Migrating from T1 to fiber WAN

Migrating from multisite MPLS to 100Mbps Ethernet can save you a bundle; here's how.

Back in the old days, the only realistic way to connect multiple remote sites was by T1 or T3 delivered either point-to-point or via Frame Relay. These were either slow and expensive or fast and unbelievably expensive. Then came MPLS, which dispensed with the need for point-to-point circuits from site to site, but was still bound by high expense. You got what you paid for. These circuits were not only reliable, but if a T1 or T3 circuit dropped, you could generally count on the carrier to jump on the problem quickly and resolve it with some expediency.

[ Ethernet vendors racing to meet demand ]

As cable and DSL networks began expanding, the ISPs introduced the concept of a business-class circuit. With significantly higher bandwidth than a T1 for far less money, these circuits are quite attractive -- but susceptible to the vagaries of their physical plant, which is to say that they're not as reliable as the T1s and T3s of old. In many cases, that trade-off is acceptable since the cost savings can be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars per year.

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