Software defined wide area networks (SD WAN) architectures refer to networks that are not based on their physical elements but are defined in software which makes them more flexible and easier to manage. Managed SD WAN refers to a third-party provider managing this type of network for a company.

SD WAN architectures are intended to replace traditional wide area networking routers and transport technologies. They allow load sharing of traffic across multiple connections and speed up data transmission. For managed service providers, SD WAN offers a more efficient method for managing networks for enterprises while for customers it offloads the technical challenge of managing WAN networks and applications to a service provider with expertise in doing so. The customer achieves better speed and more flexible wide area networking while also achieving cost savings by only paying a subscription fee for the service instead of having to implement the technology themselves.