Regaining MPLS VPN WAN Visibility with Route Analytics
Seeing through the MPLS VPN "Cloud"
By Packet Design
Published 2007, Posted November 2007




Increasing numbers of enterprises are outsourcing their backbone WAN connectivity to MPLS VPN service providers. MPLS VPN WAN services have been gaining in market traction against Frame Relay due to availability of higher bandwidth links, and their price advantage when delivering "full mesh" application traffic between many sites in the network, as opposed to simple hub and spoke. In addition, the outsourcing of the IP network backbone reduces the need to engineer those IP links.

However, MPLS VPN WAN services come with some serious liabilities in terms of network management. Namely, once deployed, IT loses visibility into routing connectivity and reachability across their WAN backbone. The answer to this loss of network management information is route analytics technology, which leverages routing protocols themselves as an innovative source of network management information, delivering network analysis that can't be arrived at from any other type of technology or tool.

This paper reviews Layer 3 MPLS VPNs, and outlines common network management concerns voiced by enterprise IT managers when outsourcing their WAN to an MPLS VPN provider. The paper continues with a brief explanation of route analytics technology, then illustrates how route analytics technology can be used to regain critical WAN visibility, reduce finger-pointing, keep Service Providers accountable, and more successfully deliver end-users' application traffic.



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