MPLS is hanging on in this SD-WAN world

The legacy networking protocol is still viable and there is no need to replace it in certain use cases, argues one cloud provider.

MPLS is hanging on in this SD-WAN world

The SD-WAN networking market is booming and is expected to grow to $17 billion by 2025, and no wonder. Software-defined wide-area networking eliminates the need for expensive routers and does all the network connectivity in the cloud.

Among its advantages is the support for secure cloud connectivity, one area where multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) falls short. MPLS is a data protocol from before the internet took off and while ideal for communications within the corporate firewall, it doesn’t lend itself to cloud and outside communications well.

You would think that would seal MPLS’s fate, but just like IPv6 is ever so slowly replacing IPv4, MPLS is hanging on and some IT pros are even increasing their investment.

Avant Communications, a cloud services provider that specializes in SD-WAN, recently issued a report entitled State of Disruption that found that 83% of enterprises that use or are familiar with MPLS plan to increase their MPLS network infrastructure this year, and 40% say they will “significantly increase” their use of it.

The report did not find one protocol winning that the expense of another. Just as 83% plan to use MPLS, 78% acknowledged plans to use SD-WAN in their corporate networks by the end of the year. Although SD-WAN is on the rise, MPLS is clearly not going away anytime soon. Both SD-WAN and MPLS can live together in harmony, adding value to each other.

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