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Community Challenge: SD-WAN, Explained

Community Manager



SD-WAN is a popular topic these days, but it can be difficult to explain to a layperson.


Your challenge this month is to describe SD-WAN in non-technical terms.


Imagine you had to explain the concept to a classroom of smart but non-technical high school students, or to an acquaintance at a cocktail party (clearly a raging party!). What's a real-world analogy you can use to describe what SD-WAN is and how it works?


We encourage you to use pictures or diagrams (or even video!?) to help your explanation come to life.


The winners will each receive a Meraki mini-fridge (picture below)!


How to enter

Submit your contest entry in a comment on this blog post before 11 a.m. PDT on Monday (December 10, 2018). This time around, entries won’t be made public until voting starts. After you submit your entry, you’ll see a message reading “Your post will appear as soon as it is approved.”


Update: This contest is over! Here's the announcement of the winners.


How to win

Voting begins when submissions close (at 11 a.m. PDT on Monday, December 10, 2018), and continues through the work week. Voting closes at 11 a.m. PDT on Friday, December 14, 2018.


Update: This contest is over! Here's the announcement of the winners.


We will be selecting 2 winners:

  1. The Community Favorite — chosen by you, our Community members. Cast your vote by giving kudos (image) to your favorite entries. The entry with the most kudos from community members who aren't Meraki employees will win!
  2. The Meraki Favorite — a panel of experts here at Meraki will select the Meraki Favorite prize, judging entries on creativity, completeness, and accuracy.


Each winner will receive a Meraki mini-fridge! 


Meraki mini-fridgeMeraki mini-fridge




The Fine Print

  • Limit one entry per community member.
  • Submission period: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 7am PDT through Monday, December 10, 2018 at 10:59am PDT
  • Voting period: Monday, December 10, 2018 at 11am PDT through Friday, December 14 at 11am PDT
  • Prize will be a selection of Meraki swag with value not exceeding USD50.00
  • Official terms, conditions, and eligibility information
Here to help

So what is SD-WAN exactly? Much like the "cloud", it can have different meanings to different people. Broadly speaking, SD-WAN is a generic term for a set of features that makes Internet connections a lot more useful. Let's take a real-life example of how SD-WAN could be used to solve a business problem. Let's say you have a VoIP phone system and all of your calls are made over the Internet. You also have one Internet connection which is great for browsing the web and checking email, maybe accessing an online service or two. Well what happens if you are on a phone call about to close a big sale, and the Internet goes down? Well the call gets dropped and so do you. SD-WAN could be used to ensure that your call continues even if your Internet goes down. Voodoo magic? Not really, but kinda.


The way SD-WAN allows your call to keep going is that it uses a second internet connection and simply reroutes your call using the other connection instead. It does this by intelligently monitoring both connections in real time and deciding which one is the best connection to use at any given point in time. You stay on the call and win the deal. Good job!


This is just one example of how SD-WAN is being used in businesses today. On a more conceptual level, SD-WAN takes the idea of using one or more Internet connections and applying some kind of software logic to them. Meraki does this by taking two Internet connections and grouping them together to form a new virtual connection. This is helpful because the new virtual connection is now independent of the underlying Internet providers. Just the way virtualization (think Hyper-V or VMWare) makes the underlying hardware irrelevant to the virtual machines, so SD-WAN does for Internet connections. Ultimately, as with many modern technologies, the actual magic of what happens and how this works is transparent to the end user. All they know and care about is that it works. As a technology professional, you can now deliver that to them as a powerful solution. Go, you!

Getting noticed

SD-WAN .... highly complex, but simple in it's ideals!


Think of a fish tank .... old fish tanks were simple, you dump the water, change it out for new and go on.


New one's, you have filters, flow control, inject air and clean.


SD WAN is to networks, what modern technology is to fish tanks, the better it is, the more visibility you have and easier it is for traffic to flow. You can scale up to a larger platform if needed, but you get the options for better visibility, extra security, filtered traffic and much more. Would you rather have a fish tank with SD WAN or without?


Which would you prefer?Which would you prefer?




Comes here often



Here is my contribution :


"SD-WAN is a new technology that help you when all of your family is downloading stuffs and you can't even watch a Youtube video properly. Instead of having a very bad quality, you can use different ways to access internet, and everyone is happy. And all of that with only 1 device !"






Kind of a big deal


Think of it like a 4x4 system in a vehicle back in the today compared to now where we have auto AWD systems.


Think of each wheel as a different ISP.


Your driving in your vehicle (company) and you hit some bad terrain (ISP issues/black ice). Back in the day you had to stop the vehicle (WAN goes down, network stops), put it in neutral and change it to 4x4 mode (physically moving Ethernet cable from one router to another or waiting for some sort of fail over timer to kick in), and then speed back up.


Nowadays, your vehicle has auto/dynamic 4x4 (AWD / SD-WAN) so you don't have to do anything. It just starts providing power to the wheels (ISPs) that need it to make sure your vehicle (company) is still moving forward. The vehicle (company) never slows down.  😃

Here to help

Software Defined Wide Area Network is best described as the modern aged, secure connection to the rest of the world with flexible manageability. It is the new and improved connection to the internet.

You are no longer limited to having a piece of hardware for each and every different function you may require for security, manageability, and ease of use on a network and instead can replace these hardware pieces with a very easy to use "Software" on one device.


  1. It will support multiple connection types such as your ISP's connection at home bringing you access to the web combined with another type such as the LTE connection in your mobile phone. This allows fail-over or load balancing in case one happens to go down, the network will still be able to remain up with no interruption to users.
  2. The ability to to select the most optimal paths for the data to be routed is in place so there will be virtually no lag time.
  3. A modern, yet simple User Interface is in place to control all devices on the network is provided. Think Apple's simplistic UI for the iPhone; it's easy to pick up and get around without a long list of instructions (even your grandma can control with little to no assistance!)
  4. It has the ability to act as a firewall, VPN, etc. (These help keep the bad guys out while securely letting the good guys in. You can connect up to your work or school computer from virtually anywhere using secured VPN.

In a nutshell, SD-WAN promotes quick setup, increased systems performance, and lowers the overall cost of network upkeep.

New here

The bell rings loudly at the firehouse and the fire crew jumps into action. They quickly dress and hop aboard their shiny red fire truck and pull out of the station. They've got just minutes and need to be on the scene quickly. Luckily, the driver of fire truck knows how to get the crew to any location in the fastest way possibleher mind is filled with detailed maps and knowledge about the layout of the townbut more importantly, she has procedure rules to follow based on the density and speed of the traffic she might encounter. You see, the fire crewany fire crewis extremely sensitive to latency: any delays or a high-number of jittery-drivers in front of them could spell disaster for saving people from the blazing building across town.

Our driver knows the established policies based on conditions seen along her route. Should there be a slow-down or even bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway, then she needs to drive on the shoulder of the road. What if the projected route is under construction and there's no ability to drive on the shoulder because concrete barricades have narrowed the lanes? She has a policy or a procedure for that, too. She can drive an alternative route (such as back-roads or feeder roads) or even drive on the wrong side of the street to meet her timeliness objectives.

Head in the Cloud

Easy to manage even when the admin is in hospital.AdminAdmin




Comes here often

Simplify your Network.

Now is the time advance the way you manage your network and prepare for the advances of rich media and new cloud services.

You need to be able to respond and manage this more advanced and critical network with less resource than you use today.


Simplicity + Control + Visibility + Agility + Scalability + Performance + Security  =  Future Proof + Free Time


Meraki SDWAN delivers all of this giving a confidently connected and protected network, delivering your business applications and data, prioritized and optimized, where they are needed.


Remember when the CD was a thing. you had to spend time storing, categorizing, cleaning, insuring.


To play your music you need to decide quality sound versus portability with it skipping tracks on the move. You need to load your ten stack CD to get and extended playlist. All time consuming, not very flexible, and not necessarily delivering the desired experience.

Well Meraki SDWAN for networks is like the Spotify for music. It's Simple to use, you can Control many devices from the one dashboard, you have Visibility of you playlists and Agility to select and queue as many songs as you like. With a huge Scale of songs and great sound Performance all from your Secure login.

Spotify, I mean MERAKIFY you network with SDWAN form Meraki

Comes here often

SD-WAN is a simple way to build networks connected to the Internet by configuring them simply, remotely over the WEB:


Just connect your MERAKI Boxes:


  •  Firewall (MX) to protect your local network or to hide your communications.
  •  WIFI Access points (MR) to gain WIFI on your local site
  •  LAN Switches (MS) to connect directly your users and their computers
  • ...


You only need to ensure that these boxes have a local Internet connection and you will be able to configure all them remotely:


From your Office

From Home

From you holiday location !


Kind of a big deal

Imagine instead of going to different stores and trying to find what you want. You'd have to go to multiple places and try to find the right route to get what you need. SD-WAN makes it so that you go to a central location with a travel guide of where you need to go or the right paths to get there.

Comes here often

SD-WAN is a technology that can be acquired to simplify the management and administration of all the resources of a network, that is, the IT administrator will have the facility of being able to have active notifications through a single interface offering a friendly environment in the administration and management of operability without impacting the implementation costs, that is, SD-WAN can offer low costs and the cost-benefit ratio will have a great impact on the clients' economy

Community Manager

Voting is now closed! Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners!


UPDATE: Here's the announcement of the winners. Congratulations, mmistretta and vicapelli! 🎉