Ethernet and MPLS Branch Office Solutions
Newer bandwidth services offer considerable cost and performance advantages in linking branch offices to headquarters.
By: John Shepler
any companies have more than one location in a given area. These branch offices are especially important for businesses that want to have a presence as near their customers as possible. So, how do you seamlessly connect those branch offices to the main office without spending a fortune?
What's New Are Ethernet and MPLS
There are two high performance networking technologies available now that didn’t exist a generation ago, perhaps not even a decade ago in many locations. These are Metro Ethernet and MPLS Networks. Both are proving to offer high performance and attractive pricing compared to traditional telecom solutions.
Ethernet is Not Just For The LAN Anymore
Ethernet has always been though of as a local networking technology. Once it was adapted for long haul transmission, Carrier Ethernet technology made it possible to take Ethernet out of the office and run it all across town.
Metro Ethernet Advantages
What does Metropolitan Ethernet have to offer? Ease of connection and efficiency of transmission are obvious advantages. With Metro Ethernet, there are no protocol conversions necessary in the network. Ethernet formatted packets flow from source to destination as generated.
Level 2 Switching
Another advantage of keeping everything as Ethernet is that the entire network, LAN and WAN, can be set up for level 2 switching. This is ideal for business communications. The main and branch offices can all be on the same network, with the same access to resources regardless of where the user is located.
Lower Cost Ethernet
What might not be expected is that Ethernet services are generally much less expensive that traditional telco solutions of the same bandwidth. The increase in competition due to new carriers focusing on Ethernet connections has a lot to do with that.
The other technology you’ll be interested in is called MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching. It’s a way to create a secure high performance multi-point network that can transport nearly any protocol.
Support For Convergence
Competitive carriers as well as traditional telecom providers are turning to MPLS technology for their core networks. These networks can be carefully controlled for jitter, latency, bandwidth and packet loss. That makes them ideally suited for converged voice and data networks. You can have your telephone and computers on the same network and ensure that one service doesn’t interfere with the other.
Ethernet and MPLS networks are highly compatible. In fact, it’s not unusual for companies to connect nationwide or around the world with Ethernet in the last mile and MPLS “cloud” networks providing the long distance connectivity.
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