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Traditional wide area networks (WANs) have never been cheap to maintain. The most popular connectivity option – multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) – is much more expensive than standard broadband, and more of it is now necessary to support bandwidth-intensive applications like hosted VoIP, video conferencing and various Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.
The full cost of an MPLS WAN varies considerably from one organization to the next, but in general MPLS will cost hundreds of times more per Mbps than commodity internet. There are multiple reasons for MPLS's high price tag, including its top-notch reliability and the relatively few vendors who can offer appropriate service packages.
Fortunately, MPLS isn't the only game in town anymore. Software-defined WANs (SD-WANs) can incorporate MPLS alongside other modes of transport for a more cost-effective network that doesn't compromise on performance, either. It can ultimately drive down your networking expenses on several fronts and give you more freedom in the use of modern apps. Here's how SD-WAN helps control costs:
Upgrading to an SD-WAN doesn't have to mean leaving MPLS behind completely. However, it does allow for more flexibility in which connections you use. Broadband, cellular and satellite services can all be supported in an SD-WAN, reducing your reliance on costly private MPLS connections.
The software layer of SD-WAN ensures traffic is automatically directed over the best links available. Meanwhile, traffic is protected by integrations with cloud security services, as well as by end-to-end encryption from gateways between MPLS and SD-WAN infrastructure. The upshot is that you can attain a network that's economical, high performance and secure.
Solutions like hosted VoIP and unified communications platforms have become essential as more people work outside the office, but these apps have especially demanding requirements. If you rely on them to conduct day-to-day operations, then any degradation in service availability or call quality can translate into reduced productivity, difficulties in supporting remote teams and lost revenue.
SD-WAN solutions constantly measure latency, jitter and packet loss across the network to evaluate which paths are ideal for specific workloads at any given moment. Their sophisticated intelligence is comparable to popular mapping apps like Waze, which dynamically suggest new routes as conditions evolve.
SaaS is a reliable way to access essential applications at a fraction of the cost and complexity as traditional software. From Microsoft Office 365 to Salesforce, SaaS is a productivity staple at many organizations. At the same time, the traffic flows of cloud-based software create major issues for MPLS WANs.
An MPLS WAN will usually backhaul this traffic through a data center to ensure security, but this setup enacts a steep performance penalty on cloud-bound workloads. In contrast, an SD-WAN can usually support secure direct-to-cloud connections. The result is a better end user experience and faster time-to-value from your organization's investments in SaaS.
Old-fashioned WANs, similar to private branch exchanges, are notorious for being complex to setup and configure. Connecting a new branch office can be a time-consuming and expensive ordeal, requiring multiple site visits.
SD-WAN makes such processes much more straightforward. Configurations can be performed in software from a centralized console in just minutes. Branches also benefit from not needing to have technical personnel on-site to handle issues during WAN implementation and maintenance.
Telesystem offers SD-WAN solutions that are perfect companions to our services, like hosted VoIP and dedicated internet access. Contact our team for a quote to get started to today.