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Dedicated Point-to-Point or MPLS

Posted on 2004-08-18
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I currently have a frame relay network with 3 locations.  Each has a T1 Port with a 512 CIR and PVC's between headquarters and the two remote offices.  I am looking at replacing this with higher bandwidth and potentially save money as well.  I have an offering of two dedicated point-to-point T1 circuits between my headquarters and the two remote sites which is about 1/2 the cost of my existing Frame network.  I also have a MPLS vendor claiming that his solution provides better performance than what I would be getting from either my frame network or my proposed point-to-point.  The MPLS solution is cheaper than the Frame, but more than the dedicated T1's.  

I don't know very much about MPLS, but I have trouble understanding how I can get better performance from this than the 2 separate dedicated T1's.  With either the Frame or MPLS, I would have one T1 at headquarters sharing the bandwidth going to two remote sites.  With the dedicated circuits, I would have two full dedicated T1's.  We will not be routing anything other than IP network traffic.

Any thoughts?
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Question by:dfranklin80
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Expert Comment

by:PennGwyn
ID: 11832409
I *think* the payoff in MPLS comes when traffic between the branches reaches a certain level.  Depending on how your company is organized, it might never get there -- or it might be there already.

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by:scampgb
scampgb earned 1000 total points
ID: 11833398
Hi dfranklin80,

I assume that the majority of your traffic goes between headquarters and the remote offices?

If that's the case, then you'll be better off with the dedicated T1s.
(I'm also assuming that the MPLS access circuits they're proposing are T1s themselves)

MPLS is great if you've got a large number of remote sites that need connectivity, or you need to achieve more of a mesh configuration.
However, the setup costs tend to be quite high - so for relatively small environments it's not cost effective.

Based on what you've said and my (possibly inaccurate) assumptions, the dedicated T1s are your best bet.
Get yourself some decent routers, and you'll have a fantastic solution at a fraction of your current costs.

One other thing, have you thought about your resilience requirements in this new configuration?

Hope that this helps - let me know if I can offer any further advice.
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Accepted Solution

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Blister252 earned 1000 total points
ID: 11833497
I am in charge of a 40 node ATM/Frame relay network. We also had a person come in and make the same claim about a MPLS network. We ended up not going with it, only because we really didn't need the services we would have been paying for.

The advantage in MPLS seemed to be that they could mesh the entire 40 nodes (Every node connected to every other node) with out extra PVC's. Which was a big cost savings if we would have been looking at that. I beleive MPLS really shines when connecting nodes in a full mesh topology. Like PennGwryn said, if your two branches had a lot of traffic that was from one to the other, then MPLS would just route it diretly to the destination. Where with the T1 it would get bounced from your central location to the other stores. A good example of this would be Voice over IP. When the people at Branch A wanted to call someone at Branch B, they would just make the connection to Branch B without having to incure the delay of routing through the central router.

If you are just trying to connect 2 satelite locations back to a central office, and the branches don't really need to talke to each other directly, then dedicated T1's are the way to go in my opinion.
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Author Comment

by:dfranklin80
ID: 11833549
Thanks guys.  I couldn't understand how the pure physics would permit a MPLS to be as fast as the dedicated T1's.  My traffic is 100% between the headquarters and the two remote sites (individually).  No need for PVC's between remote sites.
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Expert Comment

by:scampgb
ID: 11833618
Hi - thanks for the assist "A".  Glad I could help  :-)
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