The true pros and cons of MPLS


Although multiprotocol label switching can help make unified communication and collaboration solutions more efficient in certain situations, an enterprise should not assume that MPLS needs to be integrated into its IT infrastructure design, according to data networking expert Andy Gottlieb.


Core benefits of MPLS


According to Cisco, MPLS helps to coordinate the flow of various data on a single network by providing a designated label for different packets of information. For example, companies could use MPLS to support its unified communication program, as the solution would be able to help the underlying infrastructure better differentiate between voice, video and text-based communications. As a result, companies that utilize virtual private networks are some of the biggest proponents of the technology, and many businesses leverage MPLS as a way to boost the efficiency of already existing Internet connections.


“[E]ven though IPSec VPNs long ago addressed the issue of network-level data security, the network-of-networks which is the Internet won’t on its own deliver the 4 nines reliability that enterprises rightly want and expect, partly from design, and in large part because there is no economic incentive for any Internet Service Provider to make the system as a whole work that way,” Gottlieb wrote in a May Network World article. “So it is true that any Internet connection will face a lot more congestion, and thus deliver less performance predictability, than almost all MPLS connections.”


Why MPLS is not always right

Although many companies would benefit from MPLS, Gottlieb noted that it is not the ideal configuration in all instances. While concerns regarding the quality of an Internet connection make a number of enterprises think that MPLS is needed to avoid packet loss, eliminate latency concerns and effectively support voice communications, this is not the case. In particular, Gottlieb said many businesses utilize a virtualized wide area network connection to support their unified communication and collaboration system.


“WAN Virtualization provides multipath multiplexing for aggregating bandwidth and delivering reliability, and in some implementations offers sub-second reaction, dynamically engineering around network trouble – not just outright link failures, but also high packet loss or excess latency – as it occurs,” he wrote. “With RAID-like techniques and benefits, it delivers end-to-end reliability and predictable application performance for TCP-based applications, and ultra-reliable support for real-time traffic, even when using those “imperfect” public Internet links. By reacting to connectivity or congestion-based packet loss or jitter sub-second, it delivers responsiveness fast enough to handle any application that can run on a cloud IP WAN like MPLS.”


How FlexITy helps corporations implement the best infrastructure design

Although a WAN-based IT infrastructure design is an ideal option for some businesses, many might be best served by MPLS​, while others might prefer something else. Companies that are confused about which option is best suited to meet their needs should turn to an IT consulting services firm like FlexITy. Although other managed IT services organizations in Canada purport to offer best-in-class solutions, only FlexITy can actually do it. By combining in-depth expertise in technologies offered by industry leaders like Cisco and others with a complete top-down analysis of current and future demands, FlexITy provides its clients with the system that is perfectly suited to meet all enterprise IT needs.