China Erects Barriers to SD-WAN, VPN

January 17, 2018

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

It’s been a week since China’s practice of blocking SD-WAN and VPN traffic took effect, according to SD-WAN-Experts.

The Chinese Government apparently now requires Chinese ISPs to block TCP ports 80, 443, and 8080. Those that want to access those TCP, HTTPS, and HTTP ports need to register or apply to re-open the ports through their ISP.

“Millions of Internet users relied on virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent the Chinese censorship system, dubbed the Great Firewall of China,” explains Steve Garson, who identified this story early on. “In the past, VPNs have worked intermittently but were invariably blocked, forcing users to jump to another VPN. The new regulations will block VPN access to unregistered services.”

SD-WAN and meshed VPN installations are widespread in China, adds Garson, president and founder of SD-WAN-Experts. Businesses use them to lower their internet costs within the country.

“For SD-WAN users, the regulations could have significant impact,” he adds. “Site-to-site connectivity across MPLS or private line will be unaffected. But site-to-site VPNs will be affected if businesses do not register with their ISPs.”

So hybrid WANs will work fine for those applications running across the private data service, he adds. But they “will be disrupted when failing over to the Internet or sending traffic across the encrypted internet tunnel as the primary traffic driver,” he adds.

A different report notes that “SD-WAN providers are in a pinch because the restrictions block ‘site-to-site’ VPN use. That’s not a bright outlook for a technology that specializes in connecting remote offices to the same network.”

SD-WAN is an overlay of the wide area network that separates the physical infrastructure from how packets are routed. That enables SD-WAN to provide users with total control of connectivity between their locations, so they can match that connectivity to their specific applications at any time. IDC (News - Alert) estimates that worldwide SD-WAN revenues will exceed $6 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 90 percent between 2015 and 2020.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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