SMOAD Networks

February 23, 2022

Why MPLS is fading away and how SD-WAN is replacing the throne?

Before getting into the debate of whether SD-WAN will replace MPLS, let us first understand the difference between the two network technologies and how it impacts the networking landscape. So, let’s get started!

The differences

  • MPLS or Multiprotocol label switching is an underlay technology that provides connectivity for the SD-WAN network. On the contrary, SD-WAN uses overlay technology.
  • While MPLS is static as it uses hardware routers, SD-WAN is dynamic offering real-time changes upon changing environment.
  • MPLS connects sites to the private WAN system, while SD-WAN connects sites to multiple connection circuits by offering internet, among other technologies
  • Except in the UK, MPLS is found to be expensive when compared to internet connectivity. To combat this, SD-WAN is used to combine internet with private connectivity at a fraction of the cost.

MPLS and SD-WAN are not similar but still, it is right to say that the latter will replace the former. Remember that there is a need for underlay in the process. So, can we say that SD-WAN will kill MPLS? Well, the answer is, it might.

The main criteria for enterprises while choosing a technology is cost. SD-WAN comes at a much lesser cost compared to MPLS, especially when it comes to huge international networks. SD-WAN is versatile for cloud migration. For those enterprises running their solutions on the cloud, the performance of MPLS does not matter a great deal. But for those real-time applications run over highly utilized circuits the major concern would be latency and packet loss. At this point, the internet may not be sufficient.

In another scenario where you are running an MNC with hundreds of branches in overseas locations then it would be a wise decision to move your traffic from MPLS to SD-WAN. But if you have domestic branches, whether it is MPLS or SD-WAN it doesn’t make a big difference in cost but in connectivity, there could be some major difference.

Why choose SD-WAN over MPLS?
Analyzing four key areas you can conclude which network technology to choose.
1. Delivering data packets and high QoS is the advantage of MPLS. The network manages packet loss which is crucial for real-time protocols like Voice Over IP (VOIP), virtual computers and video conferencing. Despite being a shared infrastructure, MPLS delivers data packets reliably.

2. SD-WAN has taken packet delivery to a whole new plane. Even before entering into QoS, the network needs to take control of packet loss. The whole process of QoS prioritizing packets does not have any impact if it does not travel via the internet. To prevent packet loss, two different links are necessary. This is where broadband and 4G LTE plays a pivotal role and SD-WAN helps in achieving this goal. SD-WAN provides flexibility and redundancy with the same resilience as MPLS but at 50% of the cost.

3. MPLS is made as a Closed User Group (CUG) hence it comes with a higher level of security despite running on a shared network. In MPLS, the nodes read and access the data whereas the internet does not provide any such mechanism leaving the line exposed to threats, where customization is required to plug the holes.

4. MPLS is not encrypted and only experts with knowledge of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), etc. can sort out the issue. SD-WAN is the ideal solution if you are looking for security for transporting data over the internet, securely. The use of tunnelling makes the device configuration simplified, leading to faster processing by SD-WAN.

Benefits of SD-WAN
When applications do not require routing or high security, SD-WAN can enable a quick VPN setup to initiate traffic segmentation at the edge by moving the traffic to the cloud. For a robust security option, customizing can be done on a case-to-case basis.

SMOAD SD-WAN solutions
At SMOAD we use over-the-counter components as network devices for SD-WAN solutions. The network is defined at the software level as a network overlay. The whole process of installation, management and upgrades are done at the branch offices offering centralized management with frequent updates at affordable cost. Using SMOAD SD-WAN you can aggregate bandwidth across mobile uplinks as a network overlay. It ensures seamless traffic and high bandwidth.

Call us for a demo today!