May 9, 2016 Aerocom

comparing_apples_to_orangesSo you are contemplating replacing your MPLS network with an SD-WAN network.

But you’re wondering, “What’s the difference?

Well, as I explained in a previous blog, SD-WAN can bring a ton of benefits, like increased network speed, more link uptime, better footprint and easier deployments… BUT MPLS is still a better fit than SD-WAN for certain real-time, sensitive applications.

The downside of SD-WAN

The biggest downside of SD-WAN is that it is completely protected and controlled… once your traffic is on it. BUT you have to use the public Internet to get it there.

And no matter how big your bandwidth, you have no control over latency, packet loss or jitter on the public Internet… which are the culprits that ruin your real-time application transmission quality.

Huge fiber Internet connectivity available in your building? Doesn’t matter. Bandwidth size has little to do with those three trouble makers.

What this means to you

If you have a lot of critical, real-time applications running on your MPLS network (i.e. voice, video, remote desktop)… and things need to stay peachy… SD-WAN has the potential to get your users complaining about dropped calls, buffering video and blacked-out computer screens.

So does this mean you should rule-out SD-WAN?

If you have a ton of real-time traffic, I’d still argue no. Hear me out.

Are all of your sites… (even the tiny, remote ones)… running MPLS currently? If not, you could add SD WAN for just these sites, which would actually increase the quality of their network link.

What about using SD-WAN to increase your network up-time and Internet speed? Why not make these 3 savvy maneuvers?:

  1. Reduce your MPLS bandwidth to just the amount required for real-time traffic. But have the MPLS provider give you public Internet on those circuits on the excess bandwidth when MPLS isn’t being used.
  2. Install a high-bandwidth, inexpensive Internet connection at each site, like 4G.
  3. Install SD-WAN at all sites and program it to send real-time traffic on the MPLS network and everything else over the SD-WAN… then fail-over the real-time to the SD-WAN if the MPLS link is down. Have it also use both connections, simultaneously for public Internet traffic. It will continually find the fastest route, over either connection and give you redundancy for DR.

So my point is, SD-WAN does have it’s downside of exposing your real-time traffic to small amounts of latency, packet loss and jitter, BUT there are still plenty of reasons for you to consider using SD-WAN technology to improve your company’s network.

Did you know that it doesn’t cost your company a penny to have an AeroCom expert tell you which 3 MPLS or SD-WAN providers are the best fit for your company’s size, location and requirements? Click below.


About the Authormikesmith
Mike Smith is the Founder and President of AeroCom and has been immersed in the business telecom and cloud industry since 1999. He has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and in 2011, he was honored as one of the top 40 business people in Orange County, CA., under 40 years old. Mike is passionate about simplifying the way IT buyers shop and select telecom and cloud solutions for their company. Follow Mike on LinkedInTwitter or SpiceWorks.



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