Internet telephony service provider and ISP Spitfire has been promoting the benefits of MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) for business. In a presentation at IP Expo, Andy Duncan, Spitfire’s IT Interface Manager, compared the options available to multi-site businesses and explained why MPLS is a strong contender for streamlined communications between offices.
A key challenge for IT departments working with interconnected sites is providing reliable, secure and easy to manage connectivity between sites and into big cloud services providers such as Amazon Web Services, Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
To meet their needs, Spitfire is promoting MPLS as an efficient and secure method of routing data on a private network protected from the Internet. It works by assigning a label to each data packet, which is then used to move data packets from network node to network node.
Spitfire MPLS is compatible with a wide variety of circuits, including Fibre, EFM and GEA Ethernet, SDSL M, Annex M, VDSL & ADSL2+, so each site can use the circuit that suits its needs.
Historically, MPLS solutions have been seen as expensive, complex and better suited to large enterprises. Spitfire wants to dispel these ‘myths’, claiming that MPLS is ideal for any size of business that wants to share data and/or voice connectivity across two or more offices.
Scalable and secure
To link sites, standard WANs (Wide Area Networks) use point-to-point circuits, requiring every site to be connected to the other, and/or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). The main disadvantage with these options is that as you add sites, complexity increases, making this is a more costly option, especially for geographically distant sites.
They also require local router configuration and encryption to ensure secure data transmission over the internet, which can be expensive and complicated.
MPLS is a simpler way of creating a Wide Area Network. A single link connects each location to the service provider’s network, which means it’s much easier to add new sites, connect to customer data centres, access Spitfire’s hosted telephone systems and gain secure access to the cloud.
New sites can be added or removed without having to re-configure the WAN as a whole and without the time and expense of sending out an engineer to configure every router so that the new site can talk to existing sites.
Because all sites connect to the MPLS and internet independently, they aren’t reliant on the other sites, as they are in traditional point-to-point circuits.
Spitfire’s MPLS solution is built around its resilient core network, bringing security and flexibility. A fully redundant multi-10 Gigabit Ethernet fibre ring connects its core network nodes, backed with industry leading service level agreements (SLAs) for assured performance levels and peace of mind that your business will stay connected.
Spitfire also operates a dual vendor equipment strategy, ensuring that a vendor-specific software issue will not bring down the entire network.
MPLS is privately connected to your LAN. Since it’s a private network, it doesn’t suffer the same quality and security issues as a solution that uses the public internet, such as IPsec VPN. By using dedicated voice circuits or converged voice and data circuits with Quality of Service (QoS) enabled, voice quality can be assured between all MPLS sites.
Having unreliable call quality could be detrimental to your business, but with MPLS you will experience low levels of latency, packet loss and jitter. For this reason, it’s ideal for businesses running real-time applications, such as voice and video.
In summary, MPLS lets businesses link multiple sites into a voice and data network without the expense of dedicated leased lines or the unreliability of IPsec VPNs. Spitfire takes a simple approach to MPLS, providing a centrally managed solution that can grow with your business.