When designing a network to connect central and far-flung offices, IT leaders are presented with two core choices. One is a Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) overlay, and the other is Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology with routers.
To understand which option better meets your network needs today and tomorrow, it's crucial you understand the key difference between the solutions. SD-WANs are service-provider agnostic. In contrast, MPLS requires enterprises to use the same service provider at all locations.
A Quick Look at Both Technologies
SD-WAN uses a software-defined approach as an overlay to connect multiple LANs (Local Area Networks). SD-WAN does not require special routers. The tech sends data via internet links for optimal performance. SD-WAN offers application-aware routing to direct data across the network foundation.
In contrast, MPLS routes network traffic using a label-switched path approach. An MPLS network increases the speed and control of data across pre-set network routes using specialized hardware routers.
The Difference Between SD-WAN and MPLS
When evaluating network offerings, you need to fully understand the difference between SD-WAN and MPLS in ten core areas, as their strengths and weaknesses are important.
Tried-and-true MPLS technology has been used by enterprises for decades to establish and operate wide-area networks. However, with the ascendancy of the cloud, SD-WANs present an alternative that promises benefits in cost of use and flexibility.
In today's burgeoning network technology industry, SD-WAN and longer-established MPLS are vying for the tech and business minds of WAN architects across corporate America.