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MPLS – the practical solution for interconnecting sites, data centres and cloud services

As application complexity increases what is the best solution for cohesive, easy to manage, effective connectivity to support the application and business requirements for your clients?

MPLS network

The ongoing trend for adoption of hosted, colocated and cloud services continues to drive the need for effective multisite networking. Added to this there are disruptive changes to conventional working practises, such as the explosion in home or mobile working and ever tightening compliance regulations. While the emphasis has historically been placed on ensuring available bandwidth, as increasing business demands drive more intense demands on your LAN and WAN connections network performance and security become paramount.

So for your clients you must now deliver applications with high network performance requirements but which are no longer safely deployed on a local area network (LAN). So the challenge now becomes how to deliver consistent application performance and network security for applications that operate across multiple sites or indeed from a datacentre or a Cloud Service Provider platform such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.

Harry Bowlby, Joint Managing Director, Spitfire.
Harry Bowlby, Joint Managing Director, Spitfire.

There are solutions available but the key is to identify a solution that not only consistently addresses your client’s technical performance and support requirements but also meets their budget.

Traditionally IPsec VPN (IP security Virtual Private Networks) “logical tunnels” would be created between sites that encrypt the data as it passes over the unsecured Internet. Whilst a quick ad-hoc solution for connecting two sites together a fully meshed IPsec VPN network requires (n-1)*n / 2 individual tunnels, meaning 8 sites requires 28 tunnels to be configured, 16 sites 120 tunnels and so on. That is a lot of configuration and a lot that can go wrong. Possible solutions to the meshing problem such as VPN concentrators introduce points of failure and additional expense. IPsec VPNs typically require specialised routers or add additional licensing costs and encryption is a CPU intensive activity possibly leading to router performance issues. As if those issues were not bad enough using Internet based circuits offers no performance guarantees on packet loss or latency.

At the other end of the technology scale are dedicated Point to Point leased lines. These are generally a good solution for short distances and when only two or three sites require inter-connectivity but do not scale well when either the number of sites or the distances between sites increases. Cost and complexity both increasing exponentially as either of these factors rise.

MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) as a technology is nothing new but the MPLS solution Spitfire offers is.

Quite simply, Spitfire’s core network is “MPLS ready”. What this means to your clients is that any Spitfre internet circuit can be reassigned as an MPLS access circuit without complex confguration or prohibitive costs. By having a Spitfire circuit at each site the MPLS network interconnects each of these sites into a private multi-site LAN. As the data travels between sites it does not traverse the public internet at any point therefore offering consistently high, SLA backed network performance without the encryption overhead or the risks of the internet. MPLS is therefore not just suitable for typical data traffic but with the correct circuits has low latency, packet loss and jitter characteristics, and can be ideal for applications like voice and video.

Spitfire’s approach to MPLS is simple; your clients receive all of the technical benefts of the MPLS solution without the large hardware, license and management costs incurred with other solutions. Spitfire MPLS is therefore ideal for any sized business which wants to share data and/or voice connectivity across multiple offices.

Spitfire’s core network provides a wide range of circuits to suit your clients’ needs and budgets, including:

Fibre Ethernet
Copper Ethernet
VDSL (Fibre Broadband)

By taking advantage of UK national wholesale access, most MPLS services are comparable monthly rental charges to the equivalent standalone internet circuits. By removing the requirement of firewalls at each site an MPLS can be a cost effective solution, even for SME clients with one or two sites.

As the circuits connect into Spitfire’s central core network, all sites are interconnected with no single point of failure. This makes an MPLS network more ?exible and resilient than using point-to-point leased lines, less expensive than SD WAN and easier to manage than VPN tunnels. Adding a new site into an MPLS network is as simple as just ordering a single circuit at the new location. Spitfire will then connect this into the MPLS network, allowing data to securely route between sites without the need to set up VPNs and firewalls.

Spitfire MPLS networks offer high security while reducing overall cost of ownership for clients. Standard circuit routers are used on site, meaning expensive routers and firewalls are not needed, nor is any complicated onsite customer configuration or management required by you. The service is fully configured, managed and monitored by Spitfire and of course, SLA backed.

Spitfire MPLS not only provides inter-site connectivity but also provides access to a range of Spitfire On-Net services and of course the internet. Spitfire’s SIP network directly connects to your MPLS to provide SIP trunks or Cloud PBX services with assured voice quality. Using our Cloud Connect service we also directly connect into major Cloud Service Provider platforms to enable high performance private connections to your chosen Cloud service platform.

For internet connectivity an integrated hosted firewall service provides a centralised internet connection, for all sites or if you prefer we can host firewalls for you to manage. The MPLS cloud allows all sites to link to each other in a fully meshed private network, and when linked to the hosted firewall this provides access to the internet through a centrally managed point, so there is no need for a firewall on every site. And conversely any remote connections arrive at a single point.

In summary a Spitfire MPLS provides practical, cost effective connectivity between sites, data centres and cloud growing network connectivity demands.

For more information call Spitfire on 0800 319 6300 or visit our website:

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