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MPLS or not MPLS?

Posted on 2014-10-13
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Last Modified: 2014-10-31
We currently have MPLS between two sites. We found the price of MPLS by our provider is expensive.
I was told MPLS is nothing but a kind of VPN. If that is the case, we can simply set up site-to-site VPN through Cisco ASA 5510, which is equipped at both sites. So we can skip MPLS and save cost. What do you think?
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Question by:Castlewood
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by:aadih
aadih earned 333 total points
ID: 40377358
If there are only two sites are in your network, you may be better off not using MPLS .
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jhyiesla earned 167 total points
ID: 40377391
As the other expert mentions, MPLS is great for a multi site setup. We use it here because we have many different sites all wanting to connect into the main site. We also have the ability to have different speeds on each connection depending on the need of that site and can adjust these on the fly with the vendor. But, as the above expert says, if you only have two sites and are satisfied with the speed and cost of that speed of a regular line, then Site-to-site VPN may be the way to go.
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Expert Comment

by:Kevin Sims
ID: 40377398
If you are sending traffic across the country, distance is something that even MPLS won't be able to magically reduce your latency, so your better off going with higher bandwidth and VPN.

If they were all in the same geographical area and you didn't need some fat bandwidth for your application, the MPLS might be a fit.

T1's are a dying breed. Good technology, just outdated. It just isn't enough bandwidth anymore. Go with a huge pipe and VPN.
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by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40377520
In our case, the fiber MPLS speeds are way better than available internet service.
Best internet service is between 10Mbps and 15Mbps DOWN and UP is slower.
MPLS speeds are over 30Mbps in BOTH directions.
VPNs are generally limited by the UP speed because two sites are always involved in the link.
And, just for completeness, you *could* run VPN over MPLS if you want to be sure.
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Expert Comment

by:madunix
ID: 40377765
I would go MPLS, in the past we had all members and branches having all Dial and leased line, now we moved them to MPLS (AVPN/IPVPN) we went with MPLS because it gives us:
 - complete control over our WAN
 - improve disaster recovery
   (reconnect to backup locations if needed and applications can be re-routed easily)
 - greater high availability
 - performance
 - prioritizing bandwidth allocation by protocol/application QoS
 - most importantly for us was that we greatly reduces capital and operating costs.
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Expert Comment

by:Akinsd
ID: 40378282
MPLS is way faster than traditional VPN but with 2 sites, it may be an overkill especially if you're already thinking you're paying too much.

Check with your ISP if they have Ethernet Handoff or Private Transport (both have associated monthly cost also but more affordable compared to MPLS).

If speed is not a great concern (noticeable with lots of connected devices), then you can configure VPN (GRE-Tunnel) between your sites and never have to worry about mothly subscription.

http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-vpn-and-mpls/
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Misc/Q_27561787.html
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Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40378769
"Speed" is in the eye of the beholder.  You don't want to disappoint.

Consider this: 100Mbps Ethernet is the common low end today.
1Gbps Ethernet is more the norm.
So, that's what people are used to.
And, they are used to 10Mbps internet connections but that's NOT the same thing / experience.

I believe that 100Mbps is mostly indistinguishable from 1Gbps to the user but that doesn't account for competing traffic.

The bottom line is that 3Mbps or less on a VPN is going to be *very* noticeable and not appreciated!
30Mbps is more like it.
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Author Comment

by:Castlewood
ID: 40379810
It sounds like the bigger number of sites to connect the more sense the MPLS will make -- comparing to using multiple individual site-to-site VPN?
Can someone help me understand that?
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by:aadih
aadih earned 333 total points
ID: 40379830
Yes.

The following article at the link below details the advantages of MPLS over point-point private lines for designing a wide-area network. It's well written and helpful. It'd worth your time:

http://www.excitingip.com/707/advantages-of-mpls-vpn-network-over-point-to-point-leased-lines-for-wan-connectivity/ >
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:jhyiesla
ID: 40379843
I agree, unless you really need the potential advantages that an MPLS solution give you, you are probably better off with a VPN solution.
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Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 40380448
Without an actual cost / performance comparison, it's hard to recommend one approach over another.  i.e. internet VPN vs. MPLS vs. ..... Offerings may vary from place to place  / provider to provider.
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