For years, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks have been connecting organizations with their remote locations. The stability, performance and scalability of MPLS has always been appealing. The price tag? Not so much. Internet connectivity has always been much cheaper and more flexible than MPLS, but concerns about security and performance have prevented organizations from making changes to the wide-area network (WAN) – until recently.
Widespread adoption of cloud-based service and applications has resulted in a large portion of traffic traveling back and forth across broadband Internet connections. Cloud environments are often more secure than on-premises IT environments, and technological advances have minimized performance issues. As a result, many organizations have decided that if the Internet is good enough for many business applications, it’s good enough for the WAN.
Broadband Internet connectivity makes the WAN less expensive and more flexible, but managing networks across remote locations continues to be a challenge. Most remote locations have little or no onsite IT personnel, while mobility, the cloud and unified communications platforms have only added to the complexity of WAN management. WAN traffic levels are far more unpredictable and inconsistent than in years past, making it difficult for legacy WAN technology to meet modern traffic demands. This lack of agility can slow down the rollout of new applications and cause you to miss business opportunities.
The need to simplify WAN management and control costs has given rise to the software-defined (WAN). Rather than manually configuring and managing all WAN devices, including those at remote locations, SD-WAN overlay architecture enables you to centrally manage WAN infrastructure through a single interface. With SD-WAN, you can supplement or replace MPLS networks with broadband and other forms of connectivity to reduce costs with minimal business disruption.