An MPLS circuit may not be necessary for some businesses, but those with a use for it stand to gain a lot. As a longstanding, widely used network technology, it goes without saying MPLS has plenty of benefits.
Here's a look at four ways MPLS technology can save the day, with a focus on the communications technology organizations rely on:
1. When QoS is a Non-negotiable Concern
For some businesses that use solutions such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing, call quality is a driving factor behind revenues, customer satisfaction scores, and other key performance indicators. For these organizations, MPLS represents the best path to quality of service (QoS).
Compared to "best-effort" broadband connections, which effectively treat all data the same, MPLS technology's packet-handling capabilities are a blessing. Similarly, packet labeling makes it easier and faster for routing solutions to move data around, further ensuring quality where it's most needed. Many MPLS providers also include "bucketing" or "policing" services for clients, giving them more control over which packets they can prioritize.
Keeping this in mind, you can compare the treatment of your traffic to modes of transit. If business broadband is equivalent to putting your packets on a city bus, an MPLS circuit is closer to a private limousine.
MPLS customers with exacting service requirements can take a hybrid approach to squeeze even more performance from their networks. Though frequently positioned as a competitor, SD-WAN for UCaaS works wonderfully in tandem with MPLS solutions. The technology chooses the best possible path for voice and video call packets in real time: If your MPLS suffers a hiccup while numerous employees are on calls, SD-WAN technology can route the packets to your backup business broadband line.
SD-WAN technology can also offload certain traffic to a business broadband connection in the name of cost savings, potentially allowing the company to downgrade to a lower MPLS bandwidth package to save cash month over month.
2. When Business Broadband Service Isn't Enough
A business's powers of recourse are most important when a solution isn't meeting its promise. You pay more for an MPLS to have someone who cares deeply about your problem — as opposed to a beleaguered representative — when things go wrong.
At issue here are the stipulations offered by the service-level agreements (SLAs) various carriers provide. As operators of their own networks, MPLS users have access to a much larger set of constraints. Depending on what you're willing to pay, your SLA could cover any number of communication-critical factors. Latency, availability, the amount of acceptable jitter, and amount of packet loss are just some examples.
On the other end, business-class internet guarantees are often less restrictive in content and recourse. An IT professional calling in to a business-class broadband provider can generally expect a credit for the trouble, and even then perhaps after some finagling. That statement only grows truer when the internet carrier is the only provider in town. From a practical perspective, it's hard to expect an internet carrier to act competitively when there's no competition.
If business broadband is equivalent to putting your packets on a city bus, an MPLS circuit is closer to a private limousine.
3. When You Need Less Complexity and More Scalability
When you're a distributed enterprise, expansion — and the need to connect new sites to the network of critical services and communication tools you've deployed — is a common concern. MPLS represents an easier, less complex way to connect your existing and upcoming locations to one another.
At setup, MPLS offers distinct advantages over nailed-up leased lines. Instead of adding physically separated data channels, MPLS uses logical separations that make scaling out a simpler, less expensive affair. This alone explains MPLS's growing role as the incumbent networking technology among large enterprises, most of which would shoulder huge costs linking their sites with private lines.
This consideration is especially important when you look to item one on this list, the need for quality networked communications. Since bandwidth is inexpensive to obtain, it makes sense to keep various types of data — voice, video, and web — at the right combination of quality and cost-effectiveness using isolation techniques. MPLS, used in conjunction with business broadband and SD-WAN, fits this bill perfectly. Compared to the challenges and costs of running leased lines for the same purpose, the best choice is a no-brainer.
4. When Uptime Matters, Turn to an MPLS Circuit
It's important to note the factors behind lag, jitter, and other call quality issues are often separate from issues that cause total downtime. A business that relies on its voice and video lines clearly needs measures to avoid both. Because it's designed for redundancy and seamless failover, an MPLS connection protects an organization against two of the biggest threats to continued QoS.
If an enterprise's locations are connected to a company data center through MPLS circuits, you can outfit the data center with multiple redundant lines, removing the chance for an outage to disrupt operations companywide. You can also take similar measures on connections between sites, allowing for a meshed network that can handle multiple types of short-term outage events.
Throw in a technology such as SD-WAN for UCaaS, which autonomously switches voice and video calls to a redundant connection or backup line in the event of an outage, and you have a communication structure that's virtually untouchable — saving the day for organizations that rely on communications above all.
When it comes to QoS and cost efficiency, MPLS may be the ideal solution for your enterprise. If any of these situations seem familiar, it's time to give MPLS a serious look.
Is your MPLS ready? Let Vonage Business help you become a full hybrid network.