Is MPLS Dead, Alive, or Comatose?
Is MPLS Right for Your Business?
By Rick Akey, Vice President, Technology Services, Crystal Technologies
STOP! Before you discard this post as another dagger in heart of MPLS, let me share what I am seeing and hearing in the marketplace.
At Crystal, we help multi-location enterprise companies with their Cloud and Connectivity Services, and a topic that comes up in almost every conversation is whether an existing MPLS network should stay. Although most of our time is now spent on the Cloud *aaS lines of business, connectivity is still at the core of our being and a necessary component of yours.
Each day, I have several conversations with clients about the right voice and data connectivity for their specific needs. On a daily basis I am asked questions about MPLS.
- Is MPLS dead?
- Who is still using MPLS?
- Why are companies keeping or discarding MPLS?
- Should I keep my MPLS?
- Will I reduce costs by replacing my legacy MPLS?
- Should I keep MPLS for my voice?
My answer is… It depends.
MPLS is no longer required for most interoffice connectivity. Dedicated Ethernet circuits, Business Class Cable, and Fios services can all provide the Bandwidth and SLAs needed for most business connectivity requirements, especially when designed with the correct diversity and business continuity infrastructure.
Companies in every industry are successfully leveraging the public Internet for every type of application, including voice and video, data replication, database updates, and even desktops.
So why are companies retaining MPLS? Two reasons:
Security, Governance, and Compliancy practices and policies dictate that MPLS is a more effective method of securing data in transport than using encryption and encapsulation protocols over the Internet. These companies are often encrypting data traffic across their MPLS circuits.
Extremely low tolerance for quality degradations in real-time voice or video applications may make MPLS more attractive. Companies may take advantage of the Internet for all other applications, but retain their MPLS connectivity at reduced bandwidths to support primary voice and/or video paths. Although the increase in quality of MPLS over Internet for these applications may be incremental, MPLS does provide the ability to achieve guaranteed levels of quality end-to-end.
In conclusion, discarding MPLS for the Internet depends on your specific business needs. I suggest:
- Assess your security, governance, and compliance requirements to determine if encrypted data can be transported over the Internet.
- Determine other processes and infrastructure needs to be addressed to comply with adoption of this transport method.
- Confirm that Internet options are available at every location.
- Assess the bandwidth, physical media (fiber, copper, or coax) and SLAs for packet loss, latency, jitter, and repair time.
- Ascertain the company’s tolerance for the uncommon VoIP or Video stream that may experience a momentary lapse in quality due to properties of the Internet.
- Test these applications over the Internet.
- Evaluate edge architecture, such as SD-Wan, that can mitigate this risk of these occurrences to almost 0 percent.
Contact Crystal Technologies for an evaluation of your WAN requirements and assistance with selecting the best Next-Gen WAN strategy for your business.