Hybrid WAN

What is a Hybrid Wide Area Network (WAN)?

A Hybrid WAN is a wide area network that sends traffic over two or more connection types. Hybrid WANs use a variety of connectivity options to make the best use of network resources. In its most common form, a hybrid WAN uses dedicated multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) circuits, plus Internet-based IP VPN tunnels.

A hybrid approach allows network engineers to save money by maintaining dedicated lines for mission-critical traffic and sending lower-priority traffic over a less expensive connection. This approach is particularly attractive to enterprises with multiple branch offices.

As cloud usage has grown, hybrid WANs are evolving to include Direct Internet Access (DIA) links to decrease latency of access to SaaS applications.

Hybrid WAN is closely aligned with, but not identical to, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). Hybrid WANs may have an SDN component, although it is not required.