Being the first doesn’t guarantee you the best. This is the same case with MPLS. Multi protocol Label switching, MPLS, is a routing technique used to transfer data from one network to another. Using packet forwarding technology and labels to make data forwarding decisions definitely helps it sound phenomenal but also makes it costly.
MPLS has a long history that goes back to 1990 and has been an efficient replacement for the traditional IP routing. They work similar to routers and switches. MPLS lets you create a Virtual Private network (VPN), virtual private LAN services and virtual leased lines. It favours traffic separation. MPLS stands out in terms of its ease of transportation. It isn’t tied up to any particular protocol or transport medium but requires you to manage equipment on each end of the network.
SDWAN, Software defined wide area networking, came into existence and gained importance as the need for cloud-centric network solutions gained momentum. SDWAN offers better business productivity, assures enhanced user experience, data privacy and minimal IT equipment costs. SDWAN connects WAN connections such as broadband internet, 4G, LTE or MPLS. SDWAN, unlike the traditional router centric WAN architecture, is cloud-friendly. SDWAN is build in such a way that it supports applications hosted in on-premise data centers, public or private clouds and SaaS solutions such as Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Office365 etc. None of this comprises the high end performance SDWAN is capable of.
SDWAN has rapidly increased recognition and replaced networks with with its exceptional features like visibility, scalability, performance and control. But most importantly, in addition to all the benefits guaranteed, SDWAN comes at a lower cost. Aren’t these enough reasons for companies counting on flexible, open, cloud-based WAN technologies for choosing SDWAN over MPLS? If that isn’t enough, there’s the security aspect to consider. SDWAN promises end-to-end encryption across the entire network of data. Authentication is guaranteed for all devices and end points. We know that almost all of the enterprises these days prefer to have a network security that amalgamates security, policy and orchestration. This is achieved by SDWAN. They do this by unifying secure connectivity.
MPLS offers traffic predictability but doesn’t come with built-in data protection. We all know how important security is to a business. This is undeniably one of the foremost reasons why Networking professionals suggest SDWAN over MPLS. Simple and tailored branch security cannot be guaranteed with MPLS all the time. MPLS can be fragile at times. There is a situation of complicated enterprise security and zero end-to-end encryption for MPLS. MPLS VPN is more secure than an internet connection because it acts like a virtual leased line. While MPLS can be encrypted, the MPLS data plane is not able to verify end to end encryption.
SDWAN can undoubtedly take over MPLS. SDWAN in simple terms can be quoted as the most economical solution to maintain connection stability during high network demand. SDWAN doesn’t demand any bandwidth penalties. With the increasing use and demand for high speed internet, enterprises are left with hardly any choices with MPLS.
There is another side to the entire pros and cons of SDWAN and MPLS. The good news is that, it is not always necessary to pick one among them. They have proven to be better off together too. Assured reliability by MPLS and the unbelievable operational costs of SDWAN wouldn’t be wishful thinking.
But if given a choice, the decision might be obvious by now. SDWAN it is. MPLS costs a fortune compared to SDWAN, that too with less security. Unless multi-location enterprise connectivity matters to your business, MPLS is a big no-no. After all, who doesn’t want high end performance at competitive prices?
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