Any organization looking for a highly
secure, low-cost, high bandwidth, robust networking
solution for internetworking will immensely benefit
from MPLS VPN. by Vinod Chandran
In the previous article I wrote
about how MPLS makes for a better VPN. This time I'll
write about the benefits and services of MPLS VPNs.
The MPLS VPN provides a low-cost,
highly secure and highly reliable enterprise networking
solution. Enterprises can streamline their operations
across the country, and enhance their business activity
using this network. ERP solutions that are popular with
enterprises, can easily run over the MPLS VPN network,
interconnecting the various branch offices, dealers
and factorieswith the main office being almost
anywhere in the country. Being fully deployed on an
optical fiber backbone, this network is secure and offers
lots of bandwidth, making the network scalable. Therefore,
users of this network can choose to upgrade their network
to higher bandwidth as and when required.
In effect, any organization
looking for a highly secure, low-cost, high bandwidth,
robust networking solution for internetworking between
various subunits will immensely benefit from this cutting
are the services possible?
The MPLS VPN network provides a common infrastructure
for carrying a wide range of services. Some of the most
popular services include:
Multimedia Services: It is
possible to distribute voice, video and data across
the MPLS VPN network, just as it's done in a LAN environment.
This service facilitates the exchange of information
rapidly between the various sections of the organization.
Intra Office Voice Calls: The
MPLS VPN network is capable of carrying voice calls.
It gives high priority for voice thus ensuring QoS (Quality
of service). This presents huge savings for a company,
especially if the volume of intra-office calls is high.
VoIP: The MPLS VPN network
can carry VoIP traffic, which may also include the service
providers' VoIP traffic.
Video Conferencing: The MPLS
VPN network enables users to set up video conferencing
with certain equipment. This service is especially popular
among enterprises as it saves time and travel costs.
Universities can run a virtual campus through interactive
video sessions. Interconnection among Universities can
greatly advance the cause of research and development,
as well as academic progress.
Data Transfer: High-speed data
transfer is possible across this network. Since this
is a dedicated network, the delay is non-perceptible
and error free. This is an ideal solution to meet all
the data transfer requirements of any organization.
E-mail: By setting up e-mail
servers across their Internet, companies can transfer
mail using the MPLS VPN network. This eliminates the
need for any other type of official correspondence,
while at the same time ensuring prompt delivery of information
which greatly enhances the speed and efficiency of workflow
within an organization.
ERP: Many companies use ERP
solutions for online business transactions with peer
companies, dealers, customers, branch offices, factories
etc. Working online in this manner requires highly robust
and congestion free networks, which is made possible
by MPLS VPN networks of BSNL.
Access VPN: Employees, while
on the move, may require to be constantly in touch with
their organization's database for critical information,
including product catalogue, pricing, marketing material,
inventory check etc. Such users can access their MPLS
VPN network through a dial-up Internet account, irrespective
of their location.
Intranet: There is hardly any
organization which does not have its own intranet for
work flow management and for meeting their information
requirements. Such intranet solutions can be run across
the MPLS VPN network thus enabling integration of operations
across the country.
Extranet: Companies may prefer
to exchange information with other similar companies
to speed up business transactions. The MPLS VPN network
is capable of providing the extranet facility by interconnecting
the VPNs, depending on the customer's requirement.
Internet: Customers preferring
a common infrastructure for intranet and Internet access
can have access to the Internet via the MPLS VPN network.
However, this will be only according to the customer's
Multicast: One of the important
new features that MPLS VPN offers is multicasting. This
is especially useful for applications such as video
conferencing and customer specific broadcasting.
Let's suppose multiple customers
at Chennai need to view a video clip being transmitted
from New Delhi. With multicast it is possible to send
a single signal over a long distance, which is replicated
at the destination for multiple viewers. So after reaching
Chennai, the signal is replicated into multiple signals
for further transmission to specific customers. This
saves bandwidth as multiple transmissions of the same
video need not be sent from the source. Moreover, customers
can join and leave the multicast group as they please.
This solution is especially useful for services like
Video on demand.
are the benefits?
The MPLS VPN network reduces network complexity and
cost. Rather than setting up and managing individual
points between each office, customers need to provide
only one connection from their office router to the
service provider edge router.
Further, the interconnections
are managed by the service provider. Fully managed services
are also possible using a VPN network. This is called
Layer 3 Service. Here the service provider manages the
customer end router, thus removing the need for trained
manpower, which is an added expense for the customer.
The MPLS VPN network also provides
Layer 2 Service, which is almost like the physical leased
line. This may be preferred by enterprises who don't
want to outsource the management of their network. Moreover,
the MPLS VPN network is also capable of handling the
encryption of data. The customer is free to use encryption
techniques such as Public Key/Private Key encryption,
IPsec encryption etc.
The writer is DGM, BSNL