Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a revolutionary solution reshaping how manufacturers deploy and manage their network infrastructure.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how we perceive networking as the perimeter of our networks is no longer finitely defined. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the manufacturing sector.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, an astounding 75 billion devices will be connected to the internet. And that figure will continue to increase exponentially in the coming years.
SD-WAN solutions are poised to redefine the future of IT in manufacturing, promising reliable last-mile connectivity for connected devices and transformative edge security.
In this article, we explore how Managed SD-WAN counters the connectivity challenges that manufacturing companies face and how GTT’s Managed SD-WAN offers flexible connectivity and seamless network security.
Connectivity Challenges in Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is witnessing a transformation as Industrial IoT (IIoT) is taking the industry by storm. As intelligent devices reshape the manufacturing shop floor, you need the support of high-quality networks with reliable last-mile cloud connectivity.
As manufacturing relies increasingly on digital technologies and cloud-connected devices, a network failure poses a serious challenge. The lack of data availability can cause production to falter. For a fiercely competitive manufacturing sector, downtime is costly as it leads to production delays and loss of paid work hours.
The modern manufacturing ecosystem comprises distributed production units, raw material vendors, logistical partners and outsourced service providers. This extensive ecosystem and the vast amounts of data transmitted from IoT devices increase the potential for cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Protecting intellectual property rights and safeguarding unique production processes from hackers and malicious internal attackers is a growing challenge.
Optimized IT & Network Maintenance Costs
Manufacturers must meet stringent production KPIs such as high equipment uptime, maximum asset availability and running assembly lines at optimal capacity. Maintaining network security, troubleshooting device connectivity, and managing the compatibility of individual WAN networks at various locations can be challenging.
KPI-driven MSPs can deliver reliable and secure network performance and maintain IT infrastructure at optimized costs compared to in-house teams.
For an industry already struggling with high energy prices, supply chain instability, and labor shortages, dealing with inconsistent connectivity and network security can become overwhelming.
Managed SD-WAN provides a dynamic and intelligent approach to the industry’s networking challenges. It provides an overlay network architecture for application-aware routing and instantaneous failover to support the new digital-first mode of manufacturing.
The Beneficial Role of SD-WAN in Manufacturing
With better connectivity comes better communication. SD-WAN provides reliable connectivity and helps branch offices and remote or on-site employees share vital information and real-time production status updates. It optimizes communication flows between factories, warehouses, and sales offices spread across different regions. Seamless data exchange fosters real-time collaboration and steadfast cloud connectivity for SaaS applications and business-critical cloud-based resources.
As manufacturing organizations migrate to IoT technologies and wireless data exchange, they need reliable network connectivity to transmit data from numerous IoT devices or endpoints to the cloud server or data center.
SD-WAN enables seamless data transmission from IoT sensors, real-time machine-to-machine communication and supports high-speed data analysis for modern systems such as ERP or Business Intelligence systems.
Traditional WAN services struggle with the complexities of IoT technology as they require manual configurations and rely on additional hardware, such as routers and cables to support new additions to the network. But as SD-WAN is software-based and centrally managed via a software controller, it provides scalability and efficient end-to-end management of IoT components in the network.
Manufacturing is a dynamic industry, and companies must stay agile and respond instantly to the changing business landscape. They need a flexible software-based network architecture that can accommodate and support individual WAN networks and multiple service providers in different locations.
For example, the network architecture must support a range of WAN links, such as broadband, LTE, and 5G, that are critical in remote, traditionally hard-to-reach locations. At the same, it must be flexible to include highly reliable MPLS connections for business-critical business systems.
Another big advantage of using SD-WAN is that it is ISP-agnostic, allowing one MSP to handle different service providers at various manufacturing sites.
Improved Security Measures
Manufacturers need a comprehensive approach to security that includes robust firewall technology, malware protection and real-time intrusion and detection services. They need an extended security perimeter to cover distributed and remote locations as well as mitigate the risks of cyber attacks on data during transit from numerous endpoints.
SD-WAN is the ideal solution that secures sensitive data with encrypted data transfer to protect against unauthorized access.SD-WAN is also key to building out an advanced Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework. It smoothens the transition to SASE, providing a scalable network with cutting-edge cloud-based security.
Seamless Network Segmentation
Manufacturing organizations operate from multiple locations, with users across functional areas such as shop floor, quality control, warehousing, logistics and more. They require protection for data centers and cloud apps as well as data transmission between offices and to and from IoT devices and other perimeter endpoints.
Network segmentation restricts user access to only the data and applications each individual requires. It allows administrators to isolate data into sub-networks so that any data leak or security breach can be contained within a small part of the network and prevented from affecting the entire network infrastructure.
Managed SD-WAN ensures that these network segments are maintained and optimized by the service provider’s expert technicians, further minimizing the risk of network disruptions.
Step Into the Future of Manufacturing IT With GTT
SD-WAN is leading the charge at the forefront of digital transformation in manufacturing with its dynamic and intelligent approach to network connectivity.
A Managed SD-WAN service is the best way to handle your company’s growing demands on network performance while containing connectivity costs and operational expenses for ongoing network maintenance and support.
It is a cost-effective deployment strategy for manufacturing organizations and provides easy-to-manage centralized network orchestration.
Switch to GTT’s Managed SD-WAN services for manufacturing and enjoy seamless connectivity without service disruptions and reliable security.
Reach out to our Managed SD-WAN experts today and take a confident step forward into the future of Manufacturing IT and networking.