The IT world is currently having a lot of debates going on regarding SD-Wan and MPLS. We see that currently MPLS or multiprotocol label switching is also a traditional WAN via SD-Wan or Software-Defined Wide Area Networking. Then is SD-Wan the MPLS killer?
Many companies or corporations are using SD-Wan to reduce costs, flexibility, deployment capabilities, as well as options for increased security. Even so, SD-Wan is an indirect MPLS killer.
MPLS is a type of data carrier technique for high-performance telecommunication networks. Meanwhile, SD-WAN simplifies WAN management and operation by separating network hardware from its control mechanisms.
The MPLS vs SD-WAN comparison focuses on four main areas:
- Loss and availability of packages
- Quality of Service (QoS)
The advantages and disadvantages of SD-WAN and MPLS
- Loss and Availability of Packages
The biggest advantage for MPLS is in sending data packages and providing high QoS. MPLS excels at this while managing packet loss, which is beneficial for those interested in real-time protocols such as Voice Over IP (VOIP), video conferencing and virtual desktops. Even though MPLS networks are a shared infrastructure, they still provide very reliable packet delivery.
- Service quality
Sending packages using the internet can increase quite significantly thanks to SD-WAN. Before QoS can even be considered, the network must control packet loss issues. In other words, QoS prioritized packages are not effective over the internet. A common approach that most customers use to avoid packet loss is to take advantage of two different links, broadband and cellular, from two unique internet providers. This is where the advantages of SD-WAN come into play. Redundancy and flexibility give customers two unique access points to the internet that provide the same MPLS durability for half the price.
MPLS has a fairly strong level of security because it uses a unique design. Each MPLS is created as a Closed User Group (CUG). In a solution using MPLS only nodes on that network can read and access data on that network. On the other hand, the internet does not have such a mechanism to do so, let alone the ability to secure data that opens up the possibility of breaches and security holes.
For the downside, MPLS is usually not encrypted and requires additional steps to secure connectivity. This requires staff with an understanding of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), etc. If you need a little extra security, SD-WAN not only uses the internet to transport data, it also provides a convenient solution for securing data sent over the internet using secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Don’t get me wrong, internet configuration can be tricky, but SD-WAN takes care of it by simplifying configuration through the use of tunneling, allowing for faster processing than MPLS.
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