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WAN: How to choose an MPLS provider

Hybrid Networks

Users want great performance from their applications, whether they’re in the HQ, a branch office or on the move. They are not concerned that some of your sites are in far-flung places, that you need to add or move sites at short notice, and that you have a budget. They expect you to maintain application performance and availability regardless.

That's hard to deliver with a single technology and supplier, which is why many IT teams construct a hybrid network that integrates multiple technologies and carriers. Hybrid networks help improve performance, deployment speed and cost.

We can illustrate the benefit of a hybrid network by considering deployment. Deployment is a major irritation for the IT team, which often faces considerable hurdles delivering new sites on time.

If you compare MPLS providers, you will find that there is a wide range of deployment lead times for the same circuit types. One supplier might publish a 67 working day lead time for a fibre circuit while another might quote 100 days for the same thing.  If your network can blend circuits from multiple carriers then you can make significant improvements in your deployment speed.

Similar variances can be found when comparing different technologies. For example, that 67 day lead time for an MPLS circuit might only be 33 for a VPLS circuit from a different supplier. So again, if your network can accommodate MPLS and VPLS then you can make significant improvements in your deployment speed.

Networks are generally a compromise between competing needs for performance, reliability, deployment speed, manageability and price. Hybrid networks that allow you to blend multiple providers and technologies will be better placed to meet all of your needs in all your locations, anywhere in the world.

So, ask your candidate MPLS providers whether they will offer a hybrid network to match your speed, reliability and cost priorities to what is available at each location.