There is growing talk about about MPLS and IPVPN within the market place as a result of the price drop in connectivity. For many the prospect of joining multiple locations together, whether all within the same country or across the globe was one that came without a lot of control over the quality of the service that would be received.

Most organisations when faced with the task of joining locations, would opt for placing a VPN or firewall device at each location. These units would be used to create VPN connections back to the main site allow internal network routing to take place. Although this creates in essence a private network it does allow the IT manager any control over the quality of the bandwidth and route the traffic will take once it leaves each location. The reason for this is that generally a direct internet access connection will have been installed at the property.

The quality of the upstream internet access is governed by the provider that it is connected to and the transit or peering agreements that they have in place. This can ultimately cause issues with the VPN which is outside of the IT managers control and results in a poor user experience.

The idea behind an MPLS network is to create this VPN style configuration at a network layer without the need for additional VPN or firewall devices. Generally each of the circuits is provided through the same supplier and it is all brought back in to one location. This may be a physical site or a virtual breakout within the operators network. Each circuit does not need to route out to the network and therefore the end to end delivery can be controlled by the operator, thus improving performance and quality of service.

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