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MPLS vs SD-WAN: Understanding the Key Differences

By October 7, 2020No Comments5 min read

Scaling applications and business requirements are putting a lot of pressure on existing networks. Most IT professionals are struggling with the pace.

Companies were generally using MPLS or Multiprotocol Label Switching for WAN networks. However, SD-WAN networks are slowly becoming the new standard. Most IT professionals think that SD-WAN networks are more effective when compared to traditional solutions. The choice will ultimately depend on your business priorities. In this article, we are going to talk about MPLS and SD-WAN.

Definition of MPLS:

Multiprotocol Label Switching is a data-carrying protocol. You can use MPLS for managing your traffic between two different locations. It is mostly used only in high-performing networks. MPLS uses packet forwarding and labels technology. It is a very good option for preventing packet loss. Most companies in the telecommunication industry are using MPLS. The use cases of MPLS are evolving with time.

Advantages of MPLS:

  1. Better Quality of Service

SD-WAN solutions are offering various amazing features like QoE or quality of experience. However, these solutions actually don’t guarantee the best performance. Most applications can handle different types of network solutions. However, some video and voice applications can suffer from packet loss. MPLS is offering QoS or quality of service for these applications. It is the best technology for monitoring networks.

  1. Reduce packet losses

If you are using WAN, then you are using the public internet. Thus, you need to deal with packet loss, latency, and jitters. MPLS configurations can help you in boosting your network performance. If you are using real-time protocols like virtual networks, VoIP, and video conferencing, then MPLS is the best option for you. It will ensure that traffic is always flowing. MPLS is actually more reliable when compared to the SD-WAN. It mainly focuses on packet forwarding and labels. Thus, it will isolate the different traffic. Your business network will work smoothly even if there are too many clients on your networks.

  1. Secure network

MPLS networks provide better security when compared to SD-WAN networks. It only uses private communication. Thus, sensitive traffic is completely protected from the attackers. Also, it is offering unlimited scalability to its users.

Disadvantages of MPLS:

  1. Require expertise

It is not easy to keep up with the bandwidth demands of MPLS networks. You need IT expertise for managing this complex network. If your business is using too much bandwidth every month, then you should consider working with an MPLS provider as the costs will eventually come down.

  1. High bandwidth cost

The main disadvantage of MPLS is that you need to deal with high bandwidth costs. Most of the internet content is actually in media format. Thus, you need a lot of bandwidth for consuming this content. MPLS actually cost 200 times more than a normal broadband connection. Most business leaders are moving towards SD-WAN due to the high costs of MPLS networks.

Definition of SD-WAN:

If you are looking for a flexible, affordable, and open WAN technology, then you should use SD-WAN. Most businesses have already switched to the new SD-WAN technology.

SD-WAN will bring join all the layers of connection like LTE, phone systems, and MPLS into a single software. The best thing about SD-WAN is that the broadband allocation is flexible in this. Thus, it is less costly when compared to the traditional MPLS technology. However, you should check the advantages and disadvantages of SD-WAN before moving to it.

Advantages of SD-WAN:

  1. Affordable Bandwidth

The best thing about SD-WAN is that it is affordable when compared to MPLS. Thus, you can save a lot of money by using this latest technology. SD-WAN actually use multiple internet connections. Thus, it will reduce the cost of the circuit.

  1. Better Security

Most businesses prefer integrated policy, orchestration, and security. SD-WAN network can easily support this. It will also provide encryption to your entire network.

  1. Cloud apps

Most modern businesses are using cloud-based apps for doing their daily tasks. SD-WAN can directly support these applications. This will reduce traffic in your data center location. Also, it will ensure that your entire traffic won’t flow through a single point.

  1. Scalability

If you are using SD-WAN, then you don’t need to worry about any upfront investment. It is a cloud-based solution. Thus, you can easily add a new location. It is easy to add a new location in the SD-WAN network. This technology will also enhance your global availability. It will also minimize the manual configurations.

  1. Flexibility

MPLS is actually very flexible as you have to use the same ISP in every location. SD-WAN will ensure that you can work with different ISP providers. If you are using SD-WAN, then you can switch to connections like 4G LTE. These connections will act as backup.

Disadvantages of SD-WAN:

Reliability is the main issue with SD-WAN technology. You might need to deal with downtime if you are using SD-WAN technology. If your IPS is providing a reliable connection, then your business operations will work perfectly. You can use SD-WAN for connecting to the cloud network. However, you need to deal with issues like packet loss and latency.


SD-WAN networks are considered as a better option for growing businesses. If your business doesn’t depend on real-time apps, then you should go for SD-WAN networks. Most startups and small businesses are saving a lot of money by using cloud-based technologies. SD-WAN will also provide benefits like the cost of agility, global availability, and ease of deployment. MPLS is good for companies that are still using older technology. If you need low packet arrival time, then you should stick with MPLS.

You should also ensure that your network is working properly. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in optimizing your network performance. They will also protect your network from intruders and attackers. If you need more tips regarding network management, then you can contact Bleuwire.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.

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