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Is MPLS towards a slow fade-out?

Published on 10 August 18
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Hybrid WAN has opened new doors to optimize enterprise network at its full potential. 76% of top IT professionals say SD-WAN is the solution to Digital transformation. But does this mean MPLS is dead?

What is MPLS? How it differs from SD-WAN?

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) – a technique invented to meet the demand for High Bandwidth. A 20-bit fixed size label used to install faster processing of Data Networks. Later the same 20-bit label evolved (Layer 2 and Layer 3). It became a way to abstract the IP addresses in the packet. It not only addresses private multi-location connectivity issues but also charged Bandwidth. Hence the itinerary of MPLS begun.

SD-WAN is an application of Software defined Network (SDN). It is a transport agnostic-overlay that can route any traffic (including MPLS) along the best path. Through SD-WAN all policies and rules can be applied from one central controller across WAN devices.

Why not only MPLS?

For more than a decade MPLS was the key to enterprise Networking. Scalability, performance, better bandwidth usage, less network congestion and better end-user experience were the prime reasons for MPLS dependency. The most common usage of MPLS on WAN was to connect Branch Networks to Data Centres along interconnecting them.

Today Cloud ( Amazon Web Services, Office 365 and Salesforce) and related applications has taken the world by its neck. Transformation to Digital now holds the key to better business – Customer Experience. Extreme resilience of consumers on cloud and internet is the key enabler of Digital Transformation. This have compelled businesses to make their Enterprise Network secure, agile and flexible.

Running Cloud Based Applications requires heavy bandwidth- Primarily depends on type of Data- Videos, VoIP’s, Conferences etc. Using MPLS costed humongous for enterprises to meet the demand for the same bandwidth on WAN. On top of that MPLS dint provide encryption. It could only be used as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which would fence enterprise network from the Internet. Connecting MPLS with new age technology, devices and applications became unsecure. It raised questions on security and cyberattacks. That’s no surprise why 95% of CIOs expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organization. On the contrary if you’re not running business-critical, real-time applications over the WAN (i.e. your phone calls, video conferencing or remote desktop), MPLS is still the best option for this traffic type.

So why SD-WAN?

The advent of SD-WAN has allowed IT to leverage MPLS in different ways. Enterprises today leverage MPLS as well as Internet at the same time. Not only MPLS, SD-WAN allows companies to leverage connections – MPLS, leased line, 3G/4G, private WAN address, public WAN address, ephemeral WAN address – of all sort. This phenomenon is also known as Hybrid WAN. Cool right?

It’s a sensible way to reduce traffic from MPLS putting it on public internet along an assigned gateway. At the same time use MPLS for critical applications that requires guaranteed delivery. According a study, 97% of CIOs revealed that they are looking for hybrid WAN as a solution in the future while the rest aren’t very sure about it.

There’s no doubt that SD-WAN is the biggest leap in the Networking industry. It not only promises greater operational agility but business resiliency and higher quality of experience for all end-users as well. Moreover, to lay the foundation of Digital Transformation, CIOs first need to upgrade the networking capabilities. Otherwise embarking on new age technology and creating a data-driven environment is next to impossible.

Conclusion

Investing in an SD-WAN solution means you are future proof, without compromising the present. Adoption of SD-WAN is a self-fulifing prophecy, the increased adoption will only tilt the scale more and more in your favour as an enterprise. Once you adopt SD-WAN, you are automatically increasing the choice of bandwidth suppliers to your network.

MPLS or Internet, with SD-WAN, network cost can be better optimized. SD-WAN is agile, flexible and easy to use along being affordable.- less than 1/5th the cost of even a 1-Mbps MPLS link. Hence its a worthwhile investment to future proof your network. And this why even service providers are working on providing SD-WAN services. It’s an excellent effort to help customers be on Next- Gen network at the same time monetise present investments.

This blog is listed under Networks & IT Infrastructure Community

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