How do MPLS carriers differ?

SASE Secure Access Service Edge

You need to dig beyond the surface to understand how MPLS carriers are different.  While some carriers might lack certain capabilities, if they are not relevant to your wide area network, then that shouldn’t matter when you are performing an evaluation.  SD-WAN-Experts will help you understand all these matters.

1. Are you running legacy protocols?  These include Decnet, SNA, IPX and Appletalk.  Non IP protocols will need to be encapsulated in an IP virtual tunnel (GRE or DLSW) before being transported on the MPLS WAN.  You need to understand how the carriers handle this.

2. Does the carrier supply the CPE edge router?  What is the cost if they don’t?  Will they manage a router that you own?

3.  What are your long term plans for your WAN.  While you might not be using VoIP, consider if any CPE upgrades might be required if you do, to avoid future surprise (and embarassment to your management).

4. Since the carrier does not own the local loop, how do they guarantee QoS.  How often do they ping the router?  What is the process when a ping is not returned.

5. What are SLA metrics and guarantees.  Does the customer need to keep track of missing SLAs?

6. Do you need to have the carrier manage your network?  In most cases, this makes the most sense, as well as the NOC is connected to the support organization.  For some carriers, the NOC is separate from support, in which case it might be more effective to hire a non-carrier service provider who will monitor your routers and perform this function.  Also: if the local loop provider has a monitoring service that is connected to their service organization, this is even more useful than having the MPLS carrier do the service.  It is not very common to see a large network with one local loop provider common to all sites, but it does happen.

7. What kind of online tools are available to measure network activity and performance.

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