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5 Myths About SD-WAN to Leave Behind in 2022

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A popular choice for enterprise networks for several years, MPLS can deliver the SLA-backed performance required for today’s applications, despite the relatively high costs. MPLS has reached legend status; however, every legend has myths surrounding it.

Learn five myths about MPLS below.


Myth 1:

MPLS is Secure

MPLS doesn’t employ security protocols on its own. MPLS is a shared medium with customer traffic designated to be in its own VLAN; thus security is based on the VLAN implementation. Since hackers can’t get to them, they are not susceptible to the types of attacks seen on the Internet. Therefore, they are perceived as secure. However, they are vulnerable to wiretapping since traffic is sent in the clear. Today, many MPLS customers add VPN encryption to secure the network.

MPLS doesn’t prevent malware from propagating between MPLS-connected sites. MPLS configurations backhaul traffic to a datacenter and depend on the firewall at the datacenter to provide security. For additional security, some SD-WAN providers offer basic security capabilities.

SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) provides advanced converged, identity-based security including ZTNA, threat prevention, encryption, and more. SD-WAN is the first step towards SASE, a complete networking and security solution.


Myth 2:

MPLS is Required for Enterprises that Demand High Availability

MPLS is not the only option when enterprise networks require high availability. SD-WAN offers an adaptable solution that integrates Internet transports into a virtual WAN connection, at a lower cost. Employing multiple links and added features such as load balancing, and real-time monitoring of circuit performance and health, SD-WAN achieves the required high availability demanded by today’s enterprises. An added benefit is that SD-WAN can guarantee physical-layer redundancy by mixing circuit types, such as fiber and 4G.

Myth 3:

The Complete Network Must be Built with MPLS

Cloud applications are beneficial to businesses because of their ease of access and lower costs. However, these applications reside outside the corporate network. In addition, the MPLS network doesn’t connect to the cloud. Organizations that are heavily invested in their current MPLS infrastructure may add SD-WAN to provide improved access to the cloud, thus employing a hybrid approach. Vice President of Network Infrastructure at IDC, Rohit Mehra, explains that “SD-WAN will be particularly relevant for enterprises that have adopted or are adopting hybrid cloud and especially those that are availing themselves of SaaS application services.”

Moving to a new location or opening a new branch office is another scenario that can benefit from MPLS augmentation with SD-WAN. Provisioning new MPLS circuits is typically slow, and SD-WAN is perfect for situations where agility is required

However, if overhead is a major consideration, SASE can be very easy to deploy. Just plug and play.

Myth 4:

MPLS is the Only Option for Global Networks

In 2018, SD-WAN technology went from an emerging technology to mainstream. While some see SD-WAN as little more than a regional solution since using public Internet connections internationally results in unpredictable performance, this is not the case.

SD-WAN providers that have a global private backbone to ensure traffic is optimized and securely delivered offer an advantage over MPLS for global users accessing cloud resources. Long delays are incurred with an MPLS backbone when users backhaul to the enterprise HQ then out to the cloud. And, higher costs are incurred when they access cloud resources over the public Internet and require additional security infrastructure. With a global SD-WAN infrastructure, users can expect high-performance connectivity when they access cloud applications and other enterprise resources from across the global backbone.

Myth 5:

MPLS is the Only Networking Option for Enterprises Located in China

Many enterprises believe MPLS is now the only way to go since the crackdown on VPN connections in China. The truth is that VPN is still a viable option. However, the connection must be officially registered with the Chinese government. MPLS is an alternative, although provisioning a circuit in China can take months or years to finalize.

SD-WAN providers that are approved and registered with the Chinese government can provide connectivity to China without the drawn-out provisioning process and the high cost of MPLS. Packet loss and latency issues that are notorious with the “The Great Firewall of China” can be avoided using SD-WAN connectivity.

MPLS Myths Exposed

MPLS deserves its legendary reputation for performance and reliability. However, it’s important to rely on the facts and not merely the myths of any solution when running a business. SD-WAN is a viable option for enterprise networks and can complement an existing MPLS network to overcome obstacles such as agility, availability, cost, and cloud access. Learn more about MPLS, WAN, SD-WAN and SASEtechnologies on the Cato Networks blog.

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