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How to Deploy MPLS and Hybrid WAN Architectures

Learn the difference between MPLS and hybrid-WAN architectures and how SD-WAN can enhance these deployment options.

Multiprotocol Label Switching

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a packet-switching technology that forwards data from one source to its destination using labels rather than IP addresses, which allows the building of simpler private backbones using lower-cost hardware. MPLS is the dominant form of service for wide area networks (WANs) used by enterprises to build private WANs between far-flung enterprise locations. MPLS WAN service is most typically sold by large carriers. MPLS became popular in the 2000s, supplanting frame relay service because it supported logical full-mesh architectures and class of service, enabling support for VoIP. MPLS bandwidth is extremely expensive compared to internet bandwidth, and so most enterprises can only afford limited MPLS bandwidth at most locations. Many businesses are using software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology to augment or even replace their expensive MPLS connections with lower-cost, high-bandwidth internet links.

Multiprotocol Label Switching

Hybrid WANs

A hybrid WAN is a WAN architecture connecting geographically distant sites by combining two or more disparate network links at each site. One connection may be a private MPLS circuit. Another connection might be some type of broadband internet link such as internet, cable, DSL, or 4G/LTE/5G. The routing protocols used in traditional WANs do not natively provide application-aware networking for granular control of application flows across different paths. Implementing policies to engineer traffic over multiple disparate links for granular control, even in a small-scale environment, will only further complicate the management and maintenance of a traditional WAN.

A hybrid WAN offers availability and cost advantages over a traditional MPLS-only WAN. It can also offer performance and quality of experience (QoE) advantages over an MPLS-only WAN, if used with the right SD-WAN offering. With an appropriate SD-WAN solution, a hybrid WAN can utilize multiple links simultaneously. If used with a failsafe SD-WAN solution, organizations can improve reliability and application QoE and performance, and even support a single, large application flow across all available links, all while lowering WAN costs. While some use the terms hybrid WAN and SD-WAN interchangeably, they are not the same. An SD-WAN simplifies the management of a hybrid WAN, offers the possibility of branch office consolidation and simplification, and delivers a solution that is centrally managed and provides policy-based orchestration and visibility into the entire WAN from a single pane of glass.

Hybrid WANs
Oracle SD-WAN

Failsafe SD-WAN Resources

Explore the reports, tools, case studies, and more to help you understand the power of Oracle failsafe SD-WAN