Collaboration

Expanding VPLS services provide site connection options


Virtual private local area network services (VPLS) have long been in use by an organization needing prime-time availability for an international wide area network or metro area network. VPLS puts Ethernet connections in point-to-point, multipoint, or multi-point to multipoint configurations. This framework for a geographically dispersed or global organization is a welcome architecture. One of the other popular alternatives is to use Internet-based VPN connections, which offer different reliability than a VPLS connection. AT&T recently announced a new offering of VPLS connections that are available in speeds under 1o Mbps and available in points around the world. Having the speeds available under 10 Mbps saves network infrastructure costs in not having to replace an existing copper infrastructure to go to fiber connectivity at a VPLS endpoint.

One distinguishing factor that sets VPLS connections apart is that the connections are on the same network when provided by the same carrier. In this situation the remote locations are on a single network from a TCP/IP perspective, and may be easier to manage from a top level network management perspective. This would include managing a redundant path of a network that could use an entirely different source. For example, let us take the scenario where multiple sites are connected by Internet-based VPN and a VPLS endpoint is available at each site. In this example the Internet VPN would be the primary mechanism for intra-site communication, and the VPLS is for certain traffic that from a regulatory or compliance reason cannot go over the Internet. The VPLS connection can also serve as a secondary network in the event that the Internet connection becomes unavailable at a remote site or as a channel for a critical business or trading partner as an extranet. Because the VPLS endpoints are on the same network, the rerouting of a site's Internet connection would be fairly straightforward with another persistent connection available.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

4 comments
Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Verizon and the Orange Business Services also have extended Ethernet via MPLS. I have been working on a 3M project that has 100Base-FX Ethernet over MPLS over Ethernet running from St. Paul, MN to Chicago, Illinois. Simply put it is pretty darn fast. The ability to use legacy copper to achieve 10Mbps second is a welcome step and I bet will be very popular very quick.

dano2004
dano2004

We have just implemented a MOE solution for our 5 sites in town. This solution has dramatically cut costs and simplified the whole complexity of connecting 19 different sites around the state. There are still hurdles to overcome as even the engineers implementing this solution try to make it harder than it really is. The ability to use existing equipment has also been a plus. It was refreshing to install larger pipes, but not have to upgrade routers, etc to handle the connections. Just plug in your RJ-45 and go.

b4real
b4real

Agreed. This is one of the 'fits most if not all' technologies, and for those doing international networking, it may be welcome.

Users_Name
Users_Name

I guess my company (Exponential-e) is ahead of the curve on this one! We have been deploying VPLS solutions in the UK since 2006 and half of the job was explaining to IT Directors what VPLS was and how it would benefit them.

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