Tag Archives: MPLS

A guide to choosing the appropriate wide Area network technology

As your organization grows and need to open offices in disparate geographic Locations, the question of how to access IT resources such as your SAP/Dynamics ERP systems and other centralized applications will arise. Currently business may choose to use one of three technologies to meet your connectivity objectives.

1:Businesses may choose to use IPsec based VPNs. These VPNs connect your locations using commodity internet services which will greatly reduce your Wan charges since you will not be required to pay for a dedicated WAN service. IPsec VPNs provide security via symmetric encryption algorithms which are used to protect data traversing the internet.

The primary advantage of IPsec VPNs are cost and security but the down side relates to the internet services over which it is constructed. Typical non dedicated internet services provide asymmetrical bandwidth which usually means that download speeds are much greater than its upload speeds. The nature of these connections means that data access will only be optimal in one direction.Also since these IPsec VPNs utilize the public internet they will be unable to  provide quality of service to traffic between sites,lack of QOS means that Voice and Video Traffic might suffer from high delays and latency which will result in skipping and choppines of voice and video sessions between sites.

2: Multi Protocol Label Services or MPLS is a layer three WAN service that provides enterprises with symmetric bandwidth,Security and Quality of services. MPLS is a very scalable Wide area solution based on BGP routing and Label switching of customer traffic.

MPLS services relieves enterprises of the routing and qos configuration necessary when dealing with layer 2 services such as ATM and Frame relay. The only major disadvantages of MPLS is latency when compared to Metro Ethernet and Cost.

3: Metro Ethernet uses Optical networks to transmit customer traffic encapsulated as Ethernet frames. Ethernet scalability is limited by Spanning Tree and a hard limit of on the number of VLANS that can be supported by an Ethernet network. Metro Ethernet scales up to 10 Gigabits per second and provides low latency forwarding of customer traffic.

The main drawbacks of Metro Ethernet is the need for the customer to configure their own routing policies and the potential for network outages due to STP loops should the customer decides to use layer two switches instead of routers to terminate the Metro-E circuits at each location.






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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Software Defined Networking first Look at OpenFlow

Software Defined Networking is an attempt at providing a programmable network protocol that can be used to virtualize entire network infrastructures. By virtualiziing your network infrastructure Open Flow will someday allow us to overcome network vendor compatibility issues surrounding how routing protocols are implemented and also to manage layer 2 and layer 3 network constructs such as SONET and IP using a single protocol without worrying about a Layer three IP addresses or Layer Two Virtual Circuit numbers. At layer three Open Flow seems like a protocol that is used to implement distributed policy based routing at layer two i see no current equivalent tool or tech.

SDN Advantages as i see it (note my knowledge of SDN is nascent)

1: Easier to Manage End to End Infrastructure Elements at layer two and three (Reduce Opex?)

2: Network equipment prices should fall since SDN/Open Flow relies on a central controller to push policies to devices (Capex reduction).

3: Enhance Traffic Engineering at Layer two without the need for spanning tree.

4: Engineers can now acquire knowledge instead of studying vendor specific equipment commands

5: Being Open Source there will be less RFC interpretation discrepancies between vendors (Yes OSPF is implemented differently by vendors trying to enhance/lock out the competition)

Questions for the Experts:

1: While being an advantage, isn’t the programmability of Software Defined Networking also a way of adding complexity to current networking  paradigm,programming is viewed as being complex imagine if we could create macros for all our current tasks it would reduce future work but would be difficult and time consuming upfront.

2: The SDN controller will control traffic flows by adding and removing entries from flow tables embedded in our switches and routers. By using a central controller will this not add latency to policy execution in large infrastructres ?

3: Will Open Flow replace current Layer 2 and layer three protocols such as MPLS, BGP and OSPF ?

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Technology


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The days of business’s using expensive T1 lines and leased circuits are now coming to an end. MPLS and Metro Ethernet WAN solutions have now become the main WAN technologies being employed by most medium to large organizations with multiple branches such as banks.

While the advantages of these new high bandwidth WAN solutions are many, most small businesses especially those in Jamaica may not be able to foot the cost of acquiring even the most basic MPLS or Metro Ethernet WAN services.

Well a small business owner need not worry about creating his own Wide Area Network.Small businesses owners who are unable to finance the cost of these new WANs need to leverage Virtual Private Network (VPN) Technologies and the Low cost of High Capacity residential internet packages to create Wide area networks that are based upon site to site VPNS.

Three small stores each having an entry level router,a static ip address and a small business class broad band service can easily construct their own small WAN that can be used to transmit business,email and ip video data between these branches.This solution while not as scalable as the solutions sold by service providers, provides a cost effect way of providing wide area connectivity at a fraction of the cost.

Lowering Branch Office Connectivity Costs

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Technology


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