SD-WAN stands for Software-Defined Wide Area Network and is a solution that enables businesses to manage and operate their WAN with software instead of hardware. This allows businesses to build higher performance and lower cost WAN’s using more commercially available Internet services. Routing, aggregation, security, and data prioritization are all aspects which can be managed with software tools with greater flexibility and transparency albeit with some complexity.
SD-WAN addresses several common problems that WAN’s face:
- High costs associated with proprietary hardware and skills
- Network complexity
- Lack of flexibility and performance
MPLS or Multiprotocol Label Switching is a hardware-based WAN configuration which allows direct paths between nodes for ultra-fast and secure communication. An MPLS WAN avoids the complex routing tables and lookups needed for normal Internet traffic.
MPLS technology is perfect for a WAN when the following are required:
- Maximum security
- Guaranteed and robust inter-branch connectivity when high speed Internet is not necessarily available
- Simplicity from a configuration perspective especially when there are numerous VPN’s or other advanced routing requirements
- Maximum reliability for proprietary software solutions