What is SD-WAN? What is SEN?

Hi everyone! It's Jon Spindler. Today I want to cover:


What is the Viptela SEN? Why do I care?


First, what are they talking about now with this “SEN” stuff? I just got done wrapping my head around “SD-WAN”!


It’s simple. Nothing has changed.


In a market where literally every vendor in the space has now come out with some sort of “SD-WAN” product, it was a predictable move for Cisco to mop itself out of the SD-WAN room and try to differentiate their branding a little.


Nice move, Cisco.


So I’m sure if you are reading this you are aware that networking technology has become ridiculously expensive and complex to configure.


Hey, that’s why people like us get paid the big bucks!


I can tell you first hand that the increasing demand for services at the edge and more connectivity far exceeds the bandwidth of my engineering team, and it cannot scale to meet the needs of today's needy enterprises either.


The Cisco Viptela Secure Extensible Network (SEN) is the new way we will introduce Cisco SD-WAN.



In a nutshell, Viptela is a very rich software-based solution that makes deploying WAN services easier.


Because deploying these services is easier for the engineers, common tasks take less time which translates to their claim to be “reducing the costs of running enterprise networks”.


The Viptela suite provides a very intuitive interface that makes the provisioning and management of large networks super simple. In our SD-WAN video channel, we show you how to stand up an entire SD-WAN environment and deploy common technologies like Service VPNs, Service Offloading, & SLA Routing. These things have realized a dramatic simplicity make-over.


The Viptela SEN is the flagship product that represents at a high-level the broader evolution of networking that is taking place. Companies like Cisco are departing from the old hardware-based model to a secure and software-based, virtual infrastructure.

You’ll hear the term “fabric” a lot when researching the Viptela solution or SD-WAN in general.


The Viptela “fabric” is just an overlay network.


The Viptela platform forms a software overlay that runs over your “usual suspects” transport services like MPLS, Public Internet, and LTE.






What Challenges Are Overcome?


There’s basically 4 main reasons why “the way we usually do it” just won’t cut it anymore.


Expensive— Today’s networks are built with expensive hardware that require very skilled personnel for configuration and maintenance.




Complex— Today’s networks operate on an archaic model of a distributed control plane. In plain English this means that every single device must be configured or set up with complex routing and security rules. Managing these devices remotely and keeping track of changes made to the configuration are pretty big concerns.


Time Consuming— Today’s networks run on dedicated carrier circuits which mean you are waiting for them to install. This can mean it takes a long time to add a new branch office!


Control— Today’s networks that run on carrier circuits give up all the control and visibility to the carrier. Then factor in that everything turns into a time-consuming change request.

The cost and complexity become even more of a problem for old networks in the face of today’s requirements, including:


End-to-end security

Different transport networks

High-bandwidth consumption for cloud applications

Mobile device count is growing

Flexible connectivity



The Viptela Solution


We’ve established that the Viptela SEN is a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN).

So how does the Viptela Solution differentiate itself from all the others?


For 1, the fact that all of the features of traditional network appliances have been virtualized means that now the network can be run on cost-effective commodity hardware!


This also means that the images can be run in the cloud, like the vEdge Cloud Router!


There are new controllers that distribute key responsibilities associated with building and enforcing a Private Key Infrastructure, distributing encryption keys and routing information, and much more.


The vSmart controller is like the brains of the Cisco SD-WAN operation. It is responsible for the control plane.


The vBond is like the SD-WAN police. It is responsible for authenticating other Viptela devices when they attempt to join the fabric.


The vManage is your single pane of glass management dashoard. This is where you configure templates, provision configurations, and monitor your SD-WAN!


This leaves the edge nodes in the SD-WAN fabric to do what they do best, forward traffic!


Edge nodes are also specially equipped with the capability to take on things like Deep Packet Inspection & Quality of Service!


I hope you enjoyed this post!


If it got your attention and you want become an actual SD-WAN Ninja,


Subscribe to our SD-WAN Channel!


It is by far the most affordable and in-depth Cisco SD-WAN training on the market!

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