• United States

Sprint and MPLS: pals after all?

Jul 23, 20032 mins
Internet Service ProvidersMPLSNetworking

* Sprint to offer MPLS-based VPN service

Last week, it became clear that Sprint would introduce a Multi-protocol Label Switching VPN service. If not familiar with the scuttlebutt, one might say, “so what, everyone has an MPLS-based VPN.” But that’s just it.

Over the past 12 to 18 months Sprint has been explaining to the market why it doesn’t need MPLS, while all of its competitors have adopted and deployed the technology.

AT&T, MCI, legally known as WorldCom, and international service provider Equant are just a few of Sprint’s competitors that have long supported MPLS.

But Sprint has maintained that its overabundance of bandwidth eliminates the need for MPLS traffic engineering in its network, which would just add unneeded complexity to the carrier’s backbone, according to Sprint.

The carrier is sticking with that stance and is saying it has no plans to add MPLS to the core of its network. But now, it is going forward with an MPLS-based VPN service.

It seems that Sprint was spending more time than it liked explaining to potential customers why its current Network IP VPN and Layer 3 Tunneling Protocol v3 services could meet their network requirements just as well.

Now, the carrier says it will introduce its first MPLS service by year-end. Sprint did not offer up any other details.

Sprint says it will continue to offer and support its existing VPN services. But one might wonder how committed the carrier would be in supporting its MPLS offering considering it reluctance to deploy the technology for as long as it had.