SD-WAN Blog Post

5 Benefits of SD-WAN over MPLS

Traditional network architectures, such as MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), have long been the go-to for many organisations. However, businesses that are updating their network infrastructure should look at SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) as a more cost-effective way to manage and optimise their networks.

Challenges of Traditional WAN

SD-WAN - WAN Cable

Traditional WAN setups present several challenges that can hinder network performance and business growth:

  • Lack of Agility and Scalability: They require rigid, time-consuming configuration changes, making it hard to adapt quickly to evolving network needs.
  • Performance Issues: Traditional WANs often suffer from slow speeds, high latency, and inconsistent performance, especially with bandwidth-intensive applications like video conferencing.
  • Network Congestion: Without sophisticated traffic management, critical applications may not get the necessary bandwidth, leading to congestion and degraded user experience.
  • Complex Management: Managing and troubleshooting network issues is complex due to limited visibility into network traffic and application performance, resulting in significant downtime and resource-intensive diagnostics.

Understanding SD-WAN

SD-WAN - String Diagram

SD-WAN is a virtual WAN (Wide Area Network) architecture that leverages software-defined networking (SDN) to manage and direct traffic across the network. Unlike traditional WANs, which rely heavily on proprietary hardware, SD-WAN utilises a centralised control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This approach decouples the network management and monitoring functions from the physical hardware, offering unprecedented flexibility and control.

Key Benefits of SD-WAN

1. Cost Efficiency

One of the most compelling reasons to adopt SD-WAN is its potential for significant cost savings. Traditional MPLS networks often come with high operational costs due to the need for specialised hardware and high-cost service contracts. SD-WAN, on the other hand, utilises a variety of connection types, including broadband internet, LTE, and MPLS, to create a hybrid network. This approach allows businesses to leverage more cost-effective broadband connections without compromising on performance or reliability.

2. Enhanced Performance and Reliability

SD-WAN is designed to optimise application performance by dynamically routing traffic based on real-time network conditions. This application-aware routing ensures that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and low-latency connections, improving overall user experience. Additionally, SD-WAN’s ability to aggregate multiple connection types enhances redundancy and resilience, minimising the risk of downtime.

3. Simplified Management

With SD-WAN, network management becomes significantly simpler. The centralised control plane allows IT administrators to manage the entire network from a single interface, reducing the complexity associated with traditional WAN management. This centralisation also facilitates the rapid deployment of new sites and services, as configurations can be applied uniformly across the network.

4. Increased Flexibility and Scalability

SD-WAN provides unparalleled flexibility in network design and deployment. Businesses can easily scale their networks up or down to meet changing demands, and new sites can be brought online with minimal effort. This scalability is particularly beneficial for organisations with geographically dispersed locations or those experiencing rapid growth.

5. Integrated Security

Security is a critical concern for modern enterprises, and SD-WAN addresses this need with integrated security features. These include end-to-end encryption, secure tunnelling, and centralised security policy management. By embedding security directly into the network architecture, SD-WAN ensures that data is protected as it traverses the WAN, mitigating potential threats.

Why Choose SD-WAN Over MPLS?

SD-WAN - Balancing Rocks

Cost Considerations: While MPLS has been a reliable choice for many years, its high costs can be prohibitive, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises. SD-WAN offers a more affordable alternative by reducing reliance on expensive MPLS circuits and enabling the use of less costly broadband connections.

Performance Benefits: MPLS networks are often limited by fixed bandwidth allocations and static routing. SD-WAN’s dynamic routing capabilities ensure optimal performance by adapting to real-time network conditions and prioritising traffic based on application requirements.

Scalability: Expanding an MPLS network can be a complex and costly endeavour. In contrast, SD-WAN’s scalable architecture makes it easy to add new locations or increase bandwidth without significant investment in additional infrastructure.

Management and Control: The centralised management of SD-WAN simplifies network operations and reduces the administrative burden on IT teams. This is a stark contrast to the often fragmented and labour-intensive management processes associated with MPLS.

SD-WAN stands out as a transformative technology that meets the needs of growing organisations, offering a superior alternative to traditional MPLS networks. By adopting SD-WAN infrastructure, businesses can enhance their connectivity, improve application performance, and achieve greater operational efficiency.

SD-WAN from Marlin Communications

Choosing the correct data trafficking technology is dependent on your business’s requirements and at Marlin Communications we understand the importance of implementing the right changes for your organisation.

Our consultative and vendor-agnostic approach along with our expertise in SD-WAN solutions can help you navigate the complexities of modern networking and deliver a bespoke, future-proof infrastructure solution for your business.

Call 0800 032 8274 or click here to book a discovery call to assess your business’s requirements and future needs.

About Marlin Communications

Marlin Communications is an award-winning, leading provider of Unified Communications & collaboration solutions including voice, data, mobile, video, network security and contact centre technology for businesses of 50 – 5,000 staff.

We have clients across the south of England and in Europe and our own, on-premises, 1,000 ft² Technology Suite at our Bath office, where we host regular events and showcase technology solutions for our clients. Contact us for your free comms audit or product demo.

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