What is Software Defined Networking?

An introduction to the All-in-One Network from Vodafone Business.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) in a nutshell 

SDN is the long-awaited answer to the problems posed by complex and costly networking environments. With a traditional network, each element – like a core switch or router – must be configured manually to do a certain task, which takes time and means relying on IT specialists.

With SDN, the network is configured centrally, meaning changes can be automated and made quickly, in response to new business and application demands.

We’re already seeing how SDN technology is enabling new solutions. For example, SD-WAN is an ‘overlay’ virtual solution placed on top of your existing WAN or IP-VPN (your ‘underlay’ network). This gives you visibility and control of your network traffic, while also providing a lower-cost alternative to Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networking.

What is Network Function Virtualisation (NFV)? 

Just like we can virtualise apps in the cloud, we can now virtualise network functions to add new capabilities when we need them – and remove them when we don’t. This is NFV.

For example, you can deploy a virtual firewall automatically if you detect a security threat, then remove it once the threat is thwarted. This way, you can update your security rules on an as-needed basis, rather than planning for the worst-case scenario – which saves costs and helps optimise network performance.


Visibility and control

SDN gives you a single, real-time view and centralised control of your whole network. See where the demand is and solve issues before they occur.


The virtual network environment makes it easier to update your security rules and react more quickly to threats, across all sites, devices and the cloud.


SDN saves you money on two counts. It costs less to manage, thanks to greater user control, and lets you choose the cheapest available route for your data.


SDN lets you respond rapidly to business and application needs. You can add or remove bandwidth and capabilities to your network according to demand.

Why the time is right for SDN  

The data rush 

Many traditional networks are struggling with the sheer volume of data running through them. Traffic is expected to rise with ever-increasing demand for cloud services, video streaming and business digitalisation.

  • Our All-in-One Network gives you the flexibility to scale up bandwidth on demand.

  • Ring-fence bandwidth for business-critical apps

  • Meet the bandwidth demands of new devices and services

  • Support a wide range of new file types

Security: new capabilities, new vulnerabilities  

New devices, apps and services open up a world of possibilities for your business – and for hackers. And whether they target them directly, or your ever-growing number of endpoints, you’re only as secure as the network that connects you. And, of course, the network itself is always a target.

With our All-in-One Network, you can quickly amend your firewall policy for all sites, or even turn up a firewall at locations that currently don’t have one when you detect a threat.

  • Detect malicious traffic at speed

  • Deploy virtual firewalls quickly

  • Visibility allowing you to make informed decisions

The always-on experience 

It’s not easy to deliver modern customer experiences on a legacy network infrastructure. People expect 24/7/365 access to digital services, and if your network can’t deliver, they’re likely to go elsewhere. Every minute of network downtime means lost revenue and, potentially, lost customers - not to mention a damaged reputation.   

Our All-in-One Network minimises these risks. It’s the always-on network for an always-on experience.

  • Deliver the great experiences customers expect

  • Scale bandwidth up and down, on demand

  • Launch new digital services before your competitors

How to make the move to SDN 

With our All-in-One Network solution, we’ll help you adopt SDN gradually at your own pace and decide exactly how much control is right for you. To find out how to get started, visit our ‘Get Started’ section or book a demo. 

Explore. Collaborate. Innovate 

Book an innovation session with us to help you make the transition. Where’s your industry heading to and how will your business look like in the next decade? What will you do to keep pace? Our experts have the answers.  

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