SDWAN Vs MPLS

sdwan vs mpls
MPLS Vs SDWAN

SDWAN Vs MPLS?

SDWAN is rapidly replacing MPLS.

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is data forwarding technology that increases the speed and controls the flow of network traffic. With MPLS, data is directed through a path via labels instead of requiring complex lookups in a routing table at every stop.

What is SDWAN (or Software-Defined WAN)?  It’s a software-defined wide area network (SDWAN), is a network that is abstracted from its hardware, creating a virtualized network overlay.

An SD-WAN (or SDWAN) can connect several branch locations to a central hub office or cover multiple locations in a large campus such as a university campus. Because it is abstracted from hardware, it is more flexible and available than a standard WAN. It relies on four central components:

  • Edge connectivity abstraction
  • WAN virtualization
  • Centralized management
  • Elastic traffic management
  1. SD-WAN is a wide-area network with a virtualized overlay, abstracting the software from the hardware.
  2. Its key features include network abstraction, WAN virtualization, policy-driven centralized management, and elastic traffic management.
  3. Its architecture can be cloud-based, cloud-based with a backbone, or on-premises only.
  4. It can reside on COTS hardware instead of specialized equipment, reducing capex.
  5. Its benefits include simplified management, better network visibility, reduced cost, and less vendor lock-in.
  6. It was preceded by MPLS, which is still used in some instances where security is a concern.
SDWAN service component

There are three main components to this virtualized network: The SD-WAN edge, the controller, and the orchestrator.

The SD-WAN edge is where the network endpoints reside. This can be a branch office, a remote data center, or cloud platform.

An SD-WAN Orchestrator is the virtualized manager for network, overseeing traffic and applying policy and protocol set by operators.

The SD-WAN Controller centralizes management, and enables operators to see the network through a single pane of glass, and set policy for the orchestrator to execute.

An On-premises SD-WAN is where the SD-WAN hardware resides on-site. Network operators can directly access and manage the network and the hardware it resides on, and it does not use the cloud for its connections. This makes it ideal for sensitive information that cannot be sent over the internet.

Cloud-enabled SD-WANs connect to a virtual cloud gateway over the internet, which makes the network more accessible, and provides better integration and performance with cloud-native applications.

Cloud-Enabled with Backbone SD-WANs give organizations an extra backup by connecting the network with a nearby point of presence (PoP), such as within a data center. It allows traffic to switch from the public internet to a private connection. Moving to a private connection leads to a more secure SD-WAN  and adds consistency in case the connection is overwhelmed or fails.

SD-WAN Infrastructure

Because of its virtualized architecture, SD-WAN doesn’t require specific hardware for specialized network functions. Instead, the infrastructure is made of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment, also known as white-boxes.

Certain types of COTS hardware, such as universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) can host a variety of network functions. This simplifies network management at a network edge or organization’s headquarters.

Enterprises can deploy SD-WAN in a DIY manner, where the business owns the network and equipment and takes full responsibility for the network operation and upkeep. In turn, enterprises can use a managed service provider, who owns all network equipment and maintains some control over the network, and takes the brunt of the network management responsibility.

Benefits

The global SD-WAN market is predicted to swell to $5.25 Billion in 2023, according to an IDC forecast in July 2019, as more businesses embrace the benefits of a virtualized network.

The key benefits include:

  • Increased bandwidth at a lower cost since the network traffic can be provisioned for optimal speeds and throttle low-priority applications.
  • Centralized management across branch networks through a simple management console, which reduces the need for manual configuration and on-site IT staff.
  • Full visibility into the network, as the controller gives operators a holistic view of the network.
  • More options for connection type and vendor selection, since the network can reside on COTS hardware and use both private and public connections to route its traffic.

Replacement for MPLS

There are differences between SD-WAN and MPLS. Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) came before SD-WAN (sometimes call SDWAN) and is a protocol for efficient network traffic flow between two or more locations. MPLS operates similarly to switches and routers, sitting between layers 2 and 3. (MPLS is sometimes considered layer 2.5.) It uses packet-forwarding technology and labels to make data forwarding decisions. The label is imposed between the Layer 2 (data link) and Layer 3 (network) headers.

  1. SD-WAN is a wide-area network with a virtualized overlay, abstracting the software from the hardware.
  2. Its key features include network abstraction, WAN virtualization, policy-driven centralized management, and elastic traffic management.
  3. Its architecture can be cloud-based, cloud-based with a backbone, or on-premises only.
  4. It can reside on COTS hardware instead of specialized equipment, reducing capex.
  5. Its benefits include simplified management, better network visibility, reduced cost, and less vendor lock-in.
  6. It was preceded by MPLS, which is still used in some instances where security is a concern.