Abstract digital artwork with a flowing wave-like pattern comprised of small green dots that gradually fade into the white background. The wavy design, reminiscent of an SD-WAN backbone, creates a sense of movement and fluidity.

MPLS to SD Wan Migration

Considering Migrating from MPLS to SD-WAN?

Many multi-site organizations are looking to move beyond traditional WANs and their Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) lines. Among the various MPLS alternatives, migrating from pure MPLS to SD-WAN offers tremendous benefits. An analysis of MPLS vs. SD-WAN shows that SD-WAN enables everything from digital transformation to remote work to better cloud application performance. For example, an MPLS migration to SD-WAN can deliver a global high-performance network that helps employees securely and effectively use applications and tools from any site, including their home.

User evaluating MPLS replacement

Using a single fully integrated SASE-ZTNA service simplifies connecting users to applications, eliminates multi-vendor complexity and cost while providing a higher security posture. Read our latest white paper, ZTNA and SASE: Better Together, Closer Than Ever, and learn why integrating the two is essential for providing organizations an additional security layer that extends beyond SASE benefits.

An image of a white paper from Open Systems titled "ZTNA and SASE - Better Together, Closer Than Ever." The document discusses providing secure remote user access to cloud-based applications using a robust SD-WAN backbone, with abstract beige wave patterns in the background.

The Network Reimagined

As businesses reimagine their operations, they’ve found that the traditional wide area network (WAN) isn’t keeping up with rapidly evolving needs. As a result, many are turning to the flexibility, performance, and cost savings of SD-WAN to address the growing number of remote users and cloud applications and to make adding more sites and including new security technologies easier.

A major advantage of SD-WAN lies in its ability to incorporate the best networking technology available for a specific location and use case. In addition to overcoming the inflexibility and high-cost traditional WANs, it also alleviates some of the challenges related to MPLS.

  • Simplifies network integration because the WAN is seamlessly orchestrated and automated through a smart layer of software that overlays and manages nearly everything.
  • Eliminates the constraint of an inflexible MPLS hub-spoke architecture, adding nearly unlimited flexibility with broadband and direct internet connectivity.
  • Eliminates the need to deploy conventional routers across the network.
  • Supports applications and production workloads running outside the traditional enterprise perimeter.
  • Allows you to configure the WAN based on business needs without becoming locked into a single provider.
  • Allows for easy scalability as bandwidth demand increases.

An MPLS Alternative

As one of the mainstays of modern WANs, MPLS boosts network speed and performance by delivering data from one network node to another based on short path labels rather than
long network addresses. As a result, this technology framework avoids the need for lookups in routing tables. This technology framework has met the networking needs of organizations across a spectrum of industries. Nonetheless, MPLS has several drawbacks, such as: high cost, complex to set up hardware in new locations, and bandwidth balancing, optimization, and saturation issues.

In short, MPLS is too expensive and unwieldy for many organizations, and it can hamper the agility and flexibility required by today’s businesses. On the other hand, SD-WAN is an ideal MPLS replacement. Gartner estimates that switching to SD-WAN can result in 50% to 80% cost savings because of a smaller technology footprint, reduced cost of bandwidth, and less need for staff.

A Hybrid Approach – Migrating from Pure MPLS

Organizations need to integrate newer technologies, adopt IaaS and SaaS cloud services, and provide high-speed internet access to multiple sites and a remote workforce. As a result, a growing number of enterprises are turning to hybrid SD-WAN approaches that encompass clouds, LTE, Wi-Fi, and other connectivity, including MPLS, to address their requirements.

Even as SD-WAN matures, MPLS will continue to play a key role. By implementing a hybrid architecture, organizations can gain the agility and capabilities of SD-WAN without the investment required to re-architect their WANs from the ground up. They now have the flexibility to leverage MPLS technology where it makes business sense while still simplifying and unifying their networks with one intelligent software layer.

However, while SD-WAN benefits are widely known, not everyone understands how to make a smooth transition to MPLS replacement. A starting point for any organization looking to transition to SD-WAN or update an existing networking framework is assessing the current environment. This assessment will allow you to identify current gaps and determine the specific steps required to make the transition. This requires a holistic view of the organization’s current mode of operations (CMO), which includes a survey of the location of all branches and users, and technology in use.

From this first step to deploying a new, more modern network, Open Systems industry-leading experience in SD-WAN can help ensure your MPLS replacement goes smoothly. It starts with a plan that defines the issues and options you’ll encounter as your network evolves. These issues include migrating locations from MPLS to SD-WAN, connecting the SD-WAN to the cloud, and optimizing mobile and remote user experiences. Along the way, Open Systems customers gain the benefits of access to some of the most seasoned engineers in the industry.


Contact an Open Systems team member to learn more about how we can help you smoothly navigate the MPLS replacement process.

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