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VPN vs Point-to-Point T1's.

Currently, my company has three locations. The primary location is in the center of our state. We have one branch office aprox. 200 miles to the west and another branch office aprox. 200 miles to the south-east. Each office connects the main office via point to point T1 lines. All voice, data, and internet traffic is routed through our main office which houses all servers and our gateway which load-balances to ISP connections for the company web access.

I would like to propse that we transition to a VPN since the T1 connections will not be able to support all our traffic as we grow, transition to html based interface for our databases, and implement remote access for about 10-15 of our employees.

I beleive that a VPN is more redundant, scalable and modular than our current WAN. Are there reputable sources and/or standards to support this view?

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Reid Palmeira
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Well, alot of this comes down to knowledge.  VPN can be just as secure if not more secure than T1, since the data is encrypted.  Price alone should be a selling point.  

Here a link from Cisco that compares the two.  (I would say Cisco is reputable!)


Let me know if you need more or different info.
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Oh, you may also want to look at WAN optimization devices and/or dynamic HTML compression options.

I don't know your application, but a T1 can handle quite a bit of traffic.  We have a managed "VPN" type service (AT&T EVPN) and we only have a 768 Kbps link.  Normally there are only about 10 people in the office, but we also do training in that office and when we do training we have up to 12 students on top of the 10 employees and since we have upgraded from 256 to 768 there has been no complaints.
I'm going to have to agree with giltjr here. Assumption being you're talking about an IPSec tunnel or some other means of VPN, you still need physical capacity. If you're single T1 point-to-point can't handle that, you still need to augment the bandwidth as you grow. The fact that there's a VPN there doesn't make the augmentation easier. The point of a VPN is to take multiple sites that are separated by a cloud and make them "virtually" connected directly. So you still need to augment bandwidth at each site regardless. That doesn't make it more redundant or more modular.

If you're pushing voice traffic over this, you're also going to run into QoS issues and the overhead caused by the VPN. That may not be much depending on the way you set it up, but there is an impact there.

From Cisco: "IP VPNs do not require site-to-site physical connectivity." The is the only reduncancy and modularity you have, but each site still requires it's own physical connectivity to the internet. And in your case with only two sites connected to the headquarters, it may make more sense depending on your traffic loads to simply augment the site to site capacity rather than augment your internet capacity at each site.

The real benefits of and IP VPN comes with multiple sites. If I have 12 different sites all with a full T1 but really only using say 2 out of 3 of the DS0's, you still need the physical T1 interface on the hardware at your main site, but you won't be using the whole thing. That hardware can get expensive. So I pull in a signle DS3 to the main site and use DSL or cable at the remotes and do an internete IPSec VPN tunnel and save myself a ton in hardware costs and monthly site-to-site circuit costs. But if you're only talking three sites, the savings may not be much after you consider the costs of planning, implementation and still needing bandwidth at each site.

Networking is the process of connecting computing devices, peripherals and terminals together through a system that uses wiring, cabling or radio waves that enable their users to communicate, share information and interact over distances. Often associated are issues regarding operating systems, hardware and equipment, cloud and virtual networking, protocols, architecture, storage and management.

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