Moving from MPLS to SD WAN: Benefits & Considerations for Migration

As the workforce grows more decentralized and more employees work remotely, more companies are ditching their MPLS networks and adopting SDWAN. But there are plenty of factors to consider when transitioning from MPLS to SDWAN. First, we will look at some of the benefits of an SD-WAN network and how it can benefit a business.

Moving from MPLS to SD WAN

What is MPLS?

MPLS, an acronym for Multi-protocol label switching, has been used for networking for over 20 years. MPLS sends traffic on a predetermined path and can connect remote workers to headquarters. This type of network can send applications and other data from the headquarters to remote workers.

The primary advantage of MPLS is its operation is handled entirely by the carrier. Leaving it in the carrier's hands means that the IT staff is not responsible for managing the network, unlike VPNs or point-to-point links.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN, short for software-defined wide area network, differentiates itself from other architectures by being software-based. SD-WAN uses both private networks and the internet to connect offices across large geographical regions. In simple terms, it can allow remote offices to use applications and resources from a company's home base of operations.

According to the General Services Administration, many private businesses and public sector offices have started transitioning to SD-WAN architecture. MTI College says SD-WAN is a secure way to conduct day-to-day operations.

Top 4 Benefits of SD WAN Over MPLS

So why transition from MPLS to SD WAN? SD-WAN provides several benefits for both the company and remote workers.

1. Simplicity

Where MPLS is decades-old architecture and a headache to set up, SD-WAN is relatively easy for IT departments to get operational. And once the setup is complete, SD-WAN is easy to maintain and customize in real-time.

In SD-WAN architectures, the system manages all devices centrally. Managers can change permissions and security in real-time. SD-WAN also allows for more automation options, allowing for a more efficient workflow.

Adding to SD-WAN is much easier than its MPLS counterpart. Extending an MPLS network requires paying for a new location to be erected, which can be costly and wastes time. Expanding SD-WAN is much simpler, as the expansion can be handled through multiple different channels and not just one ISP.

2. Performance

SD-WAN is highly efficient and customizable. It provides a better user experience for employees and can get resources to the right people more quickly. Companies can configure SD-WAN to prioritize critical traffic to the business and steer it through the most efficient route.

SD-WAN is managed by the company rather than by the telecom provider in MPLS. While this does add more work, it also adds more control over how a network is maintained. It also allows for faster implementations of changes. In MPLS systems, users must interact with their internet service provider before making changes, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

3. Costs

As more businesses move into cloud-based solutions, costs begin to rise with the increase in data moving around. SD-WAN attempted to mitigate these rising costs by using local Internet access, direct cloud access, and reducing the traffic on the WAN. By leveraging multiple avenues for traffic, SD-WAN can save companies money in the long term.

SD-WAN is not always cheaper than MPLS, but in many cases, it is. Its flexibility in sending lower-priority traffic through more affordable options makes it invaluable for companies to move a large amount of data on a day-to-day basis.

4. Security

Cybersecurity events have become more common in recent years, and many companies find themselves looking for secure methods of conducting business. Because it is a highly flexible and customizable architecture, SD-WAN can provide many options for businesses to remain safe. 

Top 3 Considerations When Moving from MPLS to SD Wan

Uprooting and creating a new network architecture for a business is a big decision. Any company considering the transition from MPLS to SDWAN should consider a few things before taking the plunge.

1. Network Requirements

Before making any changes, it is essential to know your daily bandwidth usage first. You will have to determine every application you will want to put on SD-WAN and then estimate the bandwidth requirements of all of them, which can be somewhat inaccurate and time-consuming. However, it can assist companies in deciding if a move to SD-WAN is cost-effective.

2. Quality of Service vs. Quality of Experience

MPLS provides a quality of service guarantee from the telecom provider. Because they handle the network, they can guarantee an experience that is almost entirely free of latency. These carriers also provide service level agreements that guarantee 99.9% satisfaction with the network's speed and reliability.

SD-WAN promises quality of experience, a group of rules set by the network administrator. These rules determine how traffic is routed throughout peak times of network congestion for a business. Though, it is not a contractually backed guarantee, unlike the MPLS quality of service.

3. SD-WAN Provider

SD-WAN comes in two forms: managed and unmanaged. Unmanaged networks are handled entirely by the company purchasing the service, while managed providers handle some of the networks' operations. Choosing the right provider can make a big difference in the quality of experience for SD-WAN.

Not all managed networks are the same, however. Before jumping into a managed network with an SD-WAN provider, ensure you know the services provided. Some SD-WAN providers will manage most aspects of the network, while others will only handle certain parts of the network.

When looking for a managed SD-WAN, you should know the most important applications you use for business. With that information in hand, you can find an SD-WAN provider that will prioritize features that benefit these applications. For instance, if you handle a lot of traffic from voice or video applications, it is vital to prioritize an SD-WAN that focuses on avoiding latency problems. Voice and video programs are especially vulnerable to lag.

Conclusion:

SD-WAN architecture provides many benefits for companies who transition to it. Its increased flexibility and user control allow businesses to prioritize the most critical network traffic. Transitioning from MPLS to SDWAN is a potentially money-saving move that can bring any business to the cutting edge.

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TechGlobeX: Moving from MPLS to SD WAN: Benefits & Considerations for Migration
Moving from MPLS to SD WAN: Benefits & Considerations for Migration
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