Long-haul and metro networks have relied on TDM services, most notably SONET, for decades. It’s the gold standard. We’re used to it. We never asked for SLA. Much like the CD, it functions at a high level.
Intro the relentless demand for IP and Ethernet services. To meet this demand, the underlying dedicated SONET network needs to be displaced by a newer, more efficient technology. MPLS is lauded as the MP3 of networking. Some still prefer SONET because it performs the same regardless of Carrier, is high quality, and familiar. On the contrary, MPLS based services are almost all different, come with different and confusing names, and are less familiar. This changes the discussion from “what type of network are you running?” which was an easy ‘tell all’ to “what type of performance can I expect from your network?”
That’s the important question – Performance. MPLS technology doesn’t require a lower standard of performance, that’s just how many implementations have turned out so far. This alone is enough to scare some potential users away.
I’m writing this post as XO is implementing our own metro MPLS based Ethernet network. The new MPLS metro will displace the decade’s old SONET metro network, and complement our existing MPLS intercity network. There are lots of upsides: Improved network management, simplified network planning, near foolproof circuit design, reduced installation intervals, and reduced cost. The downside: helping folks understand that their current applications will still function as designed.
XO’s implementation of MPLS based Ethernet will offer a range of QoS options including Premium level performance to satisfy higher end user requirements. So, ask the right questions when evaluating telecom services in today’s market. Also consider the applications you’re running and evaluate whether or not they really require those premium level performance SLAs we’ve enjoyed for so many years.
Only you know whether or not your ears like CDs, or will the benefits of an MP3 cause you to make the transition.
What do you think?
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