Telecom Expense Management, Mobile Device Management, and Carrier Services Blog

Shifting from MPLS to broadband connections can lower WAN costs and increase reliability?

Posted by Noel Huelsenbeck on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 @ 01:38 PM

For most network managers it would seem counterintuitive to increase reliability by moving from MPLS (with QOS) to less expensive broadband connections, but that's exactly what the folks at Talari have stated, utilizing their Adaptive Private Networking, they state an enterprise can:

  • Get 30 to 100x the bandwidth per dollar
  • Reduce monthly WAN costs by 40 to 90%
  • Receive greater reliability and predictability than today's single provider Frame Relay or MPLS WANs

Recently Network World published a case study on replacing MPLS with less expensive broadband connections. The case study, a public library with 22 branches, expects to save $400,000 over the course of one year, for an IT shop with an annual budget of $16 million, that's pretty significant.

As mentioned in the article one area of concern was how the broadband connections, without QOS, would handle latency intolerant traffic like VOIP. As a consultant our recommendation for multi-location customers, especially those wanting to do VOIP or Video Conferencing across the WAN, has been to utilize MPLS with the appropriate QOS. Our experience has been for enterprise grade traffic the public Internet has not been reliable enough for VOIP, and other latency intolerant traffic.

However, Talari seems to have figured out how by utilizing multiple broadband connections. They state, while any individual connection may be less reliable and perform worse than MPLS, when all the connections are used in aggregate, they result in a WAN that can be more reliable. In some cases the broadband connections are used as a back up to MPLS (as shown below), and in others as the only source for connectivity.


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With 4G services like Verizon's LTE (5-12 MBPS or more) becoming available it would be conceivable the best network reliability would come from using Talari boxes along with Telco plant (DSL, T-1, Ethernet over Copper, fiber), Cable plant (coax, fiber), and 4G wireless services. This would provide a site with three disparate networks and from our viewpoint it would be advantageous as a backup to a primary MPLS service, or as a standalone network. With QOS addressed, and the potential cost savings, it would be our recommendation to quote this type of network configuration when shopping for MPLS, and see if there's a cost savings.

The network may require more vendors and become more complex but as John Mulhall stated:

There is an upside to the new WAN, he says. The MPLS links were T-1s and traffic couldn't burst above that. The new connections support more bandwidth, which means high-traffic chores like data backup can be done much more quickly.

"The downside is that makes the network more complex," he says, with more vendors involved and more individual circuits to manage. "But it's definitely worth it."

Vocio offers a free quote tool for all of the telco, cable and wireles providers. If you'd like to qualify a location for service please contact us at 888-200-VOIP (8647).


Topics: broadband connections, lower WAN costs, MPLS alternative

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