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WAN: How to choose an MPLS provider

Right first-time delivery

When you buy a new MPLS network there are many things that can take longer or be more problematic than you anticipated (or hoped).

The requirements of your network are often unclear without auditing the network and carefully analysing your planned applications. Deploying the network then requires a blend of planning and technical skills. Long-established MPLS suppliers can have complex legacy processes with a huge number of steps that increase the chance of issues. Sometimes there are multiple disparate processes and systems, with re-keying of information. Sometimes the size of the organisation makes it difficult to find people who know what's going on from end to end.

However, it is possible to limit pitfalls if you ask pertinent questions beforehand. Here are a few you might use:

  • Do you have a published engagement process?
  • Do you provide an SoR?
  • Do you have an end-to-end digital supply chain to prevent re-keying of information?
  • Do you capture and publish images of each installation to aid future troubleshooting?
  • Can you name the Project Manager who would be allocated to me?
  • Can you provide delivery guarantees?