MPLS Goes Mainstream

Momentum is picking up for MPLS in core service provider and enterprise networks.

August 27, 2004

2 Min Read
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MPLS is becoming a mainstream protocol being marketed aggressively by carriers and adopted enthusiastically by enterprises. MPLS-based Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are seen by a growing number of carriers as a way to keep existing customers who are receiving Layer 2 services. By migrating them to Layer 3 MPLS VPNs, carriers also are setting the stage for new service delivery, according to a study by the Yankee Group.

"MPLS is being deployed in both service provider and enterprise networks to bridge the divide between the packet layers and the transport network," said Andrew G. Malis, president and chairman of the board at the MPLS and Frame Relay Alliance. (The MPLS Forum merged with the Frame Relay Forum to Create the MPLS and Frame Relay Alliance in April 2003.)

"Service-provider networks are using MPLS over high-availability SONET/SDH transport infrastructure. MPLS converges a carrier's existing services onto a single multi-service data-aware transport network, driving operating expenses down. At the same time, MPLS enables new services onto the same converged MPLS network, driving revenues up for minimal incremental cost," said Graham Pattison, president and CEO of Seranoa Networks.

Among the organizations turning to MPLS VPNs is Swiss International Airlines. AT&T just announced that it will be providing an MPLS-based VPN to link 36 sites in North America and Europe for the Swiss national air carrier.

The managed VPN will carry converged voice and data traffic, including internal applications, such as e-mail and passenger and cargo information. It also will provide the basis for information-sharing between employees, customers, and business partners.The carrier also is looking at running VoIP over the network. AT&T's contract runs for three years and is valued at $2.4 million.

Enterprises also are building their own MPLS networks. Japanese utility Tohoku Electric Power Co. Inc. announced that it is building a secure, fault-tolerant corporate network based on an IP/MPLS infrastructure. The power provider will use Juniper Networks' M-series routing platform in the network.

Carriers Hope MPLS-based Services Offset Declining Voice Revenue
In the face of plunging traditional revenue streams, service providers are placing high hopes on MPLS-based services from both a top line and bottom line standpoint.

TDM Over IP Solutions Being Developed
Four equipment manufacturers in the United States and Korea are developing a range of networking equipment based on a family of TDM-over-IP packet processors from Zarlink Semiconductor.

Wide-Area Networking Forums Plan Merger
The MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum said that by combining their efforts, a single organization would better work towards establishing multivendor, multiservice, packet-based networks.DEEP BACKGROUND

Progress on Converged Services Continues - Networking Pipeline

Cisco Snaps Up MPLS Smarts - Networking Pipeline

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