Monday, November 08, 2010

How To Determine The Best Solution For A New Voice/Data Network

Follow this process when designing on a new, upgraded, or replacement voice/data network. Gather information addressing each of the points listed and go from there ....

First .... start with what you have, what it does well (and what it doesnt).

What does the current system cost?

Is there something coming that will change your requirements? Any network change is much easier to justify if your current network will not do the job.

Any "weird" requirements (OK - wrong phrase) - non IP protocols, attached devices which are not natively IP such as ATM machines, tills, IBM controllers and the like.

External comms - extranet links, external CC authorisation are sometimes an issue in a bank network.

Reliability, availability, worst case down time, need for backup link, disaster recovery......

That helps set the parameters for what you might want from a new network.

The following assumes you are planning to rent a carrier type MPLS IP type service rather than L2 or build your own...

Find a good provider or two with the right footprint to provide roughly what you want and ask for some budgetary numbers - they will do a much better job with the info you have collected.

It is also worth asking your current T1 provider if they can supply an MPLS network if you are still happy with them - migration is often easier when the same people support old and new networks.

When it comes to tradeoffs then a lot depends on where you operate (e.g. North America).

For example these are the basic positives when selecting MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching).....

MPLS has lots of access link choices - conventional T1 / DS3 etc type circuits also including DSL and Ethernet.

More flexibility - MPLS by default gives you an "any to any" topology, but it can be set up to force traffic thru one or a few hub sites if you need that.

The service could include managed routers at your sites, or you can provide and look after those. You might want to run these yourself - e.g. to encrypt traffic so the provider cannot snoop on your financial info.

Cost effective international links (relative to international T1 at least).

Service "break out" in the MPLS cloud - typically data centre access, IP Telephony external access, Internet access.

Multiple logical networks on one set of physical links - partition different department traffic, or an internal network from an extranet and so on.

One flip side that hasnt been mentioned is that your provider will need to co-operate in managing the IP addressing of your WAN. That may be an advantage or the opposite depending on how you run the current network.

Migration of a big network can be complicated and operational changes like this are always an issue - I prefer to start with planning (as above), as sometimes how you get there defines the best compromise for the final design.

If you'd like free assistance with the entire process ... including finding the provider offering the best fit solution for your applications and specific locations .... simply request help here:

Dedicated Bandwidth Solutions

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Anonymous Virtual PBX Compare said...

Wonderful post you just shared. Well, it is so important to find an effective solution in order to make communication much affordable, efficient and reliable.

10:34 PM  

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