As investments in cloud solutions and particularly unified communications as a service (UCaaS) increase, enterprises are being forced to evaluate their networking approach for delivering business internet. Added bandwidth demands and the central role of the network in driving and delivering business objectives means that the traditional networking model is no longer adequate.
Moreover, the disappearing boundaries of the network due to cloud solutions and mobile devices mean that the security strategy surrounding networking must also undergo a transformation. Businesses demand better visibility and control, as well as a level of reliability that allows end users to work uninterrupted.
MPLS 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 essentially be considered a virtual private cloud. MPLS VPNs are delivered over a single carrier’s network, offering reliability and security superior to that of the public internet. Here are four reasons why MPLS VPNs are often a preferred business internet delivery option:
- Enhanced Performance and Better Traffic Control: MPLS VPNs support cloud applications with a high-quality performance because they allow for prioritization of traffic types. Known as a class of service (CoS), this makes it easier for enterprises managing a variety of critical applications, from voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or videoconferencing. CoS allows the enterprise to dictate which application takes priority, eliminating the possibility that a large file transfer will derail a voice call.
- Improved Reliability: Because MPLS VPNs are delivered over a single carrier’s network, the reliability is better, the traffic is not subject to the irregularities of the public internet, and networks experience generally lower latency and jitter. Security is also improved because it is confined to the carrier’s network, and mean time to repair (MTTR) is lower as well. MPLS VPNs also come with improved service level agreements (SLAs).
- Controlled Bandwidth: Using MPLS VPNs allows the enterprise 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.
- Flexibility: With MPLS VPN, it is convenient to add capacity on an as-needed basis, and much easier than adding capacity with a traditional carrier service. The ease of adding new services based on MPLS features is also a benefit as users can roll out virtual machines, move more business to the cloud, and implement SIP trunking.
When it comes to supporting expanding cloud solutions and UCaaS, many enterprises are turning to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). It capitalizes on the reliability of high-end connections such as fiber, while also supplementing it with lower-cost connections and other network pathways to support an optimized network approach. By designating low-priority traffic for lower-cost connections, for instance, an enterprise can reserve the more expensive but reliable high-end pathways for mission-critical transmissions like video conferencing and other UCaaS tools.
There are a few significant reasons why SD-WAN is an attractive solution for business internet:
- Improved Visibility and Control: SD-WAN places a virtual overlay on the physical network, giving network operators a centralized management dashboard for all maintenance, provisioning, and troubleshooting. Not only are they able to quickly identify and manipulate any segment of the network, but they can also do so without travelling to a branch location to work through a problem or bring a new site online.
- Lossless Failover: In the event of a downed connection, SD-WAN provides the ability to sustain connectivity using other connections that automatically pick up service without loss, while maintaining traffic prioritization and policies.
- Scalability: Enterprises that employ SD-WAN pay for only the number of users they need, and can easily add or subtract the number of users on the network.
- Segmentation: Traffic utilizing business internet can be segmented according to automated business policy, with options allowing for segmentation by application, traffic type, user, or security vulnerability.
Among business internet users, three key metrics are universal across all users:
- Packets successfully delivered
- Packets delivered on time
- Packets delivered in the right order
These metrics may sound simplistic, but the end user only notices the effectiveness of business internet when it is not working properly. While it mainly tends to be a problem when there’s congestion, MPLS does offer the ability to add priority tags to critical traffic to ensure it is pushed through ahead of other traffic types.
For many companies considering UCaaS, any problems with traffic prioritization can be solved at the local area network (LAN). The draining of network resources often happens internally, where sharing large files causes congestion issues. Many companies become focused on MPLS or SD-WAN, but the quality issues are within the network itself.
In some cases, the simple answer to a reliable business internet is making sure you have enough bandwidth, but it becomes more complicated when it’s time to determine how to purchase enough bandwidth in a way that is both cost-effective and secure for your network. That’s where SD-WAN often becomes the priority.
For more information related to business Internet and designing the right networking approach for your enterprise, contact us at iTel.