SD-WAN or MPLS: The Best Traffic Protocols

Having the right IT support setup can influence your performance. The right network infrastructure can help you achieve your objectives.

Organizations struggle to choose between multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) when improving their network infrastructure and traffic protocols. The right decision can ensure you have a robust and resilient network that helps you succeed.

Which is the right option for you?

Clients often ask Altera Solutions to recommend the right technology between SD-WAN and MPLS. Altera Solutions partners organizations with IT companies that provide the solutions they need.

This article will help you discover which option may be the right fit for your organization. It describes what each option is and looks at the pros and cons.


What Is SD-WAN?

An SD-WAN virtualizes the system functions that operate on the network setup to run as software on commodity devices. SD-WAN connections can be public networks or dedicated lines. In some designs, entities integrate an SD-WAN with MPLS among the SD-WAN links.

An SD-WAN’s visualized network overlay enables operators to scale with ease and manage it from remote locations. Developers of SD-WANs have adapted their design to the increased usage of cloud computing and mobile devices. They are among the latest technologies that can manage and optimize a wide area network.

Operators form SD-WANs by connecting a system of SD-WAN devices with encrypted tunnels. They also connect the appliances to some network services, such as a mix of MPLS and some internet services.

SD-WANs monitor the availability and performance of services that operators connect with them. It prioritizes traffic that reaches it after classifying it based on its application and sends it to the optimal network link.

SD-WANs secure, partition, and segment the traffic it monitors while crossing a network. They enable organizations to create manageable links through video, data, and voice solutions with their branches.

What Is MPLS?

MPLS operates like routers and switches. It sits between layers 2 and 3 — some people consider it as layer 2.5. MPLS uses labels and packet-forwarding technology to make data forwarding decisions. The label is between the Layer 3 (network) and Layer 2 (data link) headers.

MPLS controls the flow of traffic in a network. It helps deliver traffic to various points in a system based on their desired location, priority, and type.

MPLS uses predetermined paths that move traffic efficiently on private networks. This movement helps organizations to be confident their real-time traffic ends up in the right destination on time. MPLS uses a low latency route, so you can expect it to deliver the traffic satisfactorily.

Pros and Cons of SD-WAN

SD-WAN offers many benefits to organizations.

  • It Can Offer Increased Capacity at Lower Costs: You can enjoy this advantage by throttling apps with a lower priority and supplying network traffic for the best speeds.
  • It Can Help You Avoid Hiring Personnel for On-Site Manual Configuration: You can use its easy-to-use management console to manage the network from a central location.
  • It Offers a Variety of Options in Connection Type and Vendor Selection: You are likely to find one that works with your needs. The network can use private and public connections to route traffic.
  • You Will See Everything Using Its Controller.
  • Your Organization Will Enjoy Reliable Security Features: For example, you may use end-to-end encryption with SD-WAN. Its scalable key-exchange functionality and software-defined security will authenticate all devices and endpoints.

Your network’s reliability and performance may suffer if you use SD-WAN. These drops may happen because SD-WANs often use congested public internet connections to connect networks.

You may also struggle to adapt and integrate SD-WANs.

Your network can also face various threats since SD-WANs are not private networks. You may need to add extra security protocols and applications to the initial integration.

Pros and Cons of MPLS

MPLS can offer many benefits to your organization.

  1. It Can Provide Excellent Security: You use it to connect data centers and branch offices through a private network, so there may not be many risks.
  2. It Can Deliver Packets Reliably: Your organization can enjoy its ability to provide a consistent traffic flow with minimal packet loss. You may need it if you use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or other real-time protocols, as your communications may be unreliable with many interruptions without it.
  3. It Can Sort Through Your Network Traffic and Prioritize Various Flows of Information by Virtually Isolating Packets: You will predict your network’s traffic accurately with this ability.

MPLS can require expensive high-performance connections. It may also take more time to deploy, as some can take weeks or months.

MPLS is not ideal for cloud computing. They need to pull back their traffic to centralized access points before sending them to desired locations.

Which Option Should You Pick? Ultimately, you’ll make the final decision. Both options have distinct pros and cons. Consider them before choosing one. The right choice will depend on your network’s needs.

How Altera Solutions Can Help

Altera Solutions serves as an intermediary between organizations and IT companies. We have extensive networks, so we match clients with the provider that offers the IT solutions they need.

Altera Solutions can help you as you consider between SD-WAN and MPLS. We will link you with a reliable IT company offering the technology you pick. Our professionals can also help you make the right choice for your organization.

Are You Ready to Choose Between SD-WAN and MPLS?

Contact us today and let us help you pick the right technology that will help you improve your network’s performance and reliability.