Traditional WAN vs SD-WAN, What’s the Difference?

What Is a WAN? Wide-Area Network - Cisco

Networks are needed in almost all areas of business; especially if the business already has many branches in various locations. Without network technology, all IT infrastructure will stand alone. The risk is the occurrence of problems with company data, such as duplication and so on. As a solution, MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and SD-WAN are here to support various business sectors.

However, what is the difference between the two? Then, what technology should be used for your business?

IT Infrastructure

Traditional WAN requires a much more complex infrastructure than SD-WAN. Both in terms of providing equipment, infrastructure development, to the maintenance process. To ensure that traditional WANs can always function perfectly, certified professional IT services (read full reports) are needed who will always carry out the maintenance process.

Cost

The need for IT infrastructure that is more complicated in traditional WANs will obviously also affect the costs that must be incurred by the company. Because, you have to provide all the tools needed in each branch of your business to manage the network. This means that the more branches you have, the more devices you have to prepare.

In addition, the use of MPLS for connections on traditional WANs also requires a fairly high cost. While on SD-WAN, the infrastructure used is simpler because it is cloud-based and the connection does not need to use MPLS, unless it is necessary.

Effectiveness

Traditional WAN works by connecting branch and central offices using routers via MPLS connections. All processes and applications will be hosted through the data center. When companies use cloud-based systems, traditional WANs do not have direct access to the cloud center and traffic will be backhauled through the data center, so the process will be slower and ineffective. Meanwhile, SD-WAN is specifically designed to support cloud-based corporate work systems so that they can work effectively. However, SD-WAN is also able to work effectively in companies that implement hosted application systems in on-premise data centers.

Service Quality

Sending packets using the internet can increase quite significantly thanks to SD-WAN. Even before Quality of Service (QoS) can be considered, the network must control packet loss issues. The point is that the QoS prioritized package is not effective if it is over the internet. By analogy, what most customers use to avoid losing their package is to take advantage of two different links, broadband and cellular, from two unique internet providers. This is where the advantages of SD-WAN come in. Redundancy and flexibility provide customers with two unique access points to the internet that provide the same MPLS resilience for half the price.

Security

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) has a fairly strong level of security because it uses a unique design. Each MPLS is created as a Closed User Group (CUG). In a solution using MPLS only nodes on that network can read and access data on that network. On the other hand, the internet has no such mechanism to do so, let alone the ability to secure data which opens up the possibility of breaches and security holes.

From the various explanations above, which one do you think is superior SD-WAN vs MPLS? You can see that SD-WAN has various advantages compared to traditional WAN. Especially if your current business already uses any cloud services model in its work system.