• United States
Executive Editor

MCI integrates customers’ existing nets with MPLS services

Jun 03, 20042 mins

* MCI introduces VPN Network Gateway Services

MCI has introduced a service that lets customers blend network-based VPNs with their existing WANs.

Called VPN Network Gateway Service, it enables MCI customers to take their existing frame relay and ATM networks and integrate them with Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) services, creating a hybrid but fully connected virtual network.

The service relies on gateways in its network that can blend different traffic from the disparate networks so users can connect from a frame-relay site to an MPLS site without altering their current networks.

MPLS VPNs are based in carrier networks and can create fully meshed networks more simply than with point-to-point, frame relay or ATM networks. But many of these legacy networks are stable and reliable and customers don’t want to disrupt them, even for the possible benefits of MPLS.

Given that MPLS can lead to much more flexible network configurations as well as varying service quality levels for traffic of different importance, many customers are intrigued by the technology. But the reality that their existing networks work and have no fatal flaws keeps them from wholesale shifts to MPLS.

Potentially big savings on the cost of an MPLS VPN service vs. the cost of existing services will continue to be an attraction as service providers try to lure customers to switch. MPLS conversions by customers mean carriers can streamline their networks and improve the efficiency of their operations.

Meanwhile, gateway services like this one give customers the opportunity to try out the new technology on a limited basis without running the risk of crippling network performance if it doesn’t live up to expectations.