For years, companies have been deploying dedicated point-to-point T1 circuits to transport hosted voice services. At the time, this was the most effective manner by which to maximize voice Quality of Service or QoS. While these circuits weren’t generally very costly, they weren’t able to be leveraged for anything else outside of voice and also did not have any inherent redundancy or fault tolerance. This forced companies to employ a number of circuits, one for primary voice, a carrier diverse circuit for voice redundancy, a circuit for internet (DIA), a circuit for WAN, etc., creating compounded expenses along with increased points of vendor management for Network Services.
As technology and the delivery of technology continues to progress at an ever accelerating speed, the current types of circuits provide a great deal more flexibility and value than the PTP circuits of yesteryear. We are finding that many companies, particularly those with multiple sites, are moving to MPLS. Properly provisioned MPLS can provide maximum voice QoS, DIA, WAN and other data traffic. This is partly accomplished through the configuration of VRFs, or virtual pipes within the MPLS pipe. When data traffic spikes cause saturation within that VRF, it has no impact on the voice VRF whose bandwidth is protected by the size of VRF that was created for it. In this environment voice no longer relies simply on packet prioritization at the router level. Additionally, if a leg of an MPLS WAN experiences a fault or service outage other legs are able to continue carrying the load, providing high availability.
As MPLS has become a commoditized standard, it has become highly cost effective and well within reach for companies to take advantage of. With carrier-diverse MPLS companies can now have fully redundant high availability for not only voice traffic but also for DIA, WAN and other data, all within two cost-effective MPLS circuits at each site. The day of needing numerous circuits to meet business needs has come to an end.