Technology never stands still. Remember those brick “cell phones” from the ’90s with an hour of battery life? Your smartphone today is several thousand times faster, able to do so much more, and almost certainly costs less. Over the past few years, digital has become increasingly important across businesses. That means it’s more important now than ever to have a fast, reliable, secure and effective network, connecting your offices, devices and data. Unfortunately, many businesses continue to use MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) networks for business phone systems and to connect centralized storage and servers to branch offices. In today’s world, continuing to use MPLS is a bit like continuing to use a brick phone. You have a next generation option that’s so much faster, cheaper and more flexible: SD-WAN implementations like VeloCloud.

Businesses today are rethinking their approach to WAN (wide-area networking) for a number of reasons: cost, security and ballooning bandwidth are key concerns, and MPLS networks are simply not able to deliver a scalable experience. A cloud-first approach like SD-WAN is built to meet 2021 business needs. What exactly is it? Why is SD-WAN replacing MPLS? And why does it matter to you? In this article, Affiliated Communications will walk you through the answers.

What Is SD-WAN? What’s MPLS?

First things first, before we get lost in acronyms. MPLS is short for multiprotocol label switching, and SD-WAN means software-defined wide area networking. Unless you’re the IT guy, that might still not mean a lot. It makes sense to look at what these 2 networking technologies do.

MPLS networks have been around for close to 20 years. Here’s how they work: telecom companies have physical hardware networks, legacy infrastructure that was built decades ago. They offer businesses dedicated access, usually through a T1 or T3 line, allowing you to connect, for instance, your on-premise servers to branch office locations. Dedicated access comes at a steep cost, however. T3 connectivity can cost thousands of dollars a month. High setup and operational costs mean that MPLS rarely scales well across a large number of endpoints.

SD-WAN, as the name suggests, is software-defined. Instead of running on ancient, hardware-based private network infrastructure, SD-WAN options like VMware VeloCloud provide secure and fast connectivity over the internet. When you migrate to an SD-WAN, these are some key advantages you’ll benefit from:

  • Significantly higher bandwidth, allowing you to scale intensive applications like video conferencing
  • Up to 10x more cost effective than a conventional MPLS connection
  • Better traffic monitoring
  • Greater security and protection from cyberthreats

Why does this matter? What specific problems does SD-WAN solve for Texas organizations?

Lower your operating costs

SD-WAN implementations are up to 10 times more cost-effective than MPLS. This means you can substantially cut network costs, especially as you scale up your networking needs. For small and medium businesses, migrating from MPLS to SD-WAN alone could free up a substantial amount of monthly cashflow that you can direct to your core business needs.

Enhanced scalability

More and more business applications are internet based and bandwidth intensive, especially SaaS solutions like Microsoft 365, Salesforce and other cloud services. From a stability perspective, SD-WAN is absolutely critical as you leverage the cloud and move businesses to the internet. Additional bandwidth, better disaster recovery and more make scaling up a seamless process when you’re on SD-WAN.

Avoid falling into the “double bandwidth” trap

There’s no avoiding the internet. Even if you have an MPLS network for your internal network, you’ll have internet connectivity alongside for communication and for running SaaS apps. What happens when you need to access internet services from an endpoint that’s connected over MPLS? You’ll end up using both network types and paying for wasted bandwidth. SD-WAN means unified communications: you’ll be able to leverage the internet for secure connectivity between your devices and offices, without the need to spend more on wasted bandwidth.

Better monitoring and insights

With an MPLS network, you aren’t able to extract insights about traffic – even something as fundamental as whether a line is down or not. With SD-WAN, on the other hand, rich analytics insights mean better network monitoring, better security and quicker turnaround when something goes wrong.

Security can be better than MPLS

But the traffic’s going across the internet! Yes, it is, and with the right security and encryption it’s potentially more secure for your business than MPLS over a private connection. End-to-end encryption means that your data is safe from prying eyes on an SD-WAN network. Limited monitoring capabilities are a drawback here for MPLS, and you’ll still need to set up additional hardware and security measures, including firewalls. SD-WANs simplify this process, and a secure implementation will often give you better protection out of the box than MPLS, even if your traffic is “going across the internet.”

How Affiliated Communications Can Help with Your SD-WAN Game Plan

Here at Affiliated Communications, we’ll guide you every step of the way on the path to high speed, reliable and secure networking. This means migrating from MPLS to SD-WAN won’t be a challenge – the biggest changes you’ll notice are better bandwidth and lower operating costs. Here’s how we’ll make that happen:

Reach out to us today! Let’s set up a consultation call and get you started with your migration to SD-WAN!