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Hybrid WAN – looking past the MPLS lock-in



Raoul Tecala |Business Development Director | Networking

Raoul Tecala |Business Development Director | Networking

I have a mobile device that’s one generation behind the current market. It works fine, but for my business needs, I need one that’s faster and easier to integrate with my other devices. However, the contract I signed with my mobile carrier has me locked in on that device, and I can’t upgrade for another six months. It’s frustrating, but there’s not much I can do.

IT organisations are dealing with much the same woes when it comes to the implementation of hybrid wide area networks (WANs). Traditionally, businesses ran their WAN only on multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology provided by tier-1 telcos. Now, with the advent of hybrid WAN, there are multiple connectivity options that – when combined cleverly – can significantly reduce cost and so free up budget to use in more innovative areas such as cloud. IT organisations are beginning to look at implementing these measures into their network management strategies.

The holdup comes with MPLS. Many businesses have signed long-term contracts with telcos for their MPLS services, agreements which can last three to five years. With changing network management options, businesses will naturally want to gravitate to methods that will reduce costs. For the moment they’re locked in … but after that? Are we about to see the end of MPLS?

Not quite. In terms of the woes with my mobile carrier: once I’m able to upgrade, the old version becomes obsolete. But MPLS isn’t necessary obsolete, nor is abandoning it completely a viable solution. There are a number of benefits to continuing with some MPLS services integrated with your hybrid WAN model. But what could or should the final WAN picture look like?

Read more about it in our latest thinking article.