SD-WAN vs. MPLS: Key Considerations for Your Global Enterprise Network


Enterprises and service providers worldwide are rethinking how wide-area networking (WAN) services should be deployed. The market has changed due to a variety of long-term trends in the information technology (IT) and communications markets, demanding more flexible and affordable access to cloud applications. One of the biggest challenges for enterprises today is managing their WAN costs. Increasing demand for cloud applications, ballooning bandwidth needs, and expanding branch offices and international locations all present a challenge in managing costs. In this special report, we take a look at how new trends in the WAN and the cloud, emerging software-defined global WAN (SD-WAN) networks can be used to replace and augment existing MPLS services for enterprise connectivity – and reduce WAN costs.

Is it Time to Replace Your MPLS?

There are significant advantages to moving away from legacy WAN technologies such as MPLS. These include:

  • Moving to open hardware models rather than being held captive to proprietary equipment.
  • Taking advantage of an as-a-service model to manage and deploy software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services via the cloud.
  • Lowering both capital expense (CapEx) and operating expense (OpEx) through the use of commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS) and optimising lower-cost WAN links including public
    Internet broadband.

Modern SD-WAN models for connecting the WAN directly to the cloud across optimised links also provide gains in flexibility, security, applications performance, and management. A global SD-WAN can now be implemented as a network as a service (NaaS) to adapt to constantly shifting bandwidth needs and connectivity to cloud applications.

How Cloud has Changed the Enterprise WAN

The biggest driver toward a new global WAN is the growth in the cloud, which is forcing corporations and other organisations to rethink their private networks.

For decades, enterprises built private data centers and then connected these assets with private WAN links, using legacy protocols such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS).

While MPLS is built to secure these point-to-point links between enterprise branch offices and data centers, it’s not designed to connect to the public cloud. In fact, the use of MPLS can dramatically increase the costs of cloud access by forcing enterprises to backhaul cloud traffic to their data centers as user demand builds on the private network.

Despite the advantages of MPLS, times change. The new trend is cloud and cloud connectivity. As Aryaka recently showed it its “State of the WAN” report, cloud services and SaaS applications now make up nearly 50% of all enterprise WAN traffic, highlighting the importance of the cloud in the way business is conducted globally today.

The benefits of SD-WAN include:

  • Reducing the costs of WAN connectivity costs by leveraging lower-cost services such as Internet broadband or by optimising the use of private lines.
  • Lowering the costs of CPE hardware with the use of merchant silicon-based equipment and standard hardware.
  • Providing OpEx benefits with cloud-based management
  • Speeding service agility by offering provisioning in the cloud
  • Automated management of SD-WAN routing in the cloud
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in and proprietary hardware
  • Using analytics to drive intelligence, dynamic traffic prioritisation, and load balancing
  • Built-in WAN optimisation and security
  • Increased performance of cloud applications such as SaaS
  • Broadband link redundancy leveraging public Internet connections

Download the Full White Paper Here

To learn more about SD-WAN solutions, please contact our team at or 1300 436 110.