Infrastructure plays an important role when it comes to transforming your branch, datacenter and cloud with SD-WAN (Software-defined WAN). This allows enterprises to leverage a combination of transport services delivering a high-quality experience from the WAN edge to cloud and increase business productivity. Any customer would want a solid infrastructure in place with no bottlenecks pertaining to network performance. Additionally, it is an icing on the cake for customers if the edge and hub devices can provide robust security features and integrated network services on demand while making the whole SD-WAN experience seamless.

Miercom recently did an independent study validating the on-box throughput performance, security features and integrated network services on the ISR 1000 series routers that are a part of Cisco’s Viptela SD-WAN solution, offering customers a single powerful device with a plethora of capabilities.

Miercom validated the on-box throughput tests on Cisco’s ISR 1000 series SD-WAN routers and its competitive counterparts in the same environment and in an unbiased fashion. Cisco’s SD-WAN routers performed consistently better by showcasing superior on-box throughput than the competition in different scenarios. Key features such as IPSec, Zone-Based Firewall, QoS and NAT were tested and validated during performance testing.

Performance of Cisco SD-WAN ISR 1000 series routers vs competition
Performance of Cisco SD-WAN ISR 1000 series routers vs competition

One of the key findings during performance testing was that the competition lacked advanced security features on their SD-WAN gear offering only basic zone-based firewall with primitive allow/deny rules. Conversely, Cisco offers advanced security features including zone-based firewall, Advanced Malware protection, URL Filtering, IPS and TLS/SSL Decryption etc. making it a truly robust and powerful box to secure your WAN edge to cloud deployments. Cisco SD-WAN is all powered by the threat intelligence from Talos and is consistent with security stack in cloud with Cisco Umbrella.

vManage dashboard showcasing the advanced security policies in Cisco’s SD-WAN solution

Cisco SD-WAN routers also offer integrated Wireless services like Mobility Express for Wi-Fi, in-built LTE capabilities, Cisco Stealthwatch integration etc., making it a true full stack capable solution. Cisco ISR’s built-in Mobility Express feature allows routers to act as a virtual wireless controller with the capacity of managing 50 access points with advanced features like application visibility, rogue detection etc. On the other hand, the competition lacked the integrated Wi-Fi services feature – relying on third-party vendors for this capability.

vManage dashboard showcasing the advanced on-box security features in Cisco’s SD-WAN solution

Cisco SD-WAN also provides on-box LTE capabilities offering on-box SIM card slots on the ISR routers Conversely, the competition has limited SKUs with built-in LTE capabilities and must rely on third-party vendors which makes it more complex for the customer in terms of management and cost. Customers have a broader range of choice and management with Cisco SD-WAN’s additional wireless features that reduce cost and complexity. Another notable feature Cisco SD-WAN offers is Stealthwatch integration for visibility, threat analysis and network compliance using machine-learning detection. Competition fails to offer such advanced capabilities in a single box. Also, Cisco is the only SD-WAN provider to offer voice services on their ISR router platform.

Cisco’s simplified licensing structure eliminates the need for numerous add-on licenses and support contracts to activate features. Its tiered model reduces time, complexity, and cost for customers. Miercom validated Cisco’s tiered model as easy to activate, consume and renew. The competition’s approach to their licensing model is highly complex with expensive enablement of individual add-on features. Also, it does not provide the option for both consumption-based and subscription licensing like Cisco does.

Read the detailed Miercom report:

Cisco SD-WAN with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
Competitive Independent Solution Assessment