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MPLS - Is there a better (cheaper) solution?

I work for a company with a handful of small-to-medium branches spread across OR, WA, and AZ. We currently utilize a MPLS network to connect all the branches together, which was our recommended solution several years ago. We aren't doing anything special or complicated with regards to networking; the MPLS design simply provides us with a meshed network, where all branches can communicate with one another and QoS is maintained throughout(if we ever go to VoIP/video conferencing), but that's about it and we are paying high monthly costs for those MPLS lines.

My question is whether or not this is still best practice for a small/medium business. How does site-to-site VPN tunneling over the internet, for example, stack up? I've been looking into Cisco's Meraki lineup and it sounds like these types of solutions can easily connect branches with cheap internet lines, reducing the monthly networking and management costs. Thoughts?
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Acme_Construction_Supply
Asked:
Acme_Construction_Supply
1 Solution
 
giltjrCommented:
Cheaper than MPLS?  Yes.

Better than MPLS?  Depends on your definition of "better."

MPLS is going to give you guaranteed minimum bandwidth.  
MPLS is going to give you "all" the bandwidth you purchased to you.
MPLS allows you to prioritize traffic so the VIOP gets through without being affected by other traffic (ftp, http, file sharing, ect.)

Internet connection have no guaranteed minimum bandwidth.
The amount of bandwidth you get depends on what is on the other end.
No traffic prioritization once it hits your ISP's router.  So my traffic not even related to you could interfere with your VOIP.

Internet based VPN's are fine and do work, you just have to make sure you are aware that you are trading certain guarantees for a either lower cost, higher bandwidth or both.
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Don JohnstonCommented:
What he said. :-)
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