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Home > Managed WAN or MPLS

Managed WAN or MPLS

WAN v MPLS – What’s the difference?

Spitfire differentiates MPLS solutions from standard WANs as they differ in several significant ways.

Wide Area Networks (WANs) cover all secure multi-site networks, using different methods of linking sites, and so includes MPLS, which is effectively an easy to manage way of providing a WAN.

Building the network


Standard WANs use a combination of Point to Point links between sites and/or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to link sites. The main advantage of this approach are that you can use services from multiple providers to provide different links.

The key disadvantages are that every circuit linking sites has to be individually managed and as you add sites the complexity increases, leading to higher costs in hardware, management and support. WANs of this type tend to have grown organically over time.

MPLS – Multi-Protocol Label Switching – is a simple, cost effective way of linking sites, or creating a Wide Area Network. The key difference with a traditional WAN is that an MPLS solution uses connections into a single providers core network, and the provider manages the links between each site and the core. Internet access and management is also provided centrally. The key advantages are simplicity, flexibility and control, and lower costs overall. New sites can be added (or sites removed) without having to re-configure the WAN as a whole.

Standard and MPLS WANs can use a variety of different circuits to build the network. This allows you to use the circuit that is the correct speed and budget at each individual site.

Circuits that can be used for all types of WANs:

  • ADSL 2+ (up to 24Mb download/1.2Mb upload)
  • Annex M (up to 16Mb download/2.5Mb upload)
  • VDSL Fibre Broadband (up to 80Mb download)
  • SDSL (uncontended 2Mb download & upload)
  • Copper Ethernet (EFM) 2Mb – 20Mb
  • Fibre Ethernet 10Mb – 10Gb

With all WANs it is important to consider the upstream (sending speeds) as well as the downstream speed. The other key factor is circuit quality & throughput. Ethernet circuits are the highest quality Internet circuits in the UK, and offer far higher throughput than DSL circuits that may have a higher headline speed.

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There are a number of different resilience options, depending on the type of circuit, including:

  • TotalCare on the circuit
  • Back up ADSL/SDSL circuits allowing easy failover
  • Resilient Ethernet Options

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