We’ve spent several months talking about network convergence and the savings and benefits you receive when you migrate to an IP platform. In its simplest form, network convergence is the ability for voice, video and data (wireline and wireless) communication to travel along the same IP platform. The reality, of course, is more complex.
If you have moved to MPLS-based VPNs, you are already benefiting from convergence. There are genuine costs savings when you no longer have to pay for and manage separate networks to support data, video and voice. And network efficiencies and performance increase when you are able to prioritize your business-critical traffic on one high-performing platform.
But despite the benefits, moving to an MPLS VPN can be daunting. Businesses with legacy products such as ATM or Frame Relay have somewhat of an ability to monitor and control the connectivity between their company locations (via virtual connections). However, when your company’s disparate networks are unified into a single IP infrastructure; you turn the day-to-day management and network routing over to your provider. This means handing over the ability to see how your network is running, what’s gone wrong (or right!), and how to best optimize the traffic.
If you have been deeply involved in the monitoring and management of your voice and data networks and are thinking of migrating to MPLS, the idea of losing visibility or control can be worrisome. Fortunately, the issue of control is not a question of all or nothing. You can select a solution that enables network control and responsibility to be shared in varying proportions, including end-to-end managed solutions for small, medium and large companies who want full outsourcing of their WAN solution or don’t have the resources to engage in-house expertise.
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, you can receive insight into your network via tools such as the Sprint Compass. As a Sprint IP/MPLS VPN customer, Compass gives you unparalleled visibility into the “cloud” and gives you the power to better monitor, manage and control your network performance. (More about Compass in a future blog).
No matter what option you choose, the savings and increased efficiencies of converging voice, data and video applications over a single IP platform is real. Convergence is a technology that’s altering the way we send, receive, and access communication. And whether you’re managing a small business or the IT department of a large enterprise, you’re a stakeholder in convergence and its virtually limitless list of opportunities and benefits.