Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is an advanced wide-area networking technology with a myriad of benefits for organizations, including enhanced network visibility, scalability, bandwidth optimization, application performance, and cost-effectiveness compared to traditional wide-area networks (WAN). Such characteristics have made SD-WAN an increasingly adopted part of digital infrastructure and cybersecurity, giving way to a range of uniquely priced options for interested businesses.

Before delving into the costs and pricing of SD-WAN in 2023, let’s briefly recap what SD-WAN is. SD-WAN is a technology that leverages software-defined networking to manage and optimize wide area networks. It enhances network performance by dynamically routing traffic over various transport mechanisms (such as broadband, MPLS, and 4G/5G) based on application requirements and network conditions.

Here, we offer a comprehensive breakdown of SD-WAN costs and pricing in 2023, including prevalent SD-WAN pricing models, and factors influencing the cost of SD-WAN.

The Main Factors That Impact SD-WAN Cost

Several variables can influence the pricing of SD-WAN solutions, and for organizations to properly integrate these services, they should understand how such factors uniquely impact the pricing process.

SD-WAN cost can fluctuate based on:

Features and Functionality

SD-WAN solutions vary in terms of features and functionality offered. Some providers offer basic functionalities like traffic optimization and path selection, while others provide advanced features such as application-aware routing, security, and analytics. The breadth and depth of features significantly influence pricing. Organizations should evaluate their specific requirements and choose a solution that aligns with their needs to optimize the cost of SD-WAN.

Deployment Model

SD-WAN can operate through various deployment methods, including on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid-based approaches. The deployment model impacts pricing due to factors like hardware requirements, licensing fees, and ongoing maintenance costs. Cloud-based SD-WAN solutions generally involve subscription-based pricing, whereas on-premises deployments may require upfront hardware investments. Organizations must consider their network architecture and determine the most cost-effective deployment model.

Scalability and Capacity

The size and scale of the network, including the number of sites and users, play a crucial role in pricing SD-WAN solutions. Scalability requirements influence factors like licensing, bandwidth, and hardware costs. Organizations should assess their current and future network growth plans and select an SD-WAN solution that can scale efficiently to accommodate their needs. Pay-as-you-grow models can help minimize upfront costs while enabling easy expansion.


Security is a critical aspect of SD-WAN deployments, and different solutions offer varying security features. Advanced security capabilities like next-generation firewalls, encryption, and threat intelligence can increase the pricing of SD-WAN offerings. Organizations must carefully evaluate their security requirements, regulatory compliance needs, and the value of data transmitted to select an appropriate security level without overpaying for unnecessary features.

Service and Support

The level of service and support provided by SD-WAN vendors can impact pricing. Comprehensive customer support, including technical assistance, maintenance, and software updates, may come at an additional cost. Organizations should consider the criticality of their network operations and determine the level of service and support required. It is essential to balance the cost of SD-WAN and the level of service needed to ensure smooth operations.

To address these factors while implementing SD-WAN, organizations should undertake a thorough assessment of their network requirements and objectives. They should engage with multiple SD-WAN vendors, evaluate their offerings, and request detailed pricing proposals tailored to their needs. Negotiating pricing, exploring bundle options, and seeking competitive bids can also help obtain the most cost-effective SD-WAN solution.

Additionally, organizations should consider the long-term benefits of SD-WAN, such as improved network performance, reduced downtime, and increased agility. These benefits can justify the initial investment in SD-WAN and provide a strong business case for implementation.

When pricing SD-WAN offerings, organizations should consider factors such as features and functionality, deployment model, scalability, security, and service and support. By carefully assessing their requirements, engaging with vendors, and evaluating the long-term benefits, organizations can optimize costs and successfully implement SD-WAN into their company networks.

Geographic Location

The cost of bandwidth and hardware can vary by region, which can greatly impact the overall deployment cost. This is especially true when it comes to international deployments where different regulatory, cost and personnel requirements can have an effect on the ability to implement a global solution.

Common SD-WAN Pricing Models

There are now several different SD-WAN pricing models, collectively accommodating a wider variety of businesses in their network-related goals and demands.

SD-WAN Subscription-Based Pricing

Subscription-based pricing is a common model in which customers pay a recurring fee at regular intervals, such as monthly or annually, to access SD-WAN services. The fee typically covers software licensing, ongoing support, and updating. This model offers flexibility and scalability, allowing customers to adjust their subscriptions as their requirements change. The cost is predictable, making it easier for businesses to budget and plan for expenses.

SD-WAN Bandwidth-Based Pricing

Bandwidth-based pricing reflects the amount of network bandwidth utilized by the customer. Typically, the providers break up this pricing into tiers, where higher bandwidth usage corresponds to higher SD-WAN costs. This model is suitable for organizations that have a clear understanding of their bandwidth requirements and want to pay for what they actually use. It provides the flexibility to scale up or down based on changing needs, allowing businesses to optimize their costs.

SD-WAN Pay-As-You-Go Pricing

Pay-as-You-Go (PAYG) pricing follows a consumption-based model, where customers pay based on their actual usage of SD-WAN resources. Instead of committing to a fixed subscription or bandwidth, user bills reflect the specific features or services consumed. This model is advantageous for businesses with fluctuating demands, as they only pay for the resources they actively use. It offers cost-efficiency and scalability, with the ability to scale resources on demand.

SD-WAN Feature-Based Pricing

Feature-based pricing involves charging customers based on the specific features and capabilities they require from an SD-WAN solution. Different features may be priced individually or bundled into packages at different price points. For instance, advanced security features or application optimization functionalities might come as add-ons with additional costs. This pricing model allows businesses to tailor their SD-WAN solution to their specific needs and only pay for the features they find essential.

Tiered Pricing

Tiered pricing offers different service levels or packages with varying capabilities and corresponding SD-WAN costs. Each tier provides a specific set of features, such as security levels, application performance, or support options. Customers can choose the tier that best aligns with their requirements and budget. This model provides flexibility by allowing businesses to upgrade or downgrade their service level as needed; it caters to organizations with diverse needs, offering a range of options at different price points.

Usage-Based Pricing

Usage-based pricing is similar to pay-as-you-go, but instead of being solely based on resource consumption, it considers the specific usage metrics of the SD-WAN solution. This model may involve charging based on the number of users, devices, or connections being managed by the SD-WAN platform. By aligning costs with usage, businesses can optimize their expenditure based on their specific usage patterns, making it suitable for organizations with varying users or devices.

Location-Based Pricing

Location-based pricing takes into account the geographical deployment of SD-WAN. Costs may vary depending on region or country. This model considers local infrastructure costs, regulatory requirements, or operational complexities associated with specific locations. It can be useful for organizations with a global presence or those operating in regions with different cost structures.

Per-Site Pricing

Per-site pricing focuses on the number of physical locations or sites housing SD-WAN deployment. Customers’ fees reflect the number of sites connected to the SD-WAN solution. This model allows organizations to scale their SD-WAN deployments cost-effectively, paying only for the sites they connect. It caters well to businesses with distributed networks or branch offices, enabling them to manage costs on a per-site basis.

Flat-Rate Pricing

Flat-rate pricing provides a fixed, all-inclusive fee for SD-WAN services. Regardless of the specific features, usage, or bandwidth, customers pay a consistent amount. This model simplifies budgeting and forecasting, as there are no variable costs associated with usage or feature additions. Flat-rate pricing can benefit organizations seeking cost predictability and simplicity, particularly when their SD-WAN requirements remain relatively stable.

Customized Pricing

Customized pricing models center on the specific needs and preferences of customers. In this approach, the pricing is determined through individual negotiations, considering network size, complexity, deployment requirements, desired features, and additional services. Customized pricing allows organizations to create a pricing structure that aligns perfectly with their unique circumstances. It provides flexibility for businesses with complex or specialized SD-WAN requirements.

These various SD-WAN pricing models offer organizations flexibility and cost optimization opportunities, enabling them to select the most suitable option based on their needs, usage patterns, and budgetary considerations.


In 2023, SD-WAN continues to be a transformative technology that can provide numerous benefits to businesses, including improved performance, flexibility, and cost savings. However, the costs associated with SD-WAN can vary widely depending on factors such as network complexity, vendor selection, and specific requirements.

To make informed decisions about SD-WAN adoption, organizations must carefully assess their needs, consider the various pricing models, and conduct thorough vendor evaluations. By doing so, they can harness the power of SD-WAN to enhance their network capabilities while managing costs effectively in the ever-evolving landscape of digital connectivity. Reach out to our team for questions or more information!