Why SD-WAN Helps to Keep Up With IoT Sensors

 

Most discussions of the Internet of Things (IoT) focus on devices, not networks. This angle is akin to trying to understand how a tree grows without looking at its roots: While the novel form factors, immense variety and massive overall scale of new IoT hardware are all worthy of attention, any set of IoT sensors is virtually useless without a well-planned WAN connecting the dots.

To glimpse the risks of rolling out IoT initiatives before having a failsafe WAN in place, just consider some of the most prominent IoT use cases and the degree to which they require network reliability and scalability:

Medicine

IoT sensors in homes and hospitals could revolutionize workflows such as patient data-gathering and real-time location tracking in elder care. However, the associated stack of networking technologies is relatively complex, with standbys like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth slotted alongside newcomers such as low-power WAN (aka LPWAN) standards and IoT-specific cellular technologies. Any supporting WAN must be able to seamlessly incorporate these different modes of transport.

Logistics / Supply Chains

IoT asset tracking is often portrayed as the killer app of the Internet of Things, and for good reason. For example, the recent integration of IoT tech into the milk supply chain between Australia and China enabled much quicker fulfillment of highly perishable products. Reliable WAN connectivity was integral in threading this needle, since conditions such as temperature, humidity and lighting were measured in real-time by IoT sensors and uploaded to the cloud every 15 minutes.

Manufacturing

According to Verizon, the manufacturing industry saw a bigger boost in IoT network connections – 84 percent – than any other in 2017. IoT devices can help boost manufacturer productivity by strengthening connectivity from the floor level all the way up to enterprise IT. For optimal results, plant systems for robotics, artificial intelligence and quality control should be connected to each other and to cloud-based infrastructure so that data can be exchanged in real time.

For all of these use cases and many others, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions deliver the secure, dependable and scalable connectivity required for making IoT applications work. To return to our tree metaphor, SD-WANs are like extensive roots systems that are constantly branching out to look for new sources of nutrition, except in this case they’re finding the best possible paths for traffic through a busy network.

SD-WAN Benefits for IoT Sensor Layouts

Overall, a modern SD-WAN enhances IoT deployments by adding:

  • Centralized visibility of the network for easier app and device tracking.
  • Security integrations with services from Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks for protecting connections to the cloud.
  • Automated path selection, based on constant measurement of jitter, latency and packet loss.
  • A Quality of Experience (aka QoE) engine for the most advanced routing decisions.

An SD-WAN platform from Talari Networks will get your IoT sensor deployments off to a positive start. Download the eBook below or check out our demo page to learn more.

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