Solved

50MBs Comcast Business class cable & MPLS 1.5 MBs T-1 line. Where's the bottleneck?

Posted on 2011-02-16
7
2,509 Views
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
Greetings Experts:  
Have a question I'm pretty sure I know the answer to already, just looking for confirmation or alternatives to my quandary.  Here goes:

Our business division has a 50MBs Comcast Business class internet line in house. On any given day measured speeds run from 35MBs -53 MBs- not too shabby for the low cost we pay.  Corp wants us to route *most* of our IP traffic over the MPLS line which is only 1.5 MBs, and we have an excellent Zultys VOIP phone system in house which uses approx 30% of a T-1 line.  All traffic outbound is routed back to the Corp office through a Cisco router and into one of 2 DS3 Hubs, located west coast and east coast in the U.S.    The big problem we have been seeing are horrible overall bandwidth and slowdowns on our outbound traffic to the DS3 hubs, while the internal Comcast connection we don't route outbound to the DS3 hubs rocks.

  I understand the so-called value of a MPLS line and the SLA levels, and that our WAN is tied together via the MPLS etc... but what I really want is raw bandwidth.  I want to use our Comcast phat line as our primary and have already located an SLA failover config for the Cisco router that would switch us over to the thin 1.5MBs MPLS T-1 in the event Comcast burped.   The network folks at Corp simply do not have the bandwidth available to handle our massive pipe however, since the west coast DS3 is at 98.7% use already and the east coast DS3 is at 95.5%.  There are approx 20 locations US wide that share these 2 DS3 hubs and frankly, they are past overloaded.  The fault tolerance no longer exists since each DS3 hub is extremely overloaded and they cannot fail over to each other without the bottom falling out.
 
 My suggestion to alleviate these issues would be to add at *least* one more hub location on the west coast (preferably a 50-80MBs fiber line) and optimally another on the east coast. This would take the load off of the 2 over worked DS3 hubs we have now, and create some real fault tolerance in the form of an 'X' with the four locations. Even if 2 points drop off you still have 2 left.

So I ask you experts: Have I described what sound like real infrastructure issues to you?
Is it so wrong to tell people that we have outgrown our dated WAN setup and need to modernize? NOW?
Is it that wrong to route all your traffic over the 50MBs Comcast line when you have an MPLS T-1 as a backup?
Or would you route your traffic through the MPLS line even though 30% of the 1.5MBs is already consumed by the VOIP phones?
 
Sanity check time, because this needs to be fixed ASAP!
0
Comment
Question by:electriceyeguy1
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
7 Comments
 
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
Comment Utility
Most cable Internet connections is asymmetrical, meaning download speeds are different from upload speeds.

Is your Comcast 50/50 or the 50/10 service I have read about?

If it is 50/10, then between two sites that have 50/10 the best you are going to get is 10.

Without knowing everything I personally would start looking at replacing the DS3 with 100 Mbps Ethernet service on a MPLS backed network.  If that was not feasible I would look at adding a second DS3 for each hub location.

The advantage of MPLS is that you are guaranteed minimum bandwidth and you can give specific traffic priority and or minumum bandwidth over other traffic.  That is you could guarantee VIOP would get x amount of bandwidth and priority over say SAMBA/NETBIOS file sharing.

With any Internet based connection you are guaranteed nothing.
0
 
LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
Comment Utility
Intra-office traffic will need to be routed over the MPLS links, obviously, but there is no technical reason that your Internet surfing can't go over the Comcast link to alleviate some of that load.
If I understand correctly, you have 20+ offices with T1 MPLS and 2 sites with DS3 into the MPLS?
20 maxed out T1's cannot possibly saturate 2 DS3's, not even one DS3. I would recommend 1st investigating opening up the DS3's that you are paying dearly for, then look at ways to alleviate that traffic over the MPLS and divert some locally (like Internet access) at each (or selected) locations. Possibly over local broadband/fiber connections like your Comcast link.
Also look into data compression or WAAS services on the MPLS links to reduce the traffic load over that path.
0
 

Author Comment

by:electriceyeguy1
Comment Utility
Gentleman-

Thanks for the prompt replies, much appreciated.  There are still parts of my original question that remain unanswered, however.  
So I ask you experts: Have I described what sound like real infrastructure issues to you?
Is it so wrong to tell people that we have outgrown our dated WAN setup and need to modernize? NOW?
Is it that wrong to route all your traffic over the 50MBs Comcast line when you have an MPLS T-1 as a backup?
Or would you route your traffic through the MPLS line even though 30% of the 1.5MBs is already consumed by the VOIP phones?


I have some screenshots of the DS3 MRTG charts I will upload as well.  FYI- *Some* of our locations have 2 MPLS T-1 lines, so it is not simply one T-1 line per location.   Thanks again for the replies so far!
0
What Security Threats Are You Missing?

Enhance your security with threat intelligence from the web. Get trending threat insights on hackers, exploits, and suspicious IP addresses delivered to your inbox with our free Cyber Daily.

 
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:giltjr
Comment Utility
--> Is it so wrong to tell people that we have outgrown our dated WAN setup and need to modernize?

If it meets your business requirments, then you have not outgrown it.  You have only outgrown it if it no longer meets your requirments.

MPLS links provide things that a Internet connection can't and will NEVER provide.  Such as predictiable traffic pattersn.  We have a 768 Kbps MPLS link to a remote office.  We have anywere between 8 and 30 people using it with NO performance problems.  Some of the employees are now working from home using Cable and DSL Internet connections that provide more than 768 Kbps of upstream bandwith and multi Mbit of downstream bandwidth and we have dual DS3 at our main office.  With just 1 user on their home connection  they are experiencing lots of problems.

--> Is it that wrong to route all your traffic over the 50MBs Comcast line when you have an MPLS T-1 as a backup?

It depends. We don't know what your buisness requirments are.  Is all traffic going  over the Comcast link is REQUIRED (based on business requirments and SLA's) to go over the T1?  It could be that the majority of the traffic that goes over the Comcast link is not considered buisness critical and therefore if it failed would not be allowed (block based on firewall rules or lack of routing table entries) from going over the T1.

If the T1 is mainly used for VOIP, I personally would leave as much traffic off that link as possible.  VOIP, even on MPLS, can start having problems when the link get saturated.

0
 
LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
Comment Utility
>Have I described what sound like real infrastructure issues to you?
Hard to say without an understanding of the business impact. Is there a real impact to your business functions? Always better to enumerate the true business impacts as opposed to offering "solutions".

>Is it so wrong to tell people that we have outgrown our dated WAN setup and need to modernize? NOW?
Again, what are the business impacts of the way it is? Just because there is a better way do to things today as opposed to what was available just a couple of years ago, doesn't necessarily mean a total "modernization" is in order. How much would it cost to change everyone, and can you quantify a Return On Investment?

>Is it that wrong to route all your traffic over the 50MBs Comcast line when you have an MPLS T-1 as a backup?
Depends. The Comcast line is an Internet service, not a dedicated MPLS circuit. The Internet provides zero class of service guarantees, and I doubt that the Comcast line comes with any guaranteed Service Level Agreement. If it goes down, it gets fixed when it gets fixed. Your T1's are going to have an SLA with monitary penalties for every x hours it is not available to you.


>Some* of our locations have 2 MPLS T-1 lines, so it is not simply one T-1 line per location
Doesn't matter. If you have 2 full DS3's, 1 DS3 can handle up to 30 fully utilized T1's. Even if half of your sites have dual T1's, it should still only be a max of 50% on each DS3. i would submit that if you are having issues of oversubscription of the DS3's, there is something else amiss, or they are not full DS3's.
With the MPLS, you still get multi-tiered QoS with voice, critical apps, and all other, appropriately prioritized.

Bottom line, if there is a business impact with the status quo, things need to be investigated and/or fixed.
A suggestion to use the inexpensive broadband Internet with VPN's to the Hub sites, and to offload general Internet browsing to a local high-speed Internet service such as your Comcast link is a perfectly viable suggestion. However, you need to understand the impact it will have on the Networking team to manage and maintain it.
We don't know your business, but there may also issues of Company Policies, industry regulations, etc. Perhaps there is a regulation, and subsequent policy that all Internet usage has to be monitored, logged, and categorized. Much easier to do if you have 2 points of the network to monitor/controll as opposed to 20 points. You have exponentially increased the costs of maintaining that required control/reporting capability.
A change in the network design of this magnitude can involve HR, Privacy Coordinator, Network operations, security teams, audit requirements, etc, etc, etc, etc... the costs of "change" can be dramatic if not being pushed from the top down.
The only way you are going to get top-down support is to quantify the Business Impacts of the way things are and how much $$ you lose every day because of waiting for data to load or application screens to update, or whatever impacts you can come up with. Or take another approach and quantify how much "better" your customer service would be "if" . . .
0
 
LVL 79

Accepted Solution

by:
lrmoore earned 250 total points
Comment Utility
One other thing that I just thought of...
Your 50Mb Internet line would have to terminate a VPN on an Internet circuit at one of the two hub sites for all the 'corporate' traffic. What is "their" Internet bandwidth? How much bigger of a pipe would they need to support all 20 sites with between 20 and 50Mb of "fat pipe" each?
If the best they can get is another DS3 Internet pipe, then you haven't really gained much, have you?
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:electriceyeguy1
Comment Utility
Good replies by all. What we ended up doing:
Routed ALL non-corp traffic (webpages, outside sites,etc) through the Comcast line via clud based proxy.  All external traffic now runs at full 50 MB speeds.  This reduced our overall traffic on the T-1 lines, and provided better overall speeds on both lines.  The Comcast Business line is considantly 10/50MB and is very reliable.  Not too shabby for only $199 per month.
0

Featured Post

IT, Stop Being Called Into Every Meeting

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

Join & Write a Comment

There are no good configuration guides for HP-H3C router to LYNC on the web. :( Big statement, but we havent been able to find one yet. We did find the following document useful, but the information was not enough to use H3C router for use as a L…
As companies replace their old PBX phone systems with Unified IP Communications, many are finding out that legacy applications such as fax do not work well with VoIP. Fortunately, Cloud Faxing provides a cost-effective alternative that works over an…
Illustrator's Shape Builder tool will let you combine shapes visually and interactively. This video shows the Mac version, but the tool works the same way in Windows. To follow along with this video, you can draw your own shapes or download the file…
This demo shows you how to set up the containerized NetScaler CPX with NetScaler Management and Analytics System in a non-routable Mesos/Marathon environment for use with Micro-Services applications.

744 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

15 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now