5 Benefits of Moving from MPLS to SD-WAN

Brian Norton, VP of digital infrastructure, Carousel Industries
Brian Norton, VP of digital infrastructure, Carousel Industries

Are you considering a move from MPLS to SD-WAN? Many companies have already benefitted from making the switch; SD-WAN services deliver a host of capabilities that are increasingly important for businesses moving through their digital transformation journeys.

Whether you want to enhance application performance, reduce the time it takes to add new sites, give your organization a way to avoid network downtime and bottlenecks or all of the above, SD-WAN enables you to create a more agile and resilient network.

If you still haven’t migrated to an SD-WAN solution, consider these five key benefits your company can gain by making the switch.

5 Benefits of Moving from MPLS to SD-WAN

1. End-to-end visibility of your entire network

You need to know how well your services are performing, but developing that awareness can be difficult if you’re using MPLS. Delivering deep, actionable insight isn’t a strong suit of most MPLS architectures, and the resulting knowledge gap leaves IT teams struggling to optimize their environments. Businesses that use SD-WAN gain a tremendous advantage through access to a portal that provides performance metrics for each location. You can check out jitter, latency – and see it all in one view. You’ll finally have the visibility you need to ensure everything is working at optimal capacity.

2. Faster application performance

Because SD-WAN has the ability to deliver and sustain a much more robust quality of service, enterprises enjoy faster application performance than is typically possible with MPLS. In an SD-WAN environment, application traffic is automatically directed over the best-performing connection at the time of access. The result is a better user experience – whether that means employees, customers, or both – and higher productivity. Slow links caused by periodic usage spikes or other performance issues won't slow you down, since traffic is managed dynamically by your SD-WAN devices.

3. Add locations in days instead of weeks

The time needed to spin up new locations has been a chronic source of irritation for businesses on MPLS. Any IT department that’s been last to know when their organization plans to add a new office can relate to the frustration caused by MPLS's need for long lead-times. SD-WAN eliminates those lags, enabling you to grab a new broadband connection in days, rather than ordering 100 Mbps Ethernet circuits which take months to install. Speed of deployment is also an increasingly important benefit, as companies transition much of their workforces to remote locations. The ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic response and recovery may spur some enterprises to adjust --or even eliminate -- their physical office requirements. With SD-WAN, your organization has the agility to more easily transition to the structure that best suits your needs.

4. Increased agility, simplified network policy configuration and management

Not only is adding new locations exponentially faster with SD-WAN, it’s also less cumbersome. Immediately upon deployment, the SD-WAN box communicates with the main controller and the new location's presence is automatically broadcast to the entire network. Routing tables are also auto-configured by the SD-WAN device; it's no longer necessary to input the information individually and manually. IT staff don’t need to spend time programming or waiting for the information to propagate across the rest of the infrastructure – it’s all taken care of at the hub site with network control. Along with speed, simplicity is an added bonus and, because the system automatically handles previously manual tasks, there’s less chance for data entry errors or oversights.

5. Seamless failover capabilities

Redundancy and resilience have proven more important than ever as IT navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impacts on organizations. The shift to SD-WAN can help improve your business continuity strategy by enabling several means of access through each SD-WAN device. If one link fails – either because of a local issue or because the regional provider is experiencing an outage or resource spike – the device will automatically transition network traffic to the remaining links. In addition, you’re able to use multiple links simultaneously to ensure the best performance and most stable service. And because SD-WAN manages failovers seamlessly, your users won't experience service interruptions.

SD-WAN Benefits Over MPLS

Moving to SD-WAN can help your business develop a more efficient network, insulate you from some of the challenges of MPLS, and position you to leverage more powerful technologies. If you’d like more information, Carousel’s experts are ready to help you find the right SD-WAN solution for your unique needs.

Author Brian Norton is vice president of digital infrastructure at Carousel Industries. Read more from Carousel Industries here.