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Announcing the Magic WAN Connector: the easiest on-ramp to your next generation network


6 min read

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Announcing the Magic WAN Connector: the easiest on-ramp to your next generation network

Cloudflare One enables organizations to modernize their corporate networks by connecting any traffic source or destination and layering Zero Trust security policies on top, saving cost and complexity for IT teams and delivering a better experience for users. Today, we’re excited to make it even easier for you to get connected with the Magic WAN Connector: a lightweight software package you can install in any physical or cloud network to automatically connect, steer, and shape any IP traffic.

You can install the Magic WAN Connector on physical or virtual hardware you already have, or purchase it pre-installed on a Cloudflare-certified device. It ensures the best possible connectivity to the closest Cloudflare network location, where we’ll apply security controls and send traffic on an optimized route to its destination. Embracing SASE has never been simpler.

Solving today’s problems and setting up for tomorrow

Over the past few years, we’ve had the opportunity to learn from IT teams about how their corporate networks have evolved and the challenges they’re facing today. Most organizations describe a starting point of private connectivity and “castle and moat” security controls: a corporate WAN composed of point-to-point and MPLS circuits and hardware appliances at the perimeter of physical networks. This architecture model worked well in a pre-cloud world, but as applications have shifted outside of the walls of the corporate data center and users can increasingly work from anywhere, the concept of the perimeter has crumbled.

In response to these shifts, traditional networking and security vendors have developed a wide array of point solutions to fill specific gaps: a virtual appliance to filter web traffic, a physical one to optimize bandwidth use across multiple circuits, a cloud-based tool to prevent data loss, and so on. IT teams now need to manage a broader-than-ever set of tools and contend with gaps in security, visibility, and control as a result.

Today’s fragmented corporate network
Today’s fragmented corporate network

We view this current state, with IT teams contending with a patchwork of tools and a never-ending ticket queue, as a transitional period to a world where the Internet forms the foundation of the corporate network. Cloudflare One is enabling organizations of all sizes to make the transition to SASE: connecting any traffic source and destination to a secure, fast, reliable global network where all security functions are enforced and traffic is optimized on the way to its destination, whether that’s within a private network or on the public Internet.

Secure Access Service Edge architecture
Secure Access Service Edge architecture

Magic WAN Connector: the easiest way to connect your network to Cloudflare

The first step to adopting SASE is getting connected – establishing a secure path from your existing network to the closest location where Zero Trust security policies can be applied. Cloudflare offers a broad set of “on-ramps” to enable this connectivity, including client-based and clientless access options for roaming users, application-layer tunnels established by deploying a lightweight software daemon, network-layer connectivity with standard GRE or IPsec tunnels, and physical or virtual interconnection.

Today, to make this first step to SASE even easier, we’re introducing a new member to this family of on-ramps. The Magic WAN Connector can be deployed in any physical or cloud network to provide automatic connectivity to the closest Cloudflare network location, leveraging your existing last mile Internet connectivity and removing the requirement for IT teams to manually configure network gear to get connected.

Magic WAN Connector provides easy connectivity to Cloudflare’s network
Magic WAN Connector provides easy connectivity to Cloudflare’s network

End-to-end traffic management

Hundreds of customer conversations over the past few years have helped us define a slim set of functionality that customers need within their on-premise and cloud networks. They’ve described this as “light branch, heavy cloud” architecture – minimizing the footprint at corporate network locations and shifting the majority of functions that used to be deployed in on-premise hardware to a globally distributed network.

The Magic WAN Connector includes a critical feature set to make the best possible use of available last mile connectivity. This includes traffic routing, load balancing, and failover; application-aware traffic steering and shaping; and automatic configuration and orchestration. These capabilities connect you automatically to the closest Cloudflare location, where traffic is optimized and routed to its destination. This approach allows you to use Cloudflare’s network – presence in 275 cities and 100 countries across the globe, 11,000+ interconnects and a growing fiber backbone – as an extension of your own.

Network function Magic WAN Connector Cloudflare Network
Branch routing (traffic shaping, failover, QoS) Application-aware routing and traffic steering between multiple last mile Internet circuits Application-aware routing and traffic steering across the middle mile to get traffic to its destination
Centralized device management Connector config controlled from unified Cloudflare dashboard Cloudflare unified dashboard portal, observability, Zero Trust services
Zero-touch configuration Automagic config; boots with smart defaults and sets up tunnels + routes Automagic config; Magic WAN Connector pulls down updates from central control plane
VPN + Firewall VPN termination + basic network segmentation included Full-featured SASE platform including ZTNA, FWaaS, DDoS, WAAP, and Email Security
Application-aware path selection Application-aware traffic shaping for last mile Application-aware Enhanced Internet for middle mile
Application auto discovery Works with Cloudflare network to perform application discovery and classification in real time 1+1=3: Cloudflare Zero Trust application classification tools reused in this context
Application performance visibility Acts as telemetry source for Cloudflare observability tools Cloudflare One Analytics platform & Digital Experience Monitoring
Software can be deployed in the cloud Software can be deployed as a public cloud VM All configuration controlled via unified Cloudflare dashboard

Fully integrated security from day 0

The Magic WAN Connector, like all of Cloudflare’s products, was developed from the ground up to natively integrate with the rest of the Cloudflare One portfolio. Connecting your network to Cloudflare’s with the Magic WAN Connector means automatic access to a full suite of SASE security capabilities, including our Firewall-as-a-Service, Zero Trust Network Access, Secure Web Gateway, Data Loss Prevention, Browser Isolation, Cloud Access Security Broker, Email Security, and more.

Optionally pre-packaged to make deployment easy

Cloudflare’s goal is to make it as easy as possible to on-ramp to our network, so there are flexible deployment options available for the Magic WAN Connector. You can install the software on physical or virtual Linux appliances that you manage, or purchase it pre-installed and configured on a hardware appliance for the lowest-friction path to SASE connectivity. Plug the device into your existing network and you’ll be automatically connected to and secured by the Cloudflare network within minutes.

And open source to make it even easier

We’re excited to make access to these capabilities available to all kinds of organizations, including those who want to DIY more aspects of their network deployments. To do this, we’ll be open sourcing the Magic WAN Connector software, so customers can even more easily connect to Cloudflare’s network from existing hardware.

Part of a growing family of on-ramps

In addition to introducing the Magic WAN Connector today, we’re continuing to grow the options for how customers can connect to us using existing hardware. We are excited to expand our Network On-Ramp partnerships to include leading networking companies Cisco,  and SonicWall, joining previous partners Aruba, VMWare, and Arista, to help you onboard traffic to Cloudflare smoothly.

Customers can connect to us from appliances offered by these vendors using either Anycast GRE or IPSec tunnels. Our partners have validated their solutions and tested that their networking hardware can connect to Cloudflare using these standards. To make setup easier for our mutual customers, detailed configuration instructions will be available soon at both the Cloudflare Developer Docs and partner websites.

If you are a networking solutions provider and are interested in becoming a Network On-Ramp partner, please reach out to us.

Ready to start building the future of your corporate network?

We’re beyond excited to get the Magic WAN Connector into customer hands and help you jumpstart your transition to SASE. Learn more and sign up for early access here.

We protect entire corporate networks, help customers build Internet-scale applications efficiently, accelerate any website or Internet application, ward off DDoS attacks, keep hackers at bay, and can help you on your journey to Zero Trust.

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CIO WeekCloudflare OneZero TrustNaaSMagic WAN Connector

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Annika Garbers|@annikagarbers

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