Enterprises indicate plans for MPLS VPN use

* Converged apps seem to be driving VPN use

Early results of a Webtorials survey about WAN service usage plans conducted in May 2004 and sponsored by Network Physics turned up some interesting results. In particular, there is a strong indicator that enterprises are planning fairly broad adoption of MPLS-based VPN services in the next 18 months.

Some of that growth in MPLS VPN adoption will be at the expense of traditional frame-relay network services. This is not because of dissatisfaction with those services but rather it is the nature of the applications to be supported that seems to be changing.

Enhanced quality of service (QoS) guarantees, especially for converged networking applications such as VoIP, plus a greater degree of meshed networking to support such applications, were shown to be particularly strong drivers, for example. Businesses generally don't just build new networks simply because they're impressed by the idea of QoS or meshed topologies. They build networks to support the needs of the applications they run.

Clearly, these "network layer" considerations point to the rapid adoption of converged networking on a widespread basis.  But widespread adoption isn't necessarily a good idea unless the newly adopted networking capabilities are manageable.

Difficulty with managing MPLS ranks among four of the top six obstacles to MPLS adoption at the current time. However, the Webtorials survey results showed that management of the newly deployed MPLS-based VPN is expected to be at least as good as - and hopefully better than - current capabilities for legacy networks. Technically speaking, this is a reasonable expectation, so one may be quite hopeful that the deployed capabilities will indeed take advantage of the enhanced technology.

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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