Companies are leaping into the cloud, increasingly relying on it to serve up their most important communications services. However, there's a wrinkle: Voice and video can demand greater bandwidth than most other business applications, which presents a challenge when it comes to quality of service (QoS). When different applications and services compete for network resources, the quality of a phone or video call can sometimes degrade. Users quickly notice, and IT has to investigate. When compromising on QoS is not an option, an MPLS connection can provide the solution.
Handling Voice and Video Quality Issues
When bottlenecks arise, business communications are often the first to suffer. Jitter and delays can cause video or voice connections to degrade or even cease altogether. At this point, IT scrambles to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Meanwhile, this sudden and unexpected interruption grinds productivity to a screeching halt.
When this happens, organizations often look into upgrading to a private MPLS circuit to ensure that business communications are smooth and reliable. An MPLS network performs well for any business that requires significant bandwidth for communication and insists on a high quality of service. In such cases, broadband alone will not do the job because these communications will eventually have to travel over the open internet or WAN, where IT has little control over QoS.
MPLS, on the other hand, provides a native method of guaranteeing the QoS required for vital business communications, either in a single location or across multiple offices. With QoS bandwidth prioritization, an IT professional can assign real-time communications traffic a higher priority over other types of network traffic to ensure voice and video packets get where they need to go, on time and in order, even when the network is congested. MPLS technology may not be inexpensive, but those businesses that consider QoS an absolute must consider it a worthwhile investment.
When compromising on QoS is not an option, an MPLS connection can provide the solution.
How an MPLS Connection Guarantees QoS
So what is MPLS, exactly? MPLS stands for multiprotocol label switching, which is a type of high-performance telecommunications network that intelligently directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses. When a business links two of its locations in a private network using MPLS, it can successfully configure QoS, prioritizing voice and video traffic on the network. MPLS service gives businesses the granular control they need to optimize how their traffic flows. This helps networks better manage issues that may compromise quality, delivering critical voice and video communications with the QoS expected in a business environment.
Midsize and larger organizations that must have reliable communications may want to ask their cloud providers about MPLS technology to see whether it may fit their needs. Businesses with multiple locations are especially likely to fall into this category. Rapidly growing organizations that plan on opening multiple offices may also want to start looking into MPLS service as a potential solution for their increasing communications requirements down the road. As with all major technology initiatives, it's better to know about these possible challenges beforehand and plan accordingly, rather than have to resolve them after the fact.
Another Way to Deliver QoS: SD-WAN Technology
There's another option worth considering: software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology, which can enhance QoS for critical business communications. SD-WAN sorts and optimizes complex network traffic, allowing businesses to deploy bandwidth-hungry communications solutions such as voice and video across any network. Businesses can optimize network performance using the broadband services they already have, so they can achieve QoS without springing for the cost of a private MPLS network. In some cases, your provider may recommend a hybrid network solution, utilizing both MPLS and SD-WAN technologies.
Everyone in the company, from customer service representatives to the executive suite, can rest assured that voice and video calls will go off without a hitch. And IT workers can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they won't get any panicked reports about garbled calls or video chats that suddenly dropped.
As businesses increasingly rely on the cloud for important business communications and add bandwidth-intensive applications such as voice and video into the mix, it's crucial for them to optimize network performance. QoS, whether applied over an MPLS connection or using the newer SD-WAN option, can help them deliver the reliable, quality performance they require without compromising on call quality or reliability.
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