What are the options available for connecting multiple branches spread across the globe? IPLC (International Private Leased Circuit) is a dedicated line that runs between two countries, but is very expensive. VPN over Internet Leased Lines maybe inexpensive, but its not very secure & CoS parameters cannot be applied for critical real time traffic. So, why not look at implementing a Global MPLS Network, then?
What is Global MPLS Connectivity?
Global MPLS Networks are much like the normal MPLS networks implemented within a country, but the various nodes on the Global MPLS network would be spread across the world. So, if you implement an MPLS network between three branches in three different countries, it becomes a Global MPLS network.
Generally, MPLS networks are implemented with a single (preferably national) service provider. But, with global MPLS, there is a good chance that a service provider in one country might not have a direct presence in another country. In such cases, the backbone MPLS networks of different service providers are linked together through an agreement between the various service providers, and customers are allowed to traverse between the MPLS links of one service provider to another in order to complete the global MPLS network.
Like a national MPLS network, customers need to take and pay for only one MPLS port at every location across the world. But with Global MPLS, that port may actually be provided by different service providers in each country even though all the ports would be commissioned / managed by one service provider, who would be the single point of contact for customers. This service provider would have a back-end connectivity arrangement with other local service providers of other countries & intermediary links.
Both point to point & point to multi-point (actually : any-to-any) connectivity is possible with Global MPLS network just like national MPLS network. The port speeds (bandwidth) can start from as low as 64 Kbps and go up to 10 Gbps, depending on the location and the vendor. Generally, Global MPLS is delivered on an extensive global Optical Fiber Network (Including under-sea cables) and the last mile could be OFC or Copper or some other mode of connectivity.
Advantages of Global MPLS Network:
- Single Service Provider to deal with (and pay) for the entire network.
- Customer needs to take and pay for only one port per location for all the locations, irrespective of the number of nodes in the Global MPLS network for any-to-any location connectivity.
- The capacity of Global MPLS can be upgraded/ down-graded. Its technically feasible, but service provider terms may apply.
- 24×7 Network monitoring and management is generally done by the vendor.
- CoS (Class of Service) can be applied (end-to-end) over the entire Global MPLS Network to segment the network traffic in to different classes and prioritize the critical real time data like voice, video, etc over the Global MPLS network.
- SLA Agreements are a part of the Global MPLS networks, and vendors provide a guarantee for uptime levels, jitter, round-trip-delay and other crucial parameters.
- Global MPLS network may be shared with other customers, but it is still a private network and enough security is provided with Firewall’s etc, at the service provider end.
- Any site to any site connectivity (Mesh architecture).
- The ordered bandwidth (by a customer) is guaranteed on the Global MPLS network.
- Some vendors provide remote user access to the Global MPLS network using IPSec VPN clients & some vendors support multi-casting (a method to save bandwidth by sending a single stream of video to many users).
- There is only one Router required to be procured by the customer at every location for implementing a Global MPLS network. The routers at the other end (service provider end) are provided by the vendors.
Global MPLS Networks are primarily provided using Optical Fiber Cables/ Networks. Redundancy is generally in-built on the MPLS backbone network on the service provider end by provisioning multiple backbone paths/ links. But the last mile link is generally not redundant. Some service providers provide back-up links to their primary MPLS circuits using ISDN lines/ VSAT Networks/ DSL Broadband connections, etc. Such back up connectivity needs to be supported by the routers that terminate the MPLS links at the customer end for seamless fail-over.
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