The Difference Between MPLS and SDWAN | Cloud Service provider Canada


The Difference Between MPLS and SDWAN

SDWAN was introduced in the market with an aim to provide the benefits of software defined networking to the traditional hardware-based networking. This was an important upgrade to the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which is a protocol that allows for efficient network traffic flow between two or more locations. MPLS uses packet-forwarding technology and labels to make the data forwarding decisions.

While MPLS was handling a majority of the network traffic flow before the onset of SDWAN, nowadays, SDWAN is the most-trusted infrastructure for most of the business enterprises. This change from MPLS to SDWAN has been due to the reliability and efficiency that is offered by the advanced SDWAN infrastructure. However, even though SDWAN is the chosen network infrastructure for a majority of the business organizations, it is not without its faults. Similarly, there are numerous benefits that were derived from the use of MPLS.

Below we highlight the pros and cons of MPLS and SDWAN, with an aim to bring out the difference between the two.


The significant advantage that is derived from the use of MPLS includes its reliability in the delivery of the packets. MPLS offers an excellent quality of service when it comes to avoiding the loss of packets and keeping a particular business’s most important traffic flowing efficiently. This reliability of the packets is extremely essential for maintaining the quality of the real-time protocols, such as Voice of IP (VoIP).

The reliability of MPLS is possible because of the labels, which virtually isolate the packets. MPLS providers also have the option of assigning higher priority to certain network traffic. These benefits bring a sense of traffic predictability within the network. Since the network paths are predetermined, the packets are directed to travel only along the paths to which they are directed.

While MPLS might be the first choice when it comes to the reliability of the network, there are also certain disadvantages that prevent business enterprises from putting their trust to the network. One downside to using MPLS is the bandwidth cost. Nowadays, consumers are interested more in multimedia content such as videos and virtual reality. However, the high per-megabit cost that MPLS demands can be quite high to be a feasible option for businesses.

Finally, an MPLS network does not provide built-in data protection, and if implemented incorrectly, it can open up the network to numerous vulnerabilities.


SDWAN offers several benefits over the traditional MPLS networks. The main benefit that SDWAN provides to business organizations is that it promises to dramatically impact the entire enterprise networking ecosystem. When using SDWAN, there are no geographic boundaries as such and advantages such as visibility, scalability, performance and control become enhanced.

Another advantage that SDWAN offers over the traditional MPLS network is that it does not have any bandwidth penalties as is prevalent in the MPLS network infrastructure. Customers have the option of upgrading their infrastructure by simply adding new links, with no changes required to the existing infrastructure or network.

The biggest advantage that SDWAN provides is that it has the ability to cost-effectively mix and match several different network links according to their content type or priority. Since 4G LTE and Internet broadband are both cheaper than the MPLS, customers have the option of choosing these links over the expensive MPLS for particular low-priority traffic.

Business enterprises trust the advanced SDWAN infrastructure because of the security that is provided. Companies prefer the network architectures that integrate security, policy and orchestration and SDWAN helps to cover these bases by uniting the security connectivity. When using the SDWAN architecture, businesses are able to enjoy the benefits of end-to-end encryption across the entire network, including the internet. Owing to a scalable key-exchange functionality and software-defined security, all the devices and endpoints are entirely authenticated.

While SDWAN is not without its faults, business organizations choose to use the SDWAN architecture because of its flexibility and the ease of deployment of the infrastructure. An increasing number of business organizations have chosen to go ahead with the deployment of the advanced SDWAN infrastructure. However, the advantages of MPLS over particular connectivity requirements cannot be denied. Businesses that are looking to make a change from MPLS to SDWAN need to consider their exact needs from the network infrastructure and then move ahead with any particular infrastructure after having taken the pros and cons into account.

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