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What is a Network Edge and How is it Used to Deploy SD-WAN?

September 2nd, 2022 | 4 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

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You may own your own network and know when your network is up or down, but do you really know how it connects to the internet or what the edge of your network is?

If you’re not sure what your network edge is, you may not know how your network is secure.

The edge of your network is where your network is connected to the internet or other networks and where most of your security is.

If you don’t know what your network edge is, you may not know if you’re vulnerable to malicious activity.  

Since the network edge is mostly how your network connects to other networks like the internet, you should know what the network edge is so you have a better understanding of your network.

We know how complicated telecommunications can be and want to educate you on everything about your network.

As a company that has sold SD-WAN to thousands of customers, Coeo just wants to make sure you make the best decision for your company.

By the end of this article, you will know what the network edge is, how it can be used to help secure your network, and how it can be used for SD-WAN services.

What is a network edge?

A network edge is an area where a device or local network interfaces with the internet. It is also a security boundary where security solutions like firewalls are placed to keep your network safe from malicious sources.

The network edge is where devices like phones connect, but also where you connect to other networks, like the Internet, or to carrier MPLS clouds.

All of the devices within your network such as computers, phones, printers, etc. will typically connect through your network to a firewall. The firewall will sit at your network edge and acts as a barrier for your network.

The network edge is the boundary of the LAN and where most of the security of your network lies. An edge device is a piece of hardware placed at the network edge that controls the data at the boundary.

Edge devices

There are a few kinds of edge devices, edge routers, routing switches, and firewalls.

Edge routers

The edge router is similar to a WFI router you probably have in your home. The edge router connects the network to the internet or another network, only the edge router is placed at the edge of the network.

Edge routers primarily function as the gateway between networks. This is the primary way you can connect your network to a WAN.

Routing switches

Routing switches provide the same functionality and most of the same basic characteristics as the edge router. They both connect to the internet or other networks but switches do not have some of the different features.

One of the main differences between routers and switches is that switches have fewer security features than routers.  


Firewalls can also be classified as edge devices and are of course used for security purposes at the edge of your network.

Firewalls sit at the boundary of your network and filter data moving in and out of your network.

How your network edge helps secure your LAN

Without proper security on your network edge, your network can be vulnerable to malicious activity.

You don’t want to be a victim of a cyber attack or malicious actors and securing your network edge properly can prevent this from happening.

Firewalls are placed on the edge of the network and control the data that is allowed to enter and leave the network.

Of course, this is in place with the hopes of preventing malicious sources such as computer viruses and data breaches from entering your network.

Firewalls are essentially the first line of defense when it comes to network security. Firewalls can be managed by you, or your provider if you purchase a managed firewall.

The network edge is used to lock down and secure your network but it is also the way that your network connects to the internet. The network edge also plays a big role in the integration of SD-WAN into your network.

Connecting your network edge to other devices via SD-WAN

SD-WAN or Software Defined Wide-Area-Network, is an overlay network. This network is built on top of underlying network connections whether it be over fiber, LTE, or broadband.

SD-WAN allows for connectivity to different locations within an organization. The different locations are able to be connected to each other over the internet.

The network edge plays a huge role in how this connection works. Since the network edge is how your network connects to the internet and other networks, SD-WAN uses the edge to build the network.

Like edge devices talked about above, SD-WAN is deployed through a box that is placed at the edge of your network. This box allows you to connect to other devices within your SD-WAN network.

Since SD-WAN’s main purpose is to connect the different locations of your organization to each other, an SD-WAN box would be placed at each location’s network edge to connect locations and devices within your organization to each other.

Next steps to learning about network security

Now you have learned all about the network edge, how it can secure your network, and how it helps with the process of implementing SD-WAN, you can have a little bit of background on the technical side of your network.

It is important that you learn anything and everything about your network so you have a better understanding if you were to lose connection to the internet or if your network became vulnerable in any way.

Coeo takes pride in giving you all of the information you need on the ins and outs of your network. Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their networks and wants to make sure you understand your network.

If you would like to speak with our team to learn more about network security and SD-WAN or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment. TALK TO AN EXPERT

Now you what a network edge is and how it can be used to deploy SD-WAN. Read this article to learn the differences between edge and cloud computing so you can determine which is right for your organization:

Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.