MPLS or SD-WAN – What’s the right technology for your next Wide Area Network?

Network Consultant

The History of MPLS and the Emergence of SD-WAN


For many years, public sector WANs (Wide Area Networks) have been based on MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) technologies. While MPLS has proven to be reliable and secure, it’s now getting a reputation for being expensive and lacking key features, such as application awareness.


To address these shortcomings, the telecoms industry is developing several new technologies including SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and SASE (Secure Access Service Edge).


In the case of SD-WAN, the basic idea is that you can retire your expensive corporate MPLS WAN and in favour of leveraging low cost off-the-shelf DIA (Direct Internet Access) and broadband circuits instead.


But is it as simple as that? Will it be secure? Will it meet typical public sector service levels? How does the licensing work? Will it remain affordable as revenue budgets come under increasing pressure? Can it cope with most people working from home?


Is it simply one or the other, MPLS versus SD-WAN, or is there a future role for both technologies?


In our role as an independent subject matter expert, we’ve guided several public sector organisations and consortiums through the strategy, business case, procurement and implementation stages of their WAN projects.  Recent examples include the EastNet project in Cambridgeshire and the South East Grid project in East Sussex.  From working on these projects, as well as from our ongoing research activities, we’ve developed a comprehensive understanding of the UK WAN marketplace that we can use to help other public sector organisations on their WAN projects.


Which is the right technology for you?


If you are running, or planning, a WAN project and have lots of questions regarding technologies, pricing, contracts and DCMS grants, or anything else for that matter, 4C Strategies may be able to help. Across May and June, we’re offering all public sector organisations the opportunity of a free, 30-minute, no-obligation WAN consultation with one of our Principal Consultants. Following the call, which we’ll set up using either Teams or Zoom, we’ll send you a concise report confirming our answers and any appropriate recommendations.


After that, if you believe we can add value to your project, we’ll submit a no obligation proposal for you to consider.


Want to find out more?


To book your free, 30-minute, no-obligation WAN consultation with one of our expert Principal Consultants, please email, or call us on 01858 438938. Unfortunately, the number of consultations we can offer is limited due to our project workload, so we do recommend that you get in touch as soon as possible to secure your preferred time and day.


For more information on 4C Strategies and our various framework agreements, please visit our web site at, drop us an email, or give us a call.