MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?



  • I've had a lot of people ask me if they should dump their company's MPLS network in place of high-bandwidth fiber and an IPsec VPN... I wrote a blog about it.

    Like to hear it? Here it goes:
    MPLS or IPsec VPN: Which is the Best? [Network World]



  • Interesting. Though many around this part would say that phones shouldn't be on that list, at least that's my guess.



  • Note: Did not read article yet.

    I would dump the MPLS everytime because things or moving more and more and more to hosted. Why pay all that extra cash when the IPSEC VPN will handle things just fine in today's world.



  • @jaredbusch said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    Note: Did not read article yet.

    I would dump the MPLS everytime because things or moving more and more and more to hosted. Why pay all that extra cash when the IPSEC VPN will handle things just fine in today's world.

    The article specifically dives into realtime applications - and he specifically mentions phones, live video and remote desktop.



  • @dashrender said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    @jaredbusch said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    Note: Did not read article yet.

    I would dump the MPLS everytime because things or moving more and more and more to hosted. Why pay all that extra cash when the IPSEC VPN will handle things just fine in today's world.

    The article specifically dives into realtime applications - and he specifically mentions phones, live video and remote desktop.

    None of those are so critical that they need MPLS instead of IPSEC.



  • @jaredbusch said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    @dashrender said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    @jaredbusch said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    Note: Did not read article yet.

    I would dump the MPLS everytime because things or moving more and more and more to hosted. Why pay all that extra cash when the IPSEC VPN will handle things just fine in today's world.

    The article specifically dives into realtime applications - and he specifically mentions phones, live video and remote desktop.

    None of those are so critical that they need MPLS instead of IPSEC.

    In most cases I completely agree. Are there edge cases - sure.



  • @jaredbusch
    I get what you're saying, and that's true for a lot of small companies (i.e. less than around 500 users), but I think a lot of mid-size+ companies would disagree their apps are not critical. It depends on the company and who's on the phone, on the video bridge, etc.

    Ever called your bank and received poor call quality? Happens once, okay but the second time? Not exactly going to give customers the warm fuzzy they're banking with the right company, which just isn't worth the risk.

    How about having thousands of employees having issues with their remote desktop app, running from a server at your HQ?



  • I agree, MPLS is a "fix" for another era.



  • @mikesmithsbrain said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    Ever called your bank and received poor call quality? Happens once, okay but the second time? Not exactly going to give customers the warm fuzzy they're banking with the right company, which just isn't worth the risk.

    No, but they drop calls all the time. For example the reason you mention, I don't want them on MPLS. A little noise on the line is going to happen anyway. But not being able to maintain calls because of a convoluted network is a key reason I don't have faith in a lot of banks and businesses - they can't figure out phone basics!

    Until no one has cell phones anymore, I don't consider the sound quality argument valid. Everyone states this, but I've never found a business where it was true. They all use cell phones or have customers on cell phones and cell phones totally negate that concern.



  • @mikesmithsbrain said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    How about having thousands of employees having issues with their remote desktop app, running from a server at your HQ?

    How does MPLS help that?

    Remember... Internet means "better average quality, better uptime" and MPLS means "guaranteed middling performance, lower uptime."

    It's an insanely rare business or workload where guaranteed is better than "best results."



  • Seems odd to be discussing this now, we had these same discussions about T1 and VPN in 2000. I remember shutting down T1 back then because we got better performance and reliability without the T1 nearly two decades ago! (I know it was 2000, because I was at OilNavigator and they folded before 2001... their T1 costs were not helping them.)



  • I hate to disagree but this isn't just theory. I continually see clients contact us because they are experiencing problems with their real-time apps running on their Internet connectivity... which is always plenty of bandwidth for what they're doing. Then, MPLS fixes it.

    I do, however, also run into companies doing things I typically would be cautious about, but they've never had a single problem with... like having 300 on-site employees on a hosted VoIP platform, running on a single fiber line, from a cable-co. That's going pretty cowboy but hey, if it works, great. 🙂



  • @mikesmithsbrain said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    I hate to disagree but this isn't just theory. I continually see clients contact us because they are experiencing problems with their real-time apps running on their Internet connectivity... which is always plenty of bandwidth for what they're doing. Then, MPLS fixes it.

    I never see that, ever. Can it happen? Maybe. But part of the issue, I would guess, is did you ONLY test MPLS, or did you test more to see what the issue actually was?

    When I see issues like this, I've always been able to fix them without MPLS. So that suggests that based on those two anecdotes, that MPLS can cover up other issues, but isn't the actual solution.



  • @mikesmithsbrain said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    I do, however, also run into companies doing things I typically would be cautious about, but they've never had a single problem with... like having 300 on-site employees on a hosted VoIP platform, running on a single fiber line, from a cable-co. That's going pretty cowboy but hey, if it works, great. 🙂

    Nothing cowboy about it. If you look at the networking side of things, how VoIP works and such, 300 users on fiber has no specific reason for concern. Why wouldn't that work just fine, unless there is some other factor involved that we don't know about? No cause for concern. Number of users, number of lines, etc. are not really factors.



  • @scottalanmiller
    A quick ping on a cable-co's shared fiber Internet ckt. will quickly show how cowboy it is to run hosted VoIP with 300 users on that line. But like I said, it was working without issue.



  • @mikesmithsbrain said in MPLS or Big Fiber Internet for your WAN?:

    @scottalanmiller
    A quick ping on a cable-co's shared fiber Internet ckt. will quickly show how cowboy it is to run hosted VoIP with 300 users on that line. But like I said, it was working without issue.

    But we do this ALL the time and the pings show it's rock solid, WAY more reliable than the MPLS that we've seen people use.

    You say this like all Internet connections are unstable and use "shared" in the scary "what will that do to you" sense. But in the real world, those problems are old ones from another era. But the real world issues we still see are massive outages caused by leased lines. But we don't see the problems that they are purported to fix.



  • I'm not saying that those issues NEVER exist. But MPLS risks are extreme, as is its cost. The very things that make people go to MPLS are the same ones that I see rule out MPLS. You just can't trust it.



  • A TRUE cowboy setup is using MPLS with a single line. It's far cheaper to have redundant, separated path lines without MPLS. So while dual carrier MPLS is possible, is that actually what you are implementing? If not, I'd consider the MPLS route the wild west cowboy approach.


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