Product / Technology

SD-WAN vs. MPLS: Build Your Business Case for Network Transformation

The Future of WAN is Software-Defined

by Frontier Business, Frontier Business Contributor

Published Nov 05, 2019

Networks today are experiencing unprecedented levels of traffic. As increasing numbers of users and devices access more and more applications hosted on multiple clouds, legacy WAN links like MPLS are showing the strain: They’re slow to adapt to the changing needs of businesses, unable to prioritize data at the application level, and too expensive to manage and maintain. 

By contrast, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) provides reliable bandwidth and the ability to manage, scale and rapidly adjust your network to meet changing business needs. For these and other reasons, IT leaders are making strong cases for migrating to SD-WAN. Here’s some food for thought on the topic.

SD-WAN represents the next generation of WAN. Its architecture is transport-agnostic, so you can carry traffic over all kinds of network links—broadband internet, Ethernet, 4G, LTE and MPLS, for example. That flexibility lets you cost-effectively mix and match according to the type and priority of traffic. Even better, SD-WAN gives you the centralized visibility you need to manage your network, prioritize bandwidth and gain end-to-end control over the WAN.

How to Identify the Right Network Link

To capitalize on the efficiency gains you’ll get with SD-WAN, you need to choose the right underlying transport link (or links) to transmit your data securely and efficiently. 

  • Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is a popular routing technique for enterprise-level WANs. Developed in the 1990s, it sends information via a private network partitioned from the public internet. MPLS:
  • Is a secure and reliable way to transmit packets, but also a pricey one. With internet users increasingly interested in bandwidth-hogging applications like video streaming and virtual reality, its high per-megabit cost can be prohibitive.
  • Is well-suited to traditional hardware-based networks, but expensive and inflexible in the face of dynamic high-bandwidth demands and rapid cloud adoption.
  • Has long, manually intensive deployment times that can affect your ability to scale.
  • SD-WAN combined with Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL) is a compelling alternative to MPLS. Here’s why:
  • It offers low-latency, high-throughput, private connectivity and an SLA at a much lower cost per megabit than MPLS, without compromising security, reliability or performance.
  • It delivers the power of Ethernet along with the agility, end-to-end visibility and control of software-defined networking.
Choose Your Network Migration Strategy

If you’re considering migrating from MPLS to EVPL or another connectivity link with SD-WAN, you have three options:

  • Augment MPLS with EVPL and public internet.
  • Rip and replace” MPLS with EVPL and public internet.
  • As most companies prefer, phase migration from MPLS to EVPL and public internet as budgets allow.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll be better off than if you stick with your current MPLS network. It simply isn’t cost-effective or efficient to continue to rely on traditional MPLS networks to handle today’s bandwidth demands. SD-WAN can help your business manage, scale and rapidly adjust to changing business conditions while improving network performance and reducing overall infrastructure costs. 

Need to build a case to convince others in your organization? Read the E-Book Developing the Business Case for SD-WAN for powerful facts that explain why SD-WAN is such a compelling alternative to MPLS. 

Looking for a deeper dive? You can also reach out to your Frontier sales representative at 844-515-8315 for access to our SD-WAN EVPL ROI tool that has been developed to complete the business case for MPLS vs. Ethernet Virtual Private Line. Frontier works to complete the analysis and deliver a report that provides the ROI details so you can make an informed decision while planning your network transformation strategy.