Is SD-WAN a replacement to MPLS

Is SD-WAN a replacement for MPLS?

You’ve probably noticed that we’re bringing up SD-WAN regularly at the moment across our blogs, socials and also on our website.  Well, it is the buzzword of the moment in networking, so we’re currently advising our customers if SD-WAN would be beneficial to their business and its digital transformation.

Let’s face it SD-WAN is a fantastic technology; however, it may not be the right solution for all businesses.

We know one of the main questions that our customers are most interested in discovering after they begin to understand the technology is whether SD-WAN is a replacement for MPLS?

So, read on to find out a bit more and our explanation of how we don’t see it as a replacement, but as a supplement.

Before we begin addressing the overriding question, we will look to some brief descriptions:

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN or Software Defined-Wide Area Networking is a software defined method as a way to manage your wide area networks, meaning they can be centrally managed on consoles which control your network connectivity, using software.

What is MPLS?

MPLS, which stands for multi-protocol label switching is a routing technique within networks that directs data across connections by taking multiple short paths between nodes, rather than an extended pathway featuring long network addresses.

Is SD-WAN a replacement for MPLS?

We would categorically say no, we don’t see SD-WAN as a replacement for MPLS, we see it as a supplement, which allows you enhanced control across your security and applications.  When you implement a successful SD-WAN solution into your networking, it transforms your digital journey, keeping MPLS as the foundation of your connectivity, in essence connecting all your sites.

When SD-WAN is introduced in addition to MPLS at each individual location it will enrich application and security control.

When a robust MPLS network, with highly reliable and consistent connectivity is complemented with SD-WAN it creates new levels of visibility, control and responsiveness.

SD-WAN delivers high level connectivity checks by monitoring performance against your user-defined systems of measurement.

This approach is important because the traffic can be directed between any WAN connections which aren’t working efficiently, in effect not meeting user-defined service levels, however it mustn’t be mistaken that it will improve connectivity quality.

If you don’t have a strong MPLS network as the underpinning of your connectivity, then you won’t get any improvements in user experience or performance by solely implementing SD-WAN.

What is the difference between SD-WAN & MPLS?

SD-WAN is internet connectivity as opposed to private connectivity with MPLS, with SD-Wan being deployed on individual sites, being centrally configured to ensure consistent connection, ensuring that it’s performing.

If user metrics are not being met- you can move over to another connection, not to mention the advantage that SD-WAN benefits from having the built-in security, for both internal and external security, however this does need to be considered to ensure that the multiple internet access points are secured.

SD-WAN can be deployed to any new sites and as they are centrally configured and managed, they don’t require any extensive set up as the set-up is done at the off-set.

MPLS is a technology which connects private sites, branches, data centres and public cloud into your private network, before breaking out through the data centre and they are both configurable and flexible, allowing your business to make decisions based upon your requirements, i.e. broadband or ethernet connectivity, with MPLS it’s a scalable solution which prioritises the features that you need the most, whether that’s security, latency, bandwidth, resilience or all of the above, as well as make recommendations for other additions, including DDoS protection and cutting edge firewalls to boost your security even further.

In conclusion, there may have been times when you’ve had incidents when you’ve had reduced performance or exhausted bandwidth has occurred, which may have had a negative impact on your business, which is where SD-WAN could be a consideration as SD-WAN has better bandwidth utilisation and is overall a smart supplement to MPLS.

There we have it, we hope this post has provided you with a little bit more in-depth knowledge.

To discuss further and to enquire how Data Installation & Supplies can support you across your digital journey please contact us 01274 869 099 or


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