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Switch to SD-WAN – or are you still using Nokia 3210?

10/02/2021 by Dr. Branislav Poletanovic

Magenta colored background with a Nokia 3210 on top.

The Nokia 3210 is a legendary phone. There is this meme telling that a guy found it in the attic, switched it on and it still had battery. Great isn’t it – good old times.

It is the same with MPLS. It is a great technology. It was state of the art when it was invented - like the Nokia 3210. But then new things, new technologies, and even a new way of life were invented – the rise of the smartphone. Back in 2007 when the iPhone was presented also the digitization of the phones and of our life started. Take a second and think about it how you would do your today's life with the old Nokia? Online banking – call your bank and approve yourself in the call etc. Email? Boot your computer and write it. Internet on the phone? Forget it. Nowadays using a smartphone connects us to people, makes (ideally) our life easier. In general, nobody would question the benefit of a smartphone. What is the key? It is the capability of software. Software drives all.

Software makes the world go around

SD-WAN is a software-defined technology. Software is the key, not the hardware and its manual configuration. What does that mean? With the smartphone, you don’t bother about new features or capabilities. Just install an app and you are up to date. What about security? There are updates for your OS and you update it. Great and easy isn’t it.

It is the same with SD-WAN. The software and the vendors take over these parts. They have hardware that easily can be reconfigured, orchestrated, or improved – just by software. Your whole network is easily adjusted just by a click or demand. The Veloclouds, Silverpeaks, and Aryakas are the Apples, Samsungs and Huaweis of the network industry (the order is not the comparison order 😉). The SD-WAN is the smart part of a smart network.

SD-WAN follows a changed world

Often customers say a nice story but what is the benefit? MPLS is a solution of former times for former problems. Nowadays business and market develop and change fast. Everything is digitized. What does that mean? When MPLS started its triumphal procession, the internet started to evolve. Most of the employees did not have internet access. The collaboration took place locally, in the offices – face to face. Does this not sound like a tale – today – in Covid-Times?


For this MPLS is not optimized. It was for 'internal use' only with some connections to the outside – not meant for connecting to cloud services like O365 or AWS etc. How to handle this constellation security? More and more sites and services have to be connected and how to handle the increasing number of attacks? I know that you can solve all these issues with MPLS, but it is like above with the Nokia – you have to call. SD-WAN makes it by software, easier and smarter.

Smartphones are much more expensive

Smartphones are expensive - yes, that's true. It is a tale that you will save a lot of money with SD-WAN - at the beginning. But you will save time, reconfiguring things, setting up sites, and adding new capabilities to your business. And yes, when e. g. you move your data center to the cloud you will save a lot of money – opex vs. capex. In the end it is also a question of human resources. It is frustrating to see that the world, the technology evolves, but your company stays on the technology level of the millennium. This demotivates your employees who will search for new challenges – in another company!

MPLS isn't dead

Exactly, MPLS is not dead, or do you never call somebody by phone? Take the best of both worlds and for what it is meant. MPLS is a great underlay and a great technology. For this purpose, there is and there will be no better one. Take SD-WAN as the right and logical evolution not only of the network, of your business. Combine overlay and underlay.

And one more thing: As we live in the service-oriented era all providers offer you a building block approach. You want an underlay – good, you get it. You want only the overlay and keep the underlay – also good. You want to manage it on your own or managed by the provider – all good. You will get exactly what want.

Take the SD-WAN ride

It’s time – the right time. Vendors, providers, and the market are fully prepared and settled. We have reached the plateau of productivity – to say in consultancy language (cf. picture above). It is like surfing: Waves disappear and it is time to ride the next one.

You get a simple, efficient, and flexible technology with SD-WAN. It is no longer an experiment and now is the best moment to switch, to learn, and to form the future.

Sounds like the Japanese rule of Shu-Ha-Ri: Follow the rule, change the rule, be the rule or in the case of SD-WAN: Apply SD-WAN, adapt it to your business, boost your business.

Do you want more insights from smart connectivity and network professionals?

Dr. Branislav Poletanovic

Sales Engagement Manager at Deutsche Telekom Global Business Solutions


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