Today’s reliance on applications for business processes means that enterprise network management requires a high level of visibility into the network for management and troubleshooting. With multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), this level of visibility is impossible, leading many enterprises to invest in software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).

What MPLS delivers: MPLS became the connectivity vehicle of choice during a time before hosted applications, mobile dominance and artificial intelligence added layer upon layer of complexity to network management. MPLS lines are reliable and secure, but they don’t offer much in the way of visibility or control. It wasn’t as critical when the role of enterprise network management was simply supporting voice, data and video transmissions with hub-and-spoke configurations. Now that application-first is the approach, visibility is critical.

In addition, MPLS has limited insight into how bandwidth is being consumed. If the lines get congested at certain points during the day, network administrators may struggle to determine if the cause is the new fleet of Internet of Things (IoT) devices clogging the network, or if it’s too many employees catching up on social media during breaks.

The traffic patterns were different when MPLS was introduced, with all data flowing through a centralized hub. With so many cloud applications and a proliferation of devices, plus the increase in branch locations, it makes more sense to have a different model for enterprise network management.

What SD-WAN delivers: SD-WAN is designed to handle network management at the application level, and is more scalable for efficient bandwidth use. A centralized management model offers administrators a high level of visibility, and branch locations can be configured and provisioned virtually, rather than requiring travel to the site.

SD-WAN also makes it easy to troubleshoot any network problems. For instance, a company can easily use business policy rules to prioritize a video conference over a Netflix video streaming, and traffic can be segmented so that if there’s a security concern the problem can be isolated.

While MPLS might require an administrator to study information across several screens, as well as various policies, SD-WAN offers a high level of centralized visibility. Using a mobile device or desktop, administrators can view the entire network on one screen to troubleshoot and understand what’s happening at the port or device level across multiple locations.

The administrator can determine whether internet traffic is business use or personal, determine whether mobile devices are playing a role, and pinpoint each application or mobile site an employee is using.

To find out more about the benefits your enterprise will experience with SD-WAN for enterprise network management, contact us at Net Tel One Communications.