Managed Services and MPLS

Businesses of today are urgently in need of help with overcoming the dilemma of running a successful business through cost control and yet increasing revenue. The multitude of services required to be successful and the glut of applications are almost mandatory to be competitive. However, mismanagement and bad planning can create a massive loss in money, resources and time. The Managed Service Provider provides that help for a wide range of technologies. VPNs, predicted by the Gartner Group to experience the greatest growth of all Managed Services is one such technology. The budget for VPN technology according to the group was $6.76 billion in 2006. The cost savings to the small business can reach 27%. Another technology gaining in acceptance is IP Telephony. Network security, both LAN and WLANs, together with remote access  IT Support Services creates an environment that has the potential to overwhelm the internal IT Department. The MSP provides an option that saves the small business from building and implementing from the ground up. Acceptance of Managed Services is a boost for providers. Again the Gartner Group’s study indicates that the majority of Fortune 1000 companies are currently using or considering the use of managed services.

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) has become increasingly popular for building these networks. A properly designed MPLS environment can provide the Quality of Service needed to satisfy the customers’ need for voice, video and data.Another benefit to the customer is that a managed MPLS service frees IT resources, allowing internal staff to devote time to work other than monitoring routers, help desk support and other user problems. The scalability of an IP VPN over an MPLS network is endless.

As a Managed Service Provider one needs to pay attention to the evolution of the network. WLANs are yet to be totally resolved. As a Certified Wireless Network Trainer I have first hand knowledge of the problems that are being faced in the industry. My belief, though pessimistic, is that WLAN will eventually be a specialized Managed Service. Unlike the wired network which is physical, the almost virtual workings of a WLAN presents a special need in terms of management, security and availability. Understanding of the theory of MPLS will allow the MSP to leverage its functionality and provide the protection, profitability and productivity bottom line to his/her client. MPLS is also ideal for the dispersed network where it is impossible to have a roaming IT team. Managed Services gives even the small company the luxury of a huge IT Department to which it can grow. MPLS gives the service provider unlimited potential, services can quickly be added to the IP VPN without having to build thus in turn creating massive savings for the client.

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