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'We can't use asymmetric broadband' - knocking down more MPLS myths

April 23, 2013 | Telepresence Options

internet globe

Story and Images by Andy Gottlieb / NetworkWorld

Broadband has more total bandwidth and reflects how traffic flows today, while WAN Virtualization can address the "single DSL upstream bandwidth" issue.

As we started to address�a couple columns back, until recently, for a serious enterprise WAN, you probably needed�MPLS. Thanks to the�Next-generation Enterprise WAN (NEW) architecture, this is no longer the case.�

Many myths persist as to why MPLS is "necessary" for the enterprise WAN. Given howexpensive MPLS is�relative to Internet-based connectivity, the telecom service providers need people to believe these things in order to maintain their market share and extremely high margins. Today, we tackle another one of these myths: that an enterprise WAN "needs" symmetric bandwidth, and so can't use asymmetric broadband connectivity. (And using this logic, without being able to use such asymmetric broadband, the price difference between Internet and MPLS is low enough that I should just use MPLS for my enterprise WAN.)

The "logic" of this myth goes roughly as follows: "web surfing might be asymmetric, but�business�locations and users create data and files, rather than just consuming data, and so need symmetric bandwidth."

The reality: headquarters/data center sites do typically have roughly symmetric bandwidth needs, and certainly need a lot of upstream bandwidth. Of course, a�colocation facility�is the ideal place to put your data center, even for private cloud, and public cloud services are generally based out of such places. Data center consolidation means there are fewer such sites than ever hosting applications accessed by remote users.

And while users who create content (large PowerPoint files, for example) certainly benefit from additional upstream bandwidth when they create those files, that doesn't change the reality that 90%+ of the time, those files are being�downloaded�somewhere rather than uploaded. So it's important not to confuse the desirability of relatively high upstream bandwidth with the need for symmetric bandwidth. In addition,�WAN Optimization�can minimize the time/bandwidth needed for "uploads" for those very frequent occasions when only parts of a large file are changed.

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