The Orixcom Blog

SD-WAN v/s MPLS - Which software suits your business model?

Prior to the advent of Software Defined Wide Area Networking or SD-WAN, networks were based on Multiprotocol Label Switching, or MPLS. This traditional system of passing data between location points relies on passing packets of data along a network using labels and switches to make data decisions.

SD-WAN uses software to make intelligent network data decisions and allows for much greater flexibility and control. With the global pandemic forcing businesses to adjust how they work, it’s imperative that your connections are able to support you and can keep up with the changes.


The benefit of using MPLS is the service quality that businesses are able to achieve. By deploying your own private network, enterprises are able to pass critical information between branch locations with ease and without experiencing any degradation of service availability.

MPLS networks can be expensive to implement and maintain, especially with international locations. The high cost of this type of network is prohibitive for some businesses, particularly, SMEs. They are also inflexible. It can take months to add a single circuit to a new branch or for a carrier to action a change request. In these uncertain times where businesses must adapt quickly, speed is of the essence. A further drawback of using MPLS is lack of visibility. As a business owner you have to rely on your network engineers to tell you what’s going on with your traffic and even then, they don’t have an instant, at a glance view of the network. They can only individually log into each site router and perform basic isolated troubleshooting.




Flexibility is a key advantage when switching to SD-WAN. Adding new branches happens in minutes rather than months and there’s no need to wait for a third party to carry out a change request on the hardware, it can simply be done via the software. This is crucial when looking at home working options as we all shift our focus to adapting to keep businesses running remotely during the months to come.


Increased control and visibility is another key area that favours SD-WAN. Orixcom SD-WAN solutions leverage software defined technology to make network routing and processing decisions based on individual application performance. End users will continue to receive the best possible application performance and will not even be aware of network topology change in the event of a link congestion or failure. Using a cloud portal, business owners can see in real-time on the control panel what is currently happening on their network. Changes can be made almost instantly and are visible down to enhanced levels of detail at the click of a mouse.


Reduced operational costs are a further benefit of SD-WAN. It’s simple to define which network traffic should take priority and which is lower value. You don’t need to backhaul all your traffic to your HQ or data centre for Internet breakout. Setting simple QOS and business rules allows lower value traffic to use low-cost regular internet, decreasing or eliminating the MPLS bandwidth required. Engineers have instant alerts and visibility into network and applications issues, dramatically shrinking time to resolve issues. All of this can significantly reduce costs in many situations.


It’s not an all or nothing situation when choosing your preferred network option. It may be better for some businesses to retain a portion of their MPLS network for some applications and utilise the benefits of SD-WAN for other services. A huge advantage of SD-WAN is its flexibility to mix and match with other network options.

If you’re considering upgrading your enterprise network or would like to know more about how Orixcom Managed SD-WAN solutions can benefit your business, message us and we’ll talk you through it.

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