Evaluating Business Internet Options

By April 17, 2019July 27th, 2020Blog, Business Internet, Fibre, MPLS, Network, SD-WAN, Security, UCaaS

There’s More to Reliability Than Just Bandwidth

More enterprises are evaluating business internet options as networks become more and more complex.  As teams go remote, investing in cloud and unified communications (UCaaS) tools means that traditional networking models aren’t enough to support high performance any more.

With cloud solutions and more mobile devices, network security strategies must change. As businesses demand better visibility, control, and a high level of reliability, other options will need to be considered.

MPLS (IP VPN) for Cloud Connection

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has long been a reliable pathway for data transmissions, and when combined with a virtual private network (VPN) it can be considered a virtual private cloud. Delivered over a single carrier’s network, MPLS VPNs provide superior reliability and security. Here are four reasons why MPLS VPNs are often a preferred business internet delivery option:

  1. Enhanced Performance and Better Traffic Control: MPLS VPNs support high-performance cloud access because they allow prioritization of traffic types. This is known as a class of service (CoS). This makes it easy for enterprises to manage critical applications, from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to videoconferencing. CoS means that enterprises can decide which applications are more important than others, for example, ensuring that sales calls don’t drop because someone else is uploading a large file!
  2. Improved Reliability: MPLS VPNs are delivered over a single carrier’s network, meaning that traffic experiences lower latency and jitter. Confining traffic to the carrier’s network improves security as it avoids the irregularities of the public internet. Coming with better service-level agreements, MPLS VPNs will have a much faster Meantime-to-Repair (MTTR) if anything goes wrong.
  3. Controlled Bandwidth: Using MPLS VPNs allows enterprises to have a site-to-site and/or site-to-multisite connection through a single MPLS connection. This kind of link significantly reduces the amount of bandwidth required.
  4. Flexibility: With MPLS VPN, it is convenient to add capacity as needed. The ease of adding new services based on MPLS features means that users can roll out virtual machines, move to the cloud, and implement SIP trunking.

SD-WAN

When it comes to supporting expanding cloud solutions and UCaaS, many enterprises are turning to Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking (SD-WAN). It supports an optimized network approach, using reliable high-end fibre connections that are supplemented with lower-cost connections and pathways. This means that businesses can keep the more reliable pathways open for mission-critical uses like video conferencing, while the lower-quality connections are available for low-priority traffic.

There are a few significant reasons why SD-WAN is an attractive solution for business internet:

  1. Improved Visibility and Control: SD-WAN places a virtual overlay on the physical network, which gives network operators a management dashboard for maintenance, provisioning, and troubleshooting. This makes it easy to work through problems or bring new sites online from a central location. Administrators can quickly identify and change segments of the network without travelling to a branch location.
  2. Lossless Failover: In the event of an outage, SD-WAN provides the ability to maintain connectivity with lossless failover. If one connection goes down the others automatically kick in, maintaining traffic prioritization and policies.
  3. Scalability: Enterprises that employ SD-WAN pay for only the users they need. They can easily add or remove users on the network.
  4. Segmentation: Internet traffic can be automatically segmented according to business policy. SD-WAN provides options for segmentation by application, traffic type, user, or security vulnerability.

Three Key Metrics

Among business internet users, three key metrics are universal across all users – packets should be:

  • Successfully delivered
  • Delivered on time
  • Delivered in the right order

These are simple metrics. However, when they fail – users will definitely notice! During times when there’s more traffic on your network than average, packet delivery can often become a problem. With MPLS, administrators can tag critical traffic as a priority so that important tasks get the right of way, keeping performance high.

For many companies considering UCaaS, problems with traffic prioritization can be solved at the local area network (LAN). Drains on network resources often happen internally because of large file transfers and other congestion. Focusing narrowly on MPLS or SD-WAN means that quality issues within the network itself can be overlooked.

The simple answer to reliable business internet is often making sure you just have enough bandwidth. However, getting enough bandwidth cost-effectively and securely can become a challenge, which is where SD-WAN often becomes the priority.

If you’re evaluating business internet options and need help designing the right networking approach, contact us at iTel. Our specialty is creating custom solutions that streamline your network so that you can save time and money. Let’s connect.

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