SD-WAN vs. MPLS: Which one to choose?
There are some notable differences between SD-WAN and MPLS. A key difference is that SD-WAN is virtual and decoupled from physical links, whereas MPLS is a circuit. MPLS is more expensive than SD-WAN. MPLS prevents data packet loss and is better than SD-WAN when it comes to data packet loss prevention. The virtual nature of SD-WAN makes it more flexible than MPLS since SD-WAN allows connection types like broadband and LTE, etc.
Cost, security, and performance are the three pillars on which we will differentiate SD-WAN and MPLS.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a short form of software-defined Wide Area Network. A WAN is used to connect different geographical locations within a single network. SD-WAN is an improved and better version of WAN. The next generation of WAN. SD-WAN is better than WAN because it creates software-defined networks that are more scalable and flexible than WAN networks. A software-defined Wide Area Network uses different methods, including mobile networks, broadband internet, and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), to deliver high performance, reliable connectivity.
The working of SD-WAN is very efficient as it provides a single channel to applications that use it. SD-WAN also optimally distributes traffic on different transport links. SD-WAN is effective as it automatically detects traffic generated by specific applications. SD-WAN also chooses the best route for the generated traffic based on configured policies and priorities. This method ensures that high-priority applications get the network capacity to give optimal performance, and low-priority applications consume little network bandwidth.
Below are some types of SD-WAN:
- Internet-based SD-WAN
- Telco or MSP Managed Service SD-WAN
- SDWAN as-a-Service
What is MPLS?
MPLS stands for Multiprotocol Label Switching. Multiprotocol Label Switching technology helps to forward data. Multiprotocol Label Switching controls network traffic through a path via labels in Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). This method of data transfer saves from other complex ways, such as routing tables at every stop.
MPLS is not dependent on scalability and protocol. It assigns a label to every data packet before sending it.
Cost Comparison of SD-WAN vs. MPLS
SD-WAN and MPLS are very similar in that both are cost-efficient but in their way. SD-WAN and MPLS are compatible with many businesses as both of them are internet-based network solutions. SD-WAN reduces costs by using the public internet, so there is no need for dedicated internet lines. In the long run, it is less expensive to build the network on SD-WAN.
MPLS is cost-inefficient compared to SD-WAN because you need to backhaul network traffic to the data center for processing and redistribution. SD-WAN is more economical than MPLS. SD-WAN is gives optimized, multi-point connectivity. And it also controls points to provide users secure to the services they need.
Security comparison of SD-WAN vs. MPLS
MPLS has a fair advantage because it provides a secured link between the data center and branch offices. Digging deeper into MPLS reveals it does not give any data analysis of the data it delivers. You require a network firewall to inspect network traffic on an MPLS connection. Also, you need additional security features to make the network secure. Wherever you require a high level of privacy, MPLS proves to be the best option, as MPLS provides secure connections.
An example of this can be a process where transactions need to get completed. Integrity is paramount in such scenarios. MPLS is a better choice when security, confidentiality, and data integrity are primary, and cost efficiency is secondary.
SD-WAN has the same issue as MPLS: you need additional security features to make the connection more secure. SD-WAN only provides some basic network security features, and for better security, you pay additional costs.
Performance comparison of SD-WAN vs. MPLS
SD-WAN offers high-performance because it is cloud-based. SD-WAN is cloud-based, which means there is no latency issue because of geographical location. SD-WAN has features like dynamic path selection, quality of service, and application-aware routing. These features make SD-WAN a high-performance system. SD-WAN is necessary for organizations that require performance, reliability, scalability, and operational agility.
SD-WAN is much more effective when it comes to delivering at a high level. SD-WAN provides greater control over granular traffic. It can run over existing MPLS to increase working capacities.
On the flip side, as far as the performance of MPLS, it provides a flexible and reliable capacity. Because of unpredictable network performance requirements, MPLS sometimes needs to be leased for the worst-case scenarios. This means more bandwidth, which sometimes remains unused.
The MPLS connection can face issues due to consistently expanding data volumes.
Despite SD-WAN winning over MPLS in many areas, there are some cases in which MPLS is better than SD-WAN. Whenever you require a high level of privacy gets required, MPLS proves to be the best option as MPLS provides secure connections. An example of this can be a process where transactions get needed to process. Integrity is paramount in such scenarios. MPLS is a better choice when security, confidentiality, and data integrity are primary, and cost efficiency is secondary.
In contrast to MPLS, SD-WAN is far more flexible, more secure, and gives the ability to leverage several connections. SD-WAN provides greater control over granular traffic. SD-WAN can run over existing MPLS to increase working capacities. SD-WAN is necessary for organizations that require performance, reliability, scalability, and operational agility. SD-WAN is much more effective when it comes to delivering at a high level.