Is SD-WAN Better Than MPLs?

When you begin to wonder, “Is SD-WAN better than MPLS for my business?” then you know it’s time to dig a little deeper and find the answer you need to feel confident in your choice to switch. Let’s do a […]

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When you begin to wonder, “Is SD-WAN better than MPLS for my business?” then you know it’s time to dig a little deeper and find the answer you need to feel confident in your choice to switch.

Let’s do a review of these two options, shall we?


MPLS stands for Multi-protocol label switching and it was originally launched over 20 years ago. To work, a packet enters the network, is assigned a specific forwarding equivalence class, is mapped according to particular characteristics, and attaches additional information. 


  • Attaches much more information to each packet than a router.
  • Offers quality of service for real-time applications and traffic.
  • Performs well when connecting specific point-to-point locations (regional offices, retail facilities, etc.).
  • Utilizes bandwidth efficiently and lowers network congestion.
  • Has a good end-user experience.
  • Secures data since it’s partitioned off from the public internet


  • Must be purchased from a carrier.
  • Has steep bandwidth costs.
  • Predetermined routes need to be provisioned.
  • Making changes is not quick or easy.
  • Has to be pieced together through partnerships to get good global coverage.
  • Doesn’t give direct access to the cloud.

The reason MPLS is still around and so often used is because certain types of data, applications, and transactions are better off with its clean, super secure, tunnel-like connection. 


SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide area network, and it applies rules and policies to send any type of traffic (including MPLS) along the best route. Instead of using traditional connections, SD-WAN virtualizes services by using software with a centralized control function. This process handles priority-based traffic, meets security requirements, and stays in line with service level agreements.


  • Can be less expensive overall not only because of a removal of expensive routing hardware, but because connectivity via the cloud means connections can be made quickly to any remote location. This translates into a savings on over provisioning.
  • Offers great quality of service for audio, video, and cloud-based applications. There is even a second WAN connection that keeps the internet up even during an outage. With performance monitoring of key metrics at your fingertips, you can quickly identify issues which can be immediately addressed to improve network visibility and reliability. It also resolves the issues of network congestion, packet loss, and packet delay variation. Because of this, responsiveness is greatly enhanced.
  • Reduces security threats since security policies are accounted for and automatically applied. The next-generation firewall uses both on-prem security and cloud security, in addition to URL filtering and malware sandboxing.
  • Easily scales with low expansion costs. The zero-touch deployment is fast. It also eliminates human errors and reduces technical problems. This makes scaling up much less risky and much more affordable.
  • Setup is quick and seamless, keeping integral parts and systems on a backup system, continually available. Integration allows functions to be maintained during the entire equipment and software transition. 


  • There are no performance or security guarantees once packets hit the internet.

As you may have noticed, there are far more pros and far fewer cons for SD-WAN than for MPLS. This is why there has been a greatly increasing interest in this technology over the last few years. Global Market Insights states that the “SD-WAN market [is] to grow at over 58% from 2019 to 2025…driven by a rise in the adoption of business-critical, bandwidth-intensive applications that include cloud apps, video conferencing, and IoT.” 


The answer to the initial question, “Is SD-WAN better than MPLS?” is yes. While MPLS is not a bad option, in most circumstances, SD-WAN is a better option because it has more benefits and fewer issues for most users and providers.

If it’s time for you to keep up with your competition, choose FirstDigital because we can offer all the benefits available to your business by using advanced SD-WAN. Otherwise, you may find yourself hung up on poor performance, outdated processes, lack of security, and waning followers. 

Do you want to be left behind? If not, check out the pricing options FirstDigital offers and find out if we are the right fit for your business!