MPLS Delivers on Performance Expectations with the Right Support in Place
Performance over WANs is critical for those organizations that rely on information transmission and application optimization to conduct business on a daily basis. When packet loss occurs, performance is adversely affected. Enterprises that run TCP applications across vast distances run the risk of performance degradation when end stations are unable to react quickly to loss and the right elements to avoid the loss in the first place are lacking.
A recent Network World (News - Alert) report highlighted these two priority elements, stressing that the best way to protect performance on a WAN is to ensure the exchange of information on a dedicated, private network. This approach is often rendered impractical however due to the high cost and the difficulty in managing such a strategy. Organizations instead tend to turn to multi protocol label switching (MPLS) when accessing public Internet links for reliable and predictable performance is not an option.
WAN Optimization-as-a-Service and Network-as-a-Service options are also growing in popularity as they not only offer reliability and scalability; but are considerably less expensive when compared with dedicated deployment approaches, such as MPLS. The technology approach leverages distributed Points of Presence (POPs) located close to the end user, as well as multi-segment TCP optimization to ensure performance.
More optimized and predictable performance through the full use of available bandwidth is enabled with a multi-segment approach when deployed with higher level WAN Optimization technologies. The complexity and management of higher level technologies protects the performance of TCP applications running at long distances as it addresses congestion-based problems. When IP connectivity is enabled from a Tier 1 ISP and POPs are distributed close to the end user, fist- and last-mile congestion is minimized.
TCP termination and other TCP optimization activities per segment ensures POPs are not only optimized, but also able to use all available bandwidth to quickly retransmit packets when a loss does occur over the first- or last-mile. At the same time, middle-mile congestion problems are eliminated with a dedicated and reliable low-loss core network. MPLS connections across oceans can experience long latencies and congestion when the right complementary tools are not in place to optimize the experience.
For companies traversing miles across the nation, networking is largely an IP function and the Ethernet is providing the sole link layer for IP transport, placing greater value on the optimization of IP. With MPLS, access capabilities are boosted throughout channelization functions and circuit management, according to this TMC (News - Alert) article. The realization of both lead to better overall connection speeds, demonstrating the power of MPLS and MPLS-TP to improve connectivity between varying locations.
Selecting the right deployment strategy depends greatly on the distances between locations, the information exchanged, and the available legacy connectivity already in place. While MPLS provides value-added optimization across the miles, it must also be supported by a proven provider to ensure the consistent performance of business-critical functions. Only then can the enterprise enjoy the benefits MPLS is expected to provide, ensuring the ongoing performance of the network and those who rely on information exchange to get the job done.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein