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How to Migrate From MPLS to SD-WAN

July 26th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

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If your organization currently has an MPLS connection, you may have a poor-performing network.

Migrating from an MPLS connection to an SD-WAN solution can improve your network and provide a better internet connection.

A poor network connection can lead to poor internet connectivity, call breakups, or call drops.

If your employees need a reliable network connection to perform daily tasks, an MPLS solution may negatively impact their productivity.

Coeo knows how important a reliable network connection is to an organization and has helped thousands of customers improve their network connections by delivering SD-WAN solutions.

We want you to know how to migrate from an MPLS connection to an SD-WAN solution so you can improve your network connection and employee productivity as a result.

By the end of this article, you will know the differences between MPLS and how to migrate from an MPLS connection to an SD-WAN solution.

Differences between MPLS and SD-WAN

MPLS and SD-WAN are similar network solutions that are both used to improve network connectivity and reliability. However, there are some major differences between the two services that include:


The first difference between the two services is the cost. The cost of MPLS is almost always more expensive than SD-WAN.

MPLS is an older technology that requires a broadband connection and more hardware to be integrated into the network resulting in a higher cost because of the broadband and hardware expenses.

SD-WAN, on the other hand, uses the cloud to connect to the network which results in lower costs due to the limited hardware required.

Additionally, SD-WAN is a much easier solution to manage resulting in less money being spent on labor and staffing or payments to an outside service provider to manage the solution for you.

However, your organization may choose to have your SD-WAN solution managed internally by your team or by your SD-WAN provider.

Network connectivity

Another difference between MPLS and SD-WAN is network connectivity. MPLS is often more reliable and ensures that data packets in a data flow are less likely to be lost.

MPLS typically uses dedicated bandwidth to send data down a one-track route. However, because of this, MPLS is not as flexible as an SD-WAN solution.

SD-WAN uses multiple connections simultaneously to send data. This allows your SD-WAN solution to send data down whichever connection is the most reliable, fastest, and most secure.

For example, if there is a connection that is performing poorly and losing data packets, SD-WAN will reroute traffic to a faster, more reliable connection.

Additionally, SD-WAN allows you to prioritize data. This enables you to identify the most important data to send the fastest and over the most reliable connection first before less critical data is sent.

Click the link below to use this free tool to learn how you stack up against your peers and learn how to stop poor network performance, reduce outages, and learn best practices for maintaining a resilient network.Free Network Assessment

Network security

MPLS networks require security inspection and threat prevention across all application traffic at a data center. MPLS security only works well when access is performed through this centralized location.

When a localized traffic inspection is required within a branch, additional security solutions need to be installed at the branch otherwise there is a significant chance of creating a serious security risk.

SD-WAN security is more flexible than MPLS. With SD-WAN, you can secure applications at the branch, data center, or in the cloud.

SD-WAN can encrypt overlay tunnels in the data centers and the cloud for end-to-end data protection.

This allows your data to remain secure from one end to the other ensuring your data is safe throughout the entire path not just at one end.

How to migrate from an MPLS connection to an SD-WAN solution

There are some important steps to migrating an MPLS connection to SD-WAN. These steps include:

Review your current contract

The first step to migrating your network from MPLS to SD-WAN is to review your current MPLS contract.

This will help you understand the issues related to terminating your contract and the timeline for when you are free to leave your provider without penalty.

You will understand exactly when your organization can migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN by reviewing your current contract.

The remaining length of your contract and any ability to terminate early will determine the next steps your organization should take.

If your contract still has years remaining, there is not much you can currently do.

However, if your contract has a year or less remaining, you should begin taking the necessary steps to migrate to your new SD-WAN solution.

Research SD-WAN providers

Before migrating, your organization must find the provider that best fits the needs of your organization.

Once you find the right provider for your organization, you can begin coordinating with your current MPLS provider and future SD-WAN provider to start the migration process.

Negotiate a contract with your SD-WAN provider

The next step in the migration process is to discuss your specific needs with your SD-WAN provider to come up with your solution and to negotiate contract details.

It is important that the end date of your MPLS contract lines up with the beginning date of your SD-WAN contract to ensure there is no point where your organization out of service.

Decide if you should terminate your MPLS contract

If you terminate your MPLS service before your contract expires, you will likely have to pay an early termination fee.

However, if you choose to wait until the end of your contract to make this transition, you should fully understand the opportunity cost that is involved with that decision.

It is important that you understand how long your SD-WAN solution will take to install to make sure your provider has the solutions installed before the end of your MPLS connection.

Once your contract has terminated, you should be ready to transition to your network and team to your new SD-WAN solution so that there’s no downtime in service.

If you would like to learn more about SD-WAN, check out our SD-WAN Buyer's Guide: SD-WAN BUYER'S GUIDE

Next steps to improving network connectivity

Now you know the differences between MPLS and SD-WAN and how to migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN.

This will help you during the migration process or help you determine if your organization should migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN if you are not currently doing so.

No organization can operate effectively with poor network connectivity. Poor network connectivity leads to a lack of productivity by hindering your employees' daily work tasks.

If your organization is dealing with poor network productivity due to an MPLS connection or is overpaying for the service, it may be time to migrate to an SD-WAN solution.

Coeo knows how important a reliable network connection is to an organization and has delivered thousands of SD-WAN solutions to customers to improve their network connectivity.

We want you to know how to migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN so you can improve your network connectivity.

If you would like to speak with our team to learn more about SD-WAN or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment.TALK TO AN EXPERT

Now you know how to migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN. Read this article to learn if a managed or self-operated SD-WAN solution is a good fit for your organization:

Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.