MPLS Alternatives

Should You Replace MPLS?

MPLS has been the gold standard for enterprise connectivity for years. But as business needs have changed, so too has the landscape of connectivity solutions. Today, there are a number of alternatives to MPLS that offer enterprises better performance, reliability, and security – at a fraction of the cost. Is now the right time for your business to make the switch or should you hold on to this legacy technology for a few more years while the market develops?

What is MPLS?

MPLS is a mature data networking technology that is commonly used by enterprise businesses to connect different locations and devices. MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching and it works by routing data packets based on labels instead of traditional IP addresses. This makes MPLS networks more efficient and scalable than traditional IP networks.

MPLS was first introduced in the late 1990s and has since become the standard for enterprise data networking. MPLS networks are typically managed by service providers who offer SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to guarantee network performance. Enterprise businesses use MPLS networks to connect their branch offices, data centers, and cloud resources, all on a private line.

One of the main advantages of MPLS networks is that they can handle large amounts of traffic and scale to accommodate future growth. Additionally, MPLS provides low latency and jitter, which are important factors for real-time applications such as voice and video.

Another MPLS advantage is its reliability. MPLS networks are designed to be highly available and can recover quickly from failures. This is because MPLS uses redundant components and traffic engineering features such as link protection and path diversity.

Why MPLS is no longer enough

The IT landscape has never been more complicated than it is today. 60% of corporate data lives in the cloud. The average enterprise uses more than 250 SaaS applications. IT teams must deliver fast, reliable connectivity to a range of users and use-cases, including branch office users, remote users, on-premise applications, cloud-applications—all to a variety of edge devices.

The bottom line is that networking demands have fundamentally changed since MPLS arrived on the scene more than two decades ago and the challenge to detect the fastest path for internet traffic has increased by orders of magnitude. But MPLS networking technology has scarcely been innovated. And that’s before considering limited access in challenging geo-locations, months-long deployment times, or expensive setup and maintenance costs. MPLS replacement options are quickly spreading.

When considering MPLS replacement, what does an expert analysis include?

Tailored to business

Understands your organization's current and future business requirements, including number of sites, types of applications used, and traffic volume

Based on Actual Usage

Assesses the replacement network's performance, such as latency, jitter, and packet loss to ensure that applications can be accessed quickly and without interruptions

Advanced Security

Considers the security features offered by each replacement option, including encryption, access control, and monitoring capabilities

Cost Effective

Considers the total cost of ownership, including equipment, maintenance, and support, so that the alternative is cost effective

Scalable

Evaluates how easily the network can be scaled and whether it can support your organization's future growth

Easy to Manage

Considers how the replacement alternative will be managed, including level of support provided by the service provider, ease of management, and availability of tools for monitoring and troubleshooting

triparrows

Why Teridion?

Teridion’s NaaS platform addresses all the specialized solutions that enterprises expect from MPLS, but at a new standard of quality and efficiency. You can deploy Teridion in hours—all while reducing IT costs.

Teridion ensures reliability and prevents costly network failures by utilizing 25 cloud providers around the globe. We deliver bandwidth on demand with horizontal and vertical scalability, instantiating unlimited machines to support traffic volume ad hoc. We guarantee SLA using AI-powered routing to monitor networks in real time and direct traffic to the most available pipes, dynamically and in transit. And unlike MPLS, we’re cloud native, so we accelerate to the cloud with greater agility.

That means low latency, jitter, and packet loss for a smoother connection that feels like your teams are working together in the same room. Even when they’re across the globe.

FAQ

Today, MPLS is still among the leading wide-area network technologies, accounting for 60% of WAN revenue for thousands of prominent global businesses. But as early as 2026 the MPLS market is expected to decline by more than half, with a variety of software-based, MPLS replacement options rising in popularity.

Depending on business needs, there are a few key reasons to consider regarding when and if to switch away from MPLS to one of these alternatives.
Increased flexibility: Network as a service solutions have the ability to scale up or down bandwidth as needed. This can be helpful for seasonal spikes in internet usage or increasing bandwidth for a short period of time.
Improved performance: Network as a service solutions often offer better performance than MPLS, due to the way they are designed. For example, they can provide more direct routes and avoid potential bottlenecks.
Lower costs: In many cases, network as a service solutions can be less expensive than MPLS. This is due to the increased competition in the market and the fact that they don’t tie into a long-term contract.

While SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) and MPLS are both technologies used for connecting enterprise networks over wide geographic areas, they differ regarding their underlying architectures, features, and costs. SD-WAN is a software-based solution that uses intelligent routing and traffic prioritization algorithms to optimize application performance over a mix of public and private network links, such as broadband, LTE, and satellite. SD-WAN is known for its flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness compared to MPLS and has emerged as an affordable MPLS alternative for many enterprises.

Whether SD-WAN can fully replace MPLS depends on the specific needs of the enterprise. In some cases, SD-WAN can be a viable alternative to MPLS, especially for organizations that need to connect multiple sites and prioritize cloud-based applications. However, in other cases, MPLS may still be the preferred option for organizations that require strict QoS guarantees, high levels of security, and dedicated bandwidth.

Ultimately, the decision to replace MPLS with SD-WAN should be based on a careful analysis of the organization’s network requirements, cost considerations, and risk tolerance.

We highly recommend that you take the time to read the article outlining the 7 essential factors to consider when contemplating a transition from MPLS to an alternative WAN solution.

The best software-based connectivity solutions are the ones that match unique business needs. Network as a Service (NaaS) is one of the leading emerging solutions. This is a model of networking that allows users to outsource various network-related functions to a third-party service provider. The following are some of the different types of NaaS technologies:

Virtual Private Network as a Service (VPNaaS) provides a secure and encrypted connection between remote locations and users over a public network like the internet. Software-Defined Wide Area Network as a Service (SD-WANaaS) enables companies to use software to define and manage their WANs, including traffic management and security policies. Network Function Virtualization as a Service (NFVaaS) allows companies to virtualize their network functions and deploy them in a cloud-based environment, rather than on-premises. Cloud-based Network Security as a Service (NSaaS) technology provides various security services such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention, and data encryption to protect data and applications in the cloud. Network Infrastructure as a Service (NIaaS) enables organizations to outsource the management and maintenance of their entire network infrastructure to a third-party provider, including switches, routers, and other networking devices. Internet of Things as a Service (IoTaaS) allows companies to manage and monitor their IoT devices, such as sensors and other connected devices, in a cloud-based environment. Application Delivery as a Service (ADaaS) provides companies with the ability to deliver applications to end-users via a cloud-based infrastructure, ensuring faster response times and higher availability.

Overall, NaaS technologies offer organizations the flexibility and agility to scale their network infrastructure quickly and efficiently, without having to invest in costly hardware and maintenance.

Get better-than-MPLS performance with lower IT expenses

Talk to
Teridion’s AI Network Experts