6 Reasons to Consider SD-WAN Over MPLS

by | July 20, 2023

Connectivity has never been more important for a business than it is now. It is a critical component for business operations, customer engagement, sustainable growth, and more.  To do this, however, you need reliable network services on your side. Reliable network service allows your employees to connect whether they’re in the same office or miles apart. It also allows your customers to connect with your staff quickly and easily.

Two of the more popular connectivity options for companies to choose from are SD-WAN and MPLS. But what is the difference between these network solutions? Does one prove more beneficial than the other? The main difference is virtualization. MPLS generally has to run on its own hardware, whereas SD-WAN can be run as software from essentially any internet-enabled device.

This distinction of virtualization, sets SD-WAN apart, offering greater flexibility and accessibility in network deployment and management. There are other advantages to switching to SD-WAN depending on your organization’s requirements, budget, and network infrastructure. The following are six reasons why SD-WAN could be the right solution for you:

1. Bandwidth

Bandwidth is what determines how much your network can handle at one time. In the case of your office, you need to have all your employees using the internet at the same time. If you have a hundred people working in your office every day, this can be a lot for your internet to handle. One of the benefits of SD-WAN is its higher bandwidth compared to MPLS. MPLS works just fine for simple internet functions, but many companies are relying on larger files such as audio and video. MPLS simply doesn’t allow for the bandwidth needed to support these files online. SD-WAN, however, doesn’t use as much bandwidth to run. This gives it the space it needs to run these larger files.

2. Performance

SD-WAN offers superior performance compared to MPLS due to its flexible bandwidth capabilities. While MPLS does have some degree of flexibility, it struggles to accurately gauge the bandwidth requirements of specific applications. For example, bandwidth-intense activities like video streaming demand more resources than simple email communication. When accessing content at home, it might take longer for images to load compared to plain text. Your internet must adapt quickly for these features to load quickly. MPLS has a much harder time with this because it isn’t programmed to understand how much bandwidth any given program needs. As a result, SD-WAN can deliver better performance overall.

3. Security

Security is critical to your business, and you have an obligation to keep your customers’ information secure. Neither MPLS nor SD-WAN is very good at security on its own, so no matter which you choose, you’ll need additional security considerations to keep your devices secure. When paired with external security, however, SD-WAN can keep businesses better protected from hackers and denial-of-service attacks than MPLS. SD-WAN gives you more visibility and control over central IT management, so you don’t have to worry about hackers or viruses getting into your network when you pair MPLS networks and SD-WAN together. In a previous blog, we identify good, better, and best cybersecurity strategies to help navigate the priorities of how to approach protecting your digital infrastructure.

4. Geographic Limitations

The pros and cons of MPLS are tied together in the aspect of geographic location. MPLS is very good at managing deliverables across a network. It senses traffic patterns that happen across your business so it can easily send packets across your network. Things get more complicated when you need to send packets outside of your network or to a satellite office. It can take a lot more bandwidth and time to get the job done in this case. SD-WAN has a lot more flexibility, allowing it to handle sending packets both inside and outside of your network.  

5. User Experience

The most important thing you can do for your business is to provide great user experiences for your employees and customers. It’s the easiest way to ensure customer satisfaction. The happier your customers are, the faster you can expand your business.

All the features listed above are excellent ways to ensure a pleasant user experience. It requires good bandwidth, performance, and security. Most experts agree that SD-WAN delivers a better overall user experience than MPLS.

6. Cost

Switching from MPLS to SD-WAN offers cost benefits such as lower connectivity expenses, elimination of backhaul, dynamic traffic routing, simplified network management, enhanced application performance, and improved scalability and flexibility. SD-WAN utilizes more affordable links, optimizes network resources, and provides centralized management, resulting in reduced costs for connectivity, operational overhead, and potential bandwidth upgrades. Moreover, SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize critical applications and adapt to changing business needs enhances user productivity and satisfaction. Specific cost savings will depend on size of the network, current MPLS expenses, available broadband options, and the deployment model chosen for SD-WAN (managed service or in-house). A cost analysis is recommended before making the switch.

Get SD-WAN for Your Business Today

SD-WAN is a reliable network solution, delivering improved performance and stability over MPLS. UPSTACK helps you source SD-WAN solutions that improve network performance, redundancy and security while reducing costs and complexity. To learn more about the benefits, visit our SD-WAN solutions page.