WAN technology

Which WAN technology is right for your business?

Information for Most Infrastructure Companies Wide Area Network (WAN) Infrastructure will be one of the most significant operating costs in terms of the total cost of ownership of the network. Given this fact, selecting the most suitable solution for the large area, or indeed a combination of solutions, is an option that companies cannot afford to take easily.

The choice is complicated by what at first glance seems to be a confusing number of options in terms of technologies, cost permutations and performance compensation.

A conventionally popular method of interconnecting geographically dispersed corporate sites is to rent dedicated lines rented between each node in the WAN. Leased line connectivity offers excellent quality of services and security, which reduces support costs.

However, implementing leased lines is also the most expensive way to build a WAN infrastructure. According to Alison Adams, product manager for Telewest Business data services, the relatively rigid costs and bandwidths, as well as costly upgrade paths, e.g. From an E1 to an E3 or DS-3, the last drawback of serial leased lines.

Because of this and the need for more flexibility, leased lines are increasingly seen as an inefficient use of costly bandwidth, and so many companies are now migrating from communication technology to lower-cost options such as virtual reality-based virtual networks. IP (IP VPNs)) or framework relay.

For business customers looking for enterprise level agreements for security and service level agreements, Frame Relay remains a strong partner.

Frame Relay network services will provide a permanent virtual circuit (PVC). This means that customers benefit from a seemingly continuous and dedicated connection without having to pay a full-time leased line. At the service provider level, the route that drives each staff to the destination is assigned dynamically and can be billed based on actual usage.

It is a proven, fail-safe technology that is more profitable than the leased line and more scalable than a private line network, according to Adams Telewest Business.

She added additional that Frame Relay is losing ground to IP-based VPNs, but the market for this technology continues to grow, albeit more slowly.

Thus, Technology Futures Manager Steve Kennedy said: “Frame Relay is an outdated technology, but it is still secondhand by legacy systems because it provides QoS and switched virtual circuits.” ethernet services are now being successfully used in wan environments

Another corporate WAN option is asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), a dedicated interconnect technology that is frequently appreciated as a compromise offering because it combines bandwidth uniformity and delays with the flexibility of packet switching.

ATM is suitable for real-time applications and is often used in networks with high bandwidth requirements and strict QoS specifications. “It is ideal for large or smaller sites that support Frame Relay, supporting Frame Relay or ATM,” said Adams.

ATM is at the heart of most telecommunications networks. It is a packet-based network technology that supports total quality of service and enables you to offer truly differentiated services.

As Kennedy says, “ATM for the desktop would be the next big thing, but it never happened, because Ethernet and IP technologies have increased functionality and reliability, and costs have been drastically reduced; however, it is still widely used in networks. “Spine and won” Does not disappear anytime soon.

“It will be replaced by IP Internet Protocol Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which really overlaps the QoS features of the ATM with an IP network. As the world migrates to everything on the IP, it makes sense to move away from ATM and IP MPLS “

MPLS is a standards-based technology that enhances network data flow while reducing infrastructure management. MPLS establishes a specific path for the data packets, activated by a label embedded in each pack. MPLS offers may have QoS guarantees. The technology is called multiprotocol because it works with Internet Protocol (IP), asynchronous transport mode and frame relay.

In the real creation, for an enterprise WAN solution, an MPLS Virtual Protocol Protocol (VPN) network that transfers data over a standard IP backbone owned by a service provider can deliver substantial cost savings compared to leased line solutions.

“IP-based VPNs provide corporate customers with a secure and cost-effective data-to-site data transfer environment,” said Craig Thomas.

It is strictly possible to use the public Internet as the backbone of WAN connectivity, but the lack of quality of service guarantees and potential security risks make this option largely unviable for the enterprise. But the cost savings of encapsulating data over the Internet over a virtual private network can be attractive.

“The price of using the Internet for WAN connections is a hassle,” said Aberdeen Group analyst Virginia Brooks, “in some cases, a VPN can pay for itself in a few months, simply saving long-distance taxes.” 

Businesses that need inter-office connectivity may also consider Metro Ethernet connections as an alternative broadband technology.

(MAN)  Metropolitan Area Network services have the potential to provide more bandwidth with on-demand provisioning as well as the ability to provide more granular bandwidths (1Mbit / s steps in 1Mbit / s steps in Switched Optical Ethernet case). It can also offer multiple classes of services, with up to eight IEEE-defined QoS levels.

Security is an inherent element of Metro Ethernet services. Underground offerings typically use VLANs, which are secure links from one point to another, so carrier technology can form a good solution for interconnecting large sites. Adams believes Metro Ethernet offers a “true step toward convergence.”

Yankee group analyst Nicholas Maynard said: “The idea of ​​Metro Ethernet services seems nearly too moral to be true – extra bandwidth for less money, more flexibility than network nightmares and easy delivery for the user.”

But there is usually something that sounds too good to be true, he notes, noting the lack of last-mile fiber as the main limiting factor of Metro Ethernet.

However, even though Metro Ethernet comes out of the wings as a cost-effective and flexible technology, the current trend is that companies are moving away from traditionally favored options, such as leased lines and using IP VPNs and MPLS technologies. at a relatively safe level and cost effective price. reduced WAN connectivity.

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