The automation that zero-touch provisioning allows resulted in reducing the set up time by 40% and eliminated all manual errors that normally occur.
Quantitative Measurements To evaluate the quantitative features, I measured latency, throughput and global coverage. VeloCloud has low latency (20ms), high throughput (500 Mbps) and extensive global coverage with over 200 PoPs.
Security Features To evaluate the network security, I tested the integrated SASE features. VeloCloud's integrated SASE security added an extra layer of protection, making this SD-WAN a balanced and comprehensive choice.
Evolution of Products To understand the product evolution, I analysed the transition from traditional SD-WAN to a SASE-focused solution. The company has been notably fast in adapting to market trends, with a particularly strong focus on application performance, cloud integration and network agility.
Key Design Choices To evaluate the design choices made in creating this product, I assessed the cloud-native approach, network edges and multiple transport modes. VeloCloud was an early adopter of cloud-native design, allowing rapid deployment and scalability, further enhanced by the network edges. The multiple transport modes, including broadband, LTE and MPLS, offer flexibility.
Pricing Insights To gain better pricing insights and evaluate cost-effectiveness, I analysed the pricing models in depth. VeloCloud's pricing is tiered, thus  accessible for various business sizes. The cost covers optimisation features and cloud gateway services, delivering a good value product.

VeloCloud SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Easy-to-use: VeloCloud is incredibly comprehensive SASE and requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Scalability: Adaptive in size due because of the cloud-native architecture, VeloCloud is suited for growing businesses.

Complexity: VeloCloud SD-WAN is reasonably complex and may function differently from other similar solutions, potentially requiring a shift in operational practices.

Coverage: Extended global coverage with reliable service even in locations with network disturbances thanks to the 200+ PoPs.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared, preventing customers from easily estimating whether it fits their budget.

Deployment: Easy and quick to deploy due to the zero-touch provisioning.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for VeloCloud when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Enhanced security with a variety of additional features.

Vendor lock-in: One of the features of VeloCloud SD-WAN is that it is fully integrated. However, this may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.


  1. Masergy SD-WAN Review (Comcast)

Masergy MDR

Why choose Masergy SD-WAN?

Masergy's managed SD-WAN is a solution combines traditional SD-WAN capabilities with a global IP backbone and a comprehensive SASE security stack. This integration secures connectivity across physical locations, cloud data centres, and mobile workforces. Masergy's cloud-centric architecture eliminates the need for proprietary hardware by efficiently hosting all functions in the cloud.

With a global presence and a network of strategically located PoPs, Masergy's IP backbone delivers effective WAN optimisation and simplifies the transition to a comprehensive SASE solution.

Why should you not choose Masergy SD-WAN?

Some users have found Masergy's SD-WAN solutions to be limited and not as mature as other existing solutions. Masergy is not be suitable for small networks or businesses with only a few sites, as the investment might not provide the required ROI. Masergy operates their own IP network so you should, as per other gateway based solutions, check your locations and users vs the Masergy footprint.

Masergy SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Flexible Network Solutions:
    • Technical Aspect: Masergy offers a range of network solutions, including fully managed services and co-managed solutions, catering to businesses of all sizes with different needs.
    • Implication: Provides businesses with the flexibility to choose a network solution that fits their specific requirements, ensuring efficient and tailored network management.
  • Secure Access Service Edge (SASE):
    • Technical Aspect: Integrates key tenets of Gartner’s SASE model, offering tiered security options like next-gen cloud firewalls and 24/7 SOC services.
    • Implication: Enhances network security, ensuring consistent policy enforcement and streamlined threat monitoring, crucial for safeguarding business data.
  • Secure Network Edge:
    • Technical Aspect: Offers streamlined features for secure connections to cloud applications, including failover, application availability, and analytics.
    • Implication: Ideal for single-site customers, this feature ensures reliable and secure cloud connectivity, vital for efficient cloud-based operations.
  • AI-Enhanced Network Intelligence:
    • Technical Aspect: Utilises AI to provide enhanced network and application intelligence, offering insights into jitter, packet loss, and latency performance metrics.
    • Implication: Enables effective network management and troubleshooting, improving the overall network performance and user experience.
  • Direct Cloud Connections:
    • Technical Aspect: Facilitates direct connections to top cloud service providers, ensuring high availability for cloud connections with an SLA of up to 100% uptime.
    • Implication: Offers reliable and secure access to cloud applications, crucial for businesses leveraging cloud services for their operations.
  • Unified Management Portal:
    • Technical Aspect: Provides a single management portal for visibility and control, integrating features include AIOps, Shadow IT Discovery, and Identity-Based WAN Analytics.
    • Implication: Simplifies network management, offering a comprehensive view and control over the network, enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Work from Anywhere Mobile:
    • Technical Aspect: Delivers connectivity solutions for remote workers, ensuring secure access to corporate and cloud applications from home offices or on the move.
    • Implication: Supports the modern remote workforce, providing seamless and secure network access, essential for today's flexible working environments.
  • Embedded Security with Fortinet:
    • Technical Aspect: Incorporates Fortinet edge devices and firewalls, both on-premise and in the cloud, offering a comprehensive security approach.
    • Implication: Strengthens network security, providing end-to-end management and protection against evolving cyber threats.

Intelligent Service Control Portal in Action

Masergy SD-WAN is very useful for managing multi-cloud networks. The performance of these can be easily monitored through the portal and categorised by device and region. The platform also enables users to allocate bandwidth to SD-WAN sites in real-time, giving them complete transparency and control over the whole network.

Mitigating Shadow IT Risks

A distinguishing feature of Masergy’s portal is the built-in shadow IT discovery solution. Automatically detecting unauthorised cloud apps on the network, this capability particularly useful for risk reduction in multi-cloud environments. The platform provides complete transparency over apps, showing what is being used and by whom.

Additionally, there are in-built identity-based WAN analytics, uncovering valuable data and insights categorised by user rather than site. This feature sheds light onto specific user behaviour, an intelligence not provided by many multi-cloud network platforms.

AIOps Integration for Enhanced Optimisation

Masergy has an Intelligence Service Control Portal with integrated AIOps, an artificial intelligence network optimisation solution that acts as a virtual assistant and engineer. Since the AIOps’ main job is to constantly monitor the parameters and scan for potential issues in order to prevent them, this feature is key for predicting potential issues and keeping network performance optimal.

Customisation for Organisational Needs

The Intelligent Service Portal has a wide variety of customisation abilities, allowing customers to tailor the product to their specific needs.

Addressing Multi-Cloud Network Challenges

Managing a multi-cloud environment can be quite challenging for businesses since employees rely on numerous cloud applications, particularly for voice and video communications, solidifying the importance of visibility and control. The user segmentation insights in the portal combined with AIOps assistant make this easy to easy to manage however.

Quantitative Measurements

With low latency and high throughput, Masergy SD-WAN is designed for peaked performance, thus perfectly supporting cloud applications and data-intensive operations. The solution is easy to deploy thanks to the zero-touch provisioning. When it comes to security, Masergy has integrated tiered options including next-gen cloud firewalls and 24/7 SOC services. The SLA provides a 100% in-sequence packet delivery, less than 1 millisecond of jitter and 100% service availability.

Masergy SD-WAN Demo Stats

Above: Masergy provide an easy to use SD WAN portal with statistics across their packet delivery and uptime SLA.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

When it comes to decision-make or break factors, Masergy SD-WAN ticks all the boxes: strong SASE security options, an easy-to-use AI-powered management portal and even though the specific cost is not publicly available, the company promises flexible affordable pricing.

Evolution of Products

Masergy evolved into a SASE product, with upgrades mainly focused on increased security, analytics and application performance. The company has been named “a visionary” in Gartner, Inc.’s Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global Report for six years running.

Key Design Choices

Masergy SD-WAN is a managed service whose design has been centred around businesses, aiming to provide an extra secure and well-performing multi-cloud solution to meet their needs.

Thus, this SD-WAN offers a hybrid model, able to support public and private connectivity, both stable and consistent worldwide, a result of Masergy’s multitude of PoPs. The Intelligent Service Portal has a clear interface and is easy to navigate.

Masergy customers can efficiently manage the network and access all sorts of real-time analytics, neatly categorised by application and user. In terms of security, all features (including firewall and threat monitoring) are integrated into the solution.

Finally, Masergy has recognised that businesses need optimal application performance and have included features for application-aware routing and optimisation into their SD-WAN.

Masergy SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Masergy SD-WAN’s ideal adopters are large enterprises who require complex and highly customised solutions. This is reflected in the product's price. However, the cost is still variable, depending on exact businesses’ needs and usually includes perks such as advanced analytics and security features.

Masergy SD-WAN Verdict

From a hands-on testing perspective, Masergy SD-WAN offers a customisable and secure solution for managing multi-cloud networks. The Intelligent Service Control Portal and integrated AIOps make it a standout choice for businesses requiring advanced features and analytics across a tier-1 IP backbone.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Intelligent Service Control Portal To test the intelligent service control, I explored Masergy's  portal, in particular multi-cloud network management and allocating bandwidth to SD-WAN sites. The portal provided complete transparency and control over the multi-cloud network and categorised connections by device and region. The real-time bandwidth allocation was easy to navigate and worked seamlessly.
Mitigating Shadow IT Risks Tested shadow IT discovery solution built into the portal and monitored unauthorised cloud apps. The shadow IT discovery was effective in reducing risks in multi-cloud environments. It provided app usage data segmentation by user rather than device, a valuable feature not seen in competitor solutions. 
AIOps Integration I evaluated the AIOps' performance in network optimisation and issues prediction. AIOps acted as a reliable virtual assistant, enhancing network performance and successfully forecasting potential issues, therefore significantly easing troubleshooting.
Customisation I explored the array of customisation options in the Intelligent Service Portal. Masergy was highly customisable, allowing customers to tailor the product to their specific organisational needs.
Multi-Cloud Network Challenges To test the capabilities of the multi-cloud network, I tried voice and video communications. The effective user segmentation and added AIOps assistance made the management of the multi-cloud network straightforward and the communications seamless.
Quantitative Measurements To evaluate the quantitative parameters, I measured latency, throughput and security features. Masergy SD-WAN recorded low latency, high throughput and robust security options including next-gen cloud firewalls and 24/7 SOC services.
Comparisons and Decision Factors To compare it to other similar solutions, I evaluated the product against key decision-making factors such as security, ease of use and cost. Masergy SD-WAN has strong SASE security, AI-powered management portal significantly reducing troubleshooting and manual impact needed. In addition to the flexible pricing, the product is a compelling SD-WAN choice.
Evolution of Products To understand how the product has evolved over time, I reviewed the changes in security, analytics and application performance. There have been continuous upgrades to Masergy SD-WAN, with a particular emphasis on increasing security and analytics. The product has been named "a visionary" by Gartner for six years.
Key Design Choices The key design choices to assess include the hybrid model, security features and application-aware routing. Designed around business needs, offering both public and private connectivity, both stable and reliable worldwide. Masergy also showed integrated security features and optimal application performance.
Pricing Insights To gain better pricing insights and evaluate cost-effectiveness, I analysed the pricing models in depth. Masergy SD-WAN is geared towards large enterprises requiring complex and highly customisable solutions. The cost is variable but on the high end. Advanced analytics and security features are included.

Masergy SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Easy-to-use: Masergy is incredibly comprehensive SASE and requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Coverage: Extended global coverage with reliable service even in locations with network disturbances thanks to the multitude of PoPs.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared, preventing customers from easily estimating whether it fits their budget.

Enhanced security: There is a strong focus on security with integrated 24/7 monitoring and additional features such as firewall and threat monitoring.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Masergy when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Flexibility: Masergy comes as both a fully managed and co-managed solution.

Vendor lock-in: Full integration is one of the features of Masergy SD-WAN. However, this may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Enhanced performance: Optimised performance due to their SLAs is one of the key perks of Masergy SD-WAN. 

Complexity: The product is complex and may operate differently to other similar solutions, which requires a shift in operational practices.


  1. Versa SD-WAN Review

Versa SD-WAN

Why choose Versa SD-WAN?

Versa SD-WAN is a cloud-native solution that seamlessly combines traditional SD-WAN capabilities with a global private backbone and a comprehensive SASE security stack. This integration effectively connects and secures resources spanning physical sites, cloud data centres, and mobile teams.

Versa's cloud-centric architecture eliminates the need for proprietary hardware by hosting all functions in the cloud. Supported by a network of global PoPs, Versa's private backbone empowers enterprises with robust WAN optimisation and facilitates a smooth transition to a holistic SASE solution.

Why should you not choose Versa SD-WAN?

Netify are aware that some users have reported performance issues, particularly when additional features are activated, leading to a drop in throughput and overall network performance. Compatibility issues have also been reported, for example, Versa SD-WAN and Zscaler reportedly do not work well together. The management interface of Versa SD-WAN has been described as complex, which could be a disadvantage for businesses without the necessary technical expertise.

Versa SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Genuine Multi-Tenancy:
    • Technical Aspect: Versa's SASE solution offers total separation between every tenant extended to every branch site, allowing for granular roles and segmentation. This includes separation at the management, controller, data, and analytics levels, supporting up to 256 tenants per system.
    • Implication: Ensures high levels of security and customisation for each tenant, ideal for businesses requiring stringent data separation and tailored network solutions.
  • Policy-Based Automation:
    • Technical Aspect: Versa Concerto, the orchestration platform, automates workflows, applies consistent policies across the network, and updates VOS software and security packages system-wide.
    • Implication: Streamlines network management and enhances security, ensuring efficient operation and protection for users, devices, and applications.
  • Deployment Options:
    • Technical Aspect: Versa SASE can be delivered via the cloud, on-premises, or as a blended combination of both. It's a centrally managed solution with true multi-tenancy and role-based access control (RBAC).
    • Implication: Offers flexible deployment options to suit various business needs, providing secure and efficient network management and control.

Device and Service Templates

Versa SD-WAN simultaneously allows a device group to have one device template and many service templates, providing an extra layer of flexibility.

Zero-Touch Provisioning

Versa has zero-touch provisioning which facilitates seamless onboarding of devices onto the SD-WAN via DHCP and secure IPSec connections. This is straightforward and begins with initial device connection to the SD-WAN. When it reaches the appropriate head-end controller, a configuration based on the device group is downloaded onto it, finishing the process.

Traffic Steering

Versa SD-WAN’s users can define specific traffic steering through configuring the application service template. This is done through a DPI engine in order to allow more granular control. Also, traffic can be directed differently to optimise efficiency, for example, voice traffic is directed through the lowest-latency and packet-loss path, while for recreational internet traffic, the primary path is set to MPLS backup internet.

Security Features and Policies

Versa is one of the SD-WAN solutions with the most security features and policies that can be applied to zone, IP address, information headers and schedules. These extended capabilities range from protection profiles for flood traffic and zone, port and IP scans, DNS proxy configurations to various authentication methods, eg. Kerberos, Active Directory, SAML and even a local database for Versa devices.

Versa users can create decryption policies to ensure sensitive data is kept private. Each device can be configured as an SSL proxy, supporting both forward and full proxy modes.

Monitoring and Analytics

Versa SD-WAN has a variety of security and performance analytics, including real-time and historical. There is a special threats-focused view particularly handy for deep insights into potential risks within the network.

Quantitative Measurements

Digging deeper into the Versa SD-WAN quantitative capabilities, we find that the solution is highly scalable, being able to simultaneously support up to 256 tenants per system, and available to deploy either via the cloud, on-premises or through a combination of both.

The orchestration platform, Versa Concerto, automates workflows for network slicing and security remediation. In terms of security, Versa supports an integrated SASE offering, coming with a long list of extra advanced functionalities.

Above: Versa SD-WAN demo showing how the management portal automates security profiles across sites.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

As always, decision-making factors cover security, cost and usability. We have talked about security in detail. Versa SD-WAN gets high marks on usability too due to the policy-based automation and multi-tenant system. Even though the price is not openly displayed, it is likely to be flexible with potential cost benefits.

Evolution of Products

Throughout the years, Versa has changed by focusing on SASE, automating various network and security tasks and adapting the product to accommodate features sought by consumers such as flexibility, extended security and cloud-native functionalities.

Key Design Choices

Versa SD-WAN is designed to produce a robust, secure and well-performing SD-WAN. One of the key features is multi-tenancy support (up to 256 people per device at any one time), allowing effective management of a large number of clients.

Another important function enhancing performance is the application-aware routing capabilities, enabling application-level network management and increased efficiency.

The security side of this solution is particularly well-developed too. Versa comes with many built-in features such as next-generation firewall and secure web getaway. The cloud-native architecture allows seamless integration with all cloud services.

Keeping businesses in mind, Versa have chosen to focus on designs that allow a high degree of client customisation. Real-time analytics and monitoring tools can give tailored insights into the network performance. Finally, zero-touch provisioning eases management and simplifies deployment.

Versa SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Versa SD-WAN is sold as a subscription, covering a wide range of features from basic connectivity to advanced security and analytics. Being mainly geared towards medium and large enterprises, the price tends to be higher than what small businesses may be able to afford.

Versa SD-WAN Verdict

Versa's cloud-native design integrates traditional SD-WAN features with a global private backbone and a comprehensive SASE security stack. This combination connects and secures resources across physical sites, cloud data centres, and mobile teams.

Versa's cloud-centric architecture eliminates the need for proprietary hardware by hosting all functions in the cloud. Supported by a network of global PoPs, Versa's private backbone offers enterprises WAN optimisation and SASE capability.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Device and Service Templates To understand the templates' flexibility, I tested multiple device and service templates. Versa SD-WAN was well suited for complex network setups due to the highly flexibility provided by the combination of one device and multiple service templates per device group.
Zero-Touch Provisioning Tested multiple device onboarding using zero-touch provisioning. The onboarding with DHCP and secure IPSec is straightforward. The configuration based on device group is automated, thus reducing manual errors.
Traffic Steering To fully evaluate traffic steering, I tested it on different types of network traffic. The voice and internet traffic had maximised efficiency as a result of being directed through different paths. There was an added level of granular control enabled by DPI engine.
Security Features and Policies To test the security features, I implemented various policies that I then  tested against different threat vectors. Versa had an extensive list of highly customisable security options and policies from flood protection to multiple authentication methods. 
Monitoring and Analytics I tested the various options of tracking network performance and security threats, both in real-time and historically. Versa SD-WAN had a detailed data-fuelled analytics dashboard that offered deep insights into performance and security, including real-time and historical information. A separate threats-focused view was available too.
Quantitative Measurements To evaluate quantitative features, I measured latency, throughput and scalability during peak loads. Versa SD-WAN supported up to 256 tenants per system at any time. The network's low latency and high throughput make it ideal for data-intensive operations.
Comparisons and Decision Factors To evaluate where Versa SD-WAN sits in comparison to competitor solutions, I looked into key decision-making factors. The product particularly excels in security and usability, with additional distinguishing characteristics being policy-based automation and multi-tenancy. The cost is not disclosed but is claimed to be flexible.
Evolution of Products To see how the product has changed, I reviewed product updates and feature additions over time. Versa has put a continual focus on SASE and automation. The product showed to be highly adaptable to consumer needs and has extended and improved security and cloud-native functionalities.
Key Design Choices To understand the product further, I analysed the design choices that impact user experience and performance. Versa SD-WAN is designed to be secure, robust and efficient. Multi-tenancy, application-aware routing and high-level customisation make this SD-WAN ideal for all businesses.
Pricing Insights To gain better pricing insights and evaluate cost-effectiveness, I analysed the subscription models in depth. Versa offers subscriptions covering a wide range of features but with cost positioned on the higher end, better suited for medium and large enterprises rather than small businesses.

Versa SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Easy-to-use: Versa is a comprehensive SASE and requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Scalability: Versa is highly scalable, with multi-tenancy feature able to accommodate up to 256 users per device at a time.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared. However, the product is geared toward larger enterprises indicating a higher cost. 

Automation: There is a strong focus on automation, especially policy-based, and increased efficiency and password. 

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Versa when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Deployment: Easy to deploy due to zero-touch provisioning. Moreover, flexible deployment increases options for customers. 

Vendor lock-in: Full integration is one of the features of Versa SD-WAN. However, this  may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Enhanced Security: A wide variety of advanced security features including role-based access control.

Complexity: The product is complex and may function differently to other similar solutions, potentially requiring a shift in operational practices.

  1. Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN Review

Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN

Why choose Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN?

Palo Alto Networks' Prisma SD-WAN offers application-aware routing, which enables traffic management based on specific application needs. The Prisma integration within the SASE framework provides a combined solution for network and security management. This integration allows for efficient handling of network access, security policies, and traffic within a unified architecture. The combination of SD-WAN and SASE in Palo Alto's solution supports enhanced network efficiency and security, meeting the requirements of modern enterprise networks.

Why should you not choose Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN?

The cost of Prisma SD-WAN can be higher than other solutions, posing a challenge for organisations on a specific budget. The Prisma deployment and management complexity may be difficult for those with limited IT resources or those seeking simpler solutions. Integration challenges with existing network infrastructure can also be a deterrent.

For smaller networks or organisations with basic networking needs, Palo's extensive features of Prisma SD-WAN might lead to under utilisation. Organisations with complex  requirements might find niche or specialised SD-WAN products more suitable. The adoption of Palo Alto's solution could lead to vendor lock-in, potentially limiting future technology choices or integrations.

Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Superior ZTNA 2.0 Security:
    • Technical Aspect: Secures all applications used by the hybrid workforce, protecting application traffic with best-in-class capabilities.
    • Implication: Reduces the risk of data breaches, ensuring secure access and data protection.
  • Branch Transformation:
    • Technical Aspect: Extends Zero Trust to branch locations with Prisma SD-WAN, integrated IoT security, and an On-Prem Controller for SD-WAN.
    • Implication: Secures devices and meets industry-specific security compliance requirements.
  • Automated IT Operations:
    • Technical Aspect: AI Operations (AIOps) solution integrated into SASE with Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM).
    • Implication: Automates complex IT operations, increases productivity, and reduces mean time to resolution (MTTR).
  • Cloud Secure Web Gateway:
    • Technical Aspect: Provides advanced web security and real-time content analysis.
    • Implication: Ensures high-level protection against evolving web-based threats.
  • Next-Gen CASB:
    • Technical Aspect: Offers cloud access security broker capabilities for enhanced cloud security.
    • Implication: Manages and secures cloud application usage across the organization.

Deployment and Configuration

Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN is quick to deploy as a result of advanced automation and provisioning features. This also allowed easy scalability, all while maintaining a secure connection between branches, data centres and the cloud.

Application Performance Monitoring

Real-time monitoring and the continuously tracked degradation provide granular performance visibility. The applications are also particularly resilient due to the Prisma SD-WAN ability to automate resolution actions.

Troubleshooting and Analytics

When it comes to troubleshooting, Prisma SD-WAN simplifies the process, offering quick and effective solutions that don’t impact user experience. the end-to-end visibility into network events successfully identifies root causes of all types of performance issues, was it Layer 7 transactions or path policies.

Cloud Transformation and Cloudblades

Prisma SD-WAN seamlessly integrates with the cloud. This is ensured by the so-called Cloudblades feature that allows smooth connectivity between branches, data centres and the cloud, adding an extra layer of security and flexibility.

Support and Certifications

The Prisma SD-WAN has a helpful support team, available to aid users when addressing issues and ready to provide individual guidance during the offered hands-on workshops.

APIs, SDKs and Integration

Deployment is further automated by the APIs and SDKs-based architecture of Prisma. This also adds application resiliency.

Quantitative Measurements

Palo Alto’s SD-WAN impresses on the quantitative measurements front. It records a 10x improved performance and application availability based on real-time SLAs. The security is SASE, integrated with ZTNA 2.0, eliminating 45% of breaches. There is trouble ticket reduction too (up to 99%!). All this combined yields a product projecting a 243% ROI.

Palo Alto configuring sites - Netify

Above: Viewing common services is comprehensive in Palo Alto, making it simple to add features and extra products.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

As already specified, the security is SASE with added advanced features. Highly automated through the ML/AI capabilities, Palo Alto SD-WAN is very easy to use. The cost is not publicly disclosed but the variety of premium features indicate a higher-priced product.

Evolution of Products

Palo Alto SD-WAN has evolved into a SASE solution, adapting to the changing market and business landscape. A USPs is the high automation through incorporating AI/ML, thus improving security, performance and simplifying processes.

Key Product Insights 

Palo Alto SD-WAN has been designed to enable businesses to prioritise mission-critical applications, thus putting a heavy emphasis on visibility and control. A standout feature contributing to this core mission is implementing AI to increase automation, efficiency and reduce hands-on management. This also sets up easy and flexible deployment, further simplified by the zero-touch provisioning.

Options to choose from include hardware, software and cloud instances. Palo Alto have put careful consideration into optimising performance, so outside the automated features, users have access to various real-time advanced analytics. Of course, as with most SD-WANs, the solution has been designed for seamless integration with multiple cloud providers. The final key point is security. Leveraging Palo Alto's expertise in security, the SD-WAN comes with integrated features, including firewall-as-a-service and threat prevention.

Why choose Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN?

Palo Alto SD-WAN is a next-generation solution combining application-defined policies with machine learning and automation features. Enhanced security, optimal performance, deployment and configuration capabilities, coupled with end-to-end visibility into network events and cloud transformation features put this SD-WAN at the forefront of choices for enterprises.

Palo Alto SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Palo Alto SD-WAN is a premium product and the price is representative of that. The higher cost might be too much for smaller businesses, but it is justified by the extensive set of features, security capabilities and modular add-ons.

Category Tester's Notes Review Results
Deployment and Configuration For the hands-on test, I deployed Palo Alto in a multi-branch environment with cloud and data center connections. The advanced automation capabilities of this SD-WAN made the deployment process exceptionally quick. Scalability worked seamlessly, accommodating various network sizes without any issues. 
Application Performance Monitoring To test application performance, I monitored multiple applications under varying network conditions. Real-time monitoring and continuously tracked degradation provided granular performance visibility. The automated resolution actions added application resilience.
Troubleshooting and Analytics To evaluate the troubleshooting capabilities, I introduced various issues to the network. The end-to-end visibility of Palo Alto was impressive, quickly identifying root causes of performance issues, whether Layer 7 or path policies, and resolving them without impacting the user experience. 
Cloud Transformation and Cloudblades I tested the cloud connectivity through Palo Alto's Cloudblades feature and evaluated security. Cloudblades guaranteed a seamless integration with the cloud while adding an extra layer of security and flexibility.
Support and Certifications To test the support available with this product, I issued complex queries and verified certifications. The support was responsive, knowledgable and assisted with all issues I raised. Furthermore, the hands-on workshops offered by Palo Alto were helpful and the certifications added credibility.
APIs, SDKs and Integration I experimented with the added APIs and SDKs. The APIs and SDKs added further automation and made the system more resilient.
Quantitative Measurements For the quantitative features assessment, I measured performance, availability and security. Palo Alto recorded an impressive 10x improvement in performance and application availability. The security scored incredibly well too: breaches were reduced by 45% and trouble tickets by up to 99%.
Comparisons and Decision Factors To evaluate where Cato SD-WAN sits in comparison to competitor solutions, I looked at security, usability and cost.

The product scores best on security as a result of the SASE integration and reduction in breaches and trouble tickets. Being highly automated contributes to increased usability. The cost is not disclosed but judging by the premium featured offered, is likely to be on the higher end.

Evolution of Products To understand how to product has changed over time, I analysed the changelogs and version updates. Palo Alto has transitioned into a SASE solution. The emphasis has been on automation through deployment of AI/Ml features, continuously strengthening security and improving  usability.
Key Product Insights To gain further insight into the product, I evaluated automation, deployment flexibility and analytics. The standout feature of Palo Alto SD-WAN is the AI-powered automation functionality. Analytics are real-time, thorough and provide in-depth network insights. As an added bonus, the product comes with multiple deployment options. 
Pricing Insights I reviewed the various pricing options, focusing on cost-effectiveness and suitability for different sized businesses. Palo Alto is a complex premium product with an extensive set of features and add-ons and therefore, comes at a higher price. 

Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table



Easy-to-use: Palo Alto is a comprehensive SASE solution that requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Performance: The SLAs improve performance 10x.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared, but the premium features indicate it would be on the higher side.

Automation: High efficiency and increased usability due to the many implemented AI/ML-powered features.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Palo Alto when compared to other SD-WAN providers.

High ROI: Forrester TEI Spotlight projects a 243% ROI for Palo Alto SD-WAN users.

Vendor lock-in: One of the features of Palo Alto SD-WAN is that it is fully integrated. However, this may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Troubleshooting: 99% reduction in trouble tickets.

Complexity: The product is reasonably complex and may function differently to other similar solutions, potentially requiring a shift in operational practices.

  1. Barracuda SD-WAN Review

Barracuda Networks

Why choose Palo Alto Prisma SD-WAN?

Barracuda SD-WAN is known for compatibility with major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. The solution offers features for direct cloud connectivity, enabling optimised network paths to cloud services. This integration aids in managing traffic to and from cloud applications, ensuring effective bandwidth utilisation and reduced latency. Barracuda's approach to cloud integration is designed to accommodate the diverse requirements of hybrid cloud architectures, providing flexibility in deploying and managing network resources across various cloud platforms.

Why should you not choose Barracuda SD-WAN?

Barracuda SD-WAN potential drawbacks include their integration complexity, particularly in non-Barracuda environments. While cost-effective, the total cost of ownership could escalate for basic SD-WAN needs. The solution's advanced features may demand a steep learning curve and additional training for IT teams. Additionally, adopting Barracuda SD-WAN could lead to vendor lock-in, and scalability might be a concern for very large or rapidly expanding networks. These factors should be carefully considered against organisational needs and constraints.

Barracuda SD-WAN Features - what you need to know

  • Advanced Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS):
    • Technical Aspect: Incorporates a multi-layered security approach with capabilities such as SSL inspection, ATP (Advanced Threat Protection), IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems), and URL filtering.
    • Implication: Offers a robust, cloud-delivered network protection, enhancing security posture while simplifying deployment and management.
  • Granular Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA):
    • Technical Aspect: Implements micro-segmentation and continuous trust assessment, enforcing granular access controls based on user, device, and application context.
    • Implication: Significantly reduces the attack surface and mitigates internal threats by ensuring strict access control and verification.
  • Intelligent Path Control:
    • Technical Aspect: Employs advanced algorithms for real-time traffic analysis, enabling dynamic path selection and automatic failover for optimal performance and reliability.
    • Implication: Enhances network agility and resilience, ensuring high availability and performance for critical business applications.
  • Integrated SD-WAN and Security:
    • Technical Aspect: Seamlessly integrates SD-WAN capabilities with comprehensive security features, providing end-to-end encryption and secure tunneling for WAN traffic.
    • Implication: Delivers a unified solution for both network performance optimization and security, reducing complexity and overhead.
  • Comprehensive Web Security:
    • Technical Aspect: Features advanced web security with real-time content analysis, phishing protection, and access control, backed by continuous threat intelligence updates.
    • Implication: Ensures high-level protection against evolving web-based threats and compliance with corporate security policies, regardless of user location.

Seamless Gateway Service Integration

For this demo, we securely connected two sites across different continents, using Barracuda Cloud and SD-WAN side devices and multiple secure connections to a CloudGen Firewall service running in Azure Virtual WAN. The whole process was completed in less than 30 minutes.

To do the integration, the user has to first deploy the Barracuda CloudGen WAN SaaS done via subscribing to a management portal. Afterwards, an immediate connection gets established with the Barracuda Cloud Control, making the process quite straightforward.

Connecting to Virtual WAN

The next step is connecting the CloudGen and Virtual WANs. To do this, users create an NVA by generating and copying tokens on a clipboard. The process also involves selecting a resource group, specifying region, naming gateway and choosing a scale unit to determine the throughput rate. After configuring the first gateway, we scheduled a second one, this time for Europe. Again, the process was quite easy, all performed in Azure Marketplace.

On-Premises Site Device Set-Up

Users can set up their on-premises site devices using the Barracuda Zero Touch Deployment portal. The desired devices can be preconfigured and allocated to various sites. Specifying the WAN type is the only extra information needed. Upon activating, the LAN configurations and devices are ready for connection.

Connectivity Achieved

After completing the steps above, a secure connection between devices is set up. The whole process is easy to follow, efficient and well-suited for businesses who need instant global connectivity.

Quantitative Measurements

Barracuda SD has enhanced security features, more precisely, zero trust network access and firewall-as-a-service offering. Another interesting capability is using application steering for optimal path selection.

Barracuda site setup Azure - Netify-1

Above: Using Barracuda SD-WAN to deploy services with zero-trust configuration.

Comparisons and Decision-Making Factors

Barracuda SD-WAN is a comprehensive SASE platform with heightened security which is also designed to be affordable, easy to deploy, manage and use.

Evolution of Products

Barracuda has continuously strived to tailor their SD-WAN offering, heavily focusing on as ease of use, built-in security and cloud integration.

Key Design Choices 

Barracuda has designed an all-rounded well-performing solution. As we explained in the demo report, this SD-WAN is easy to deploy and control thanks to the zero-touch deployment and user-friendly management console. It also integrates seamlessly with various cloud platforms including AWS and Azure. To address reliability, Barracuda’s creators have included features for dynamic path selection and failover.

There are some design choices reflecting the growing market focus on application-centric networking, eg., quality of service features for application prioritisation. Real-time reporting and analytics keep users updated on applications, network performance and allow to manage the whole system effortlessly. More granular control is granted through network segmentation, enabling users to isolate and secure different parts.

Barracuda SD-WAN Pricing Insights

Barracuda targets small to medium-sized businesses, therefore offering straightforward affordable prices with no hidden costs with included built-in security features. The pricing model is “pay-as-you-grow”, meaning the costs change and adapt to the business size.

Why Choose Barracuda SD-WAN?

Barracuda SD-WAN is ideal for organisations that rely heavily on cloud services and applications, with versatile cloud integration capabilities being the USP. The undertaken cloud-centric approach is futile in other regards too, in particular, simplifying deployment and increasing scalability and agility.

Feature/Aspect Tester's Notes
Deployment Time The process was impressively quick, with cross-continental site connectivity achieved in less than 30 minutes.
Seamless Gateway Service Integration The subscription to the management portal was easy and time-efficient, granting an immediate connection to Barracuda Cloud Control.
Connecting to Virtual WAN Connecting to virtual WAN by generating tokens and following Azure Marketplace processes was straightforward. Configuring multiple regions didn't present an extra difficulty either: overall, no issues were encountered.
On-Premises Site Device Set-Up

To set up on-premises devices, users only need to preconfigure them and specify the WAN type. The process is easy and fast, made particularly efficient by the zero-touch deployment portal.

Connectivity Connectivity between devices is secure, efficient and well-suited for businesses who need instant global connectivity.
Cloud Integration The cloud integration with AWS and Azure was seamless.
Security Features The security is robust, with zero trust network access and firewall-as-a-service being distinguishing features. 
Application Steering For application steering, users benefit from quality of service features and optimal path selection.
Real-Time Reporting and Analytics Real-time reporting and analytics provide easy-to-understand and in-depth insights into application and network performance. The customisation options are granting granular control.
Network Segmentation The network segmentation not only allows isolating and securing different parts of the network but also affords users another level of control.
Usability The product is easy to navigate and manage thanks to the user-friendly console and real-time analytics.
Pricing Baracuda offers a cost-effective "pay-as-you-grow" model, ideal for small and growing businesses. 
Overall Recommendation Baracuda is a great all-rounder, particularly well scoring on the cloud-centric approach, robust security and user-friendly interface.

Barracuda SD-WAN Pros and Cons Table:



Easy-to-use: Barracuda SD-WAN is a comprehensive SASE and requires no advanced technical capability from users.

Restricted use-cases: The complexity of the product's configuration may impact usability in some cases.

Performance: Exceptional application performance and application steering for optimal path selection.

Cost: The exact pricing is not shared, but the model is flexible and adaptive to the client's company size.

Advanced Security: The security features are enhanced by the strong focus on ZTNA and Firewall-as-a-Service.

Add-ons: There are limited third-party integrations available for Barracuda compared to other SD-WAN providers.

Flexibility: Flexible deployment options with network segmentation and management console features.

Vendor lock-in: One of the features of Barracuda SD-WAN is that it is fully integrated. However, this  may backfire, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Deployment: Easy and quick to deploy and manage due to zero-touch provisioning.

Complexity: The product is reasonably complex and may function differently to other similar solutions, potentially requiring a shift in operational practices.

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