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You need a new WAN.

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Written by John Donlon
John Donlon
John Donlon

Gekko Director and network specialist, John Donlon takes a look at how traditional MPLS networks are no longer the go-to options for businesses. In this blog, John will explore options which bring better performance, cost-savings and resilience to multi-site businesses.

The Status Quo.  For the last 10-15 years MPLS, multi-protocol-label-switching, has been the de-facto standard for Enterprise WANs. It’s proved to be reliable, so the default approach for many WAN refresh projects is to go to the market to price up a new MPLS-based WAN with one of the major telecoms providers. There is a different approach, but first, let’s have a look at MPLS.

While MPLS is a reliable proven technology is does have some drawbacks and limitations:

  • Expensive
    MPLS-based networks are expensive. In some locations, MPLS bandwidth can be up to 100 times more expensive per Mb than direct internet bandwidth.
  • Inflexible
    Typically MPLS WANs are single provider which means you are limited to that vendor’s service offerings in each area. Therefore, using MPLS WANs could mean long lead times and limited bandwidth and circuit types.
  • Security
    There is no inherent security built into MPLS. Traffic is not encrypted across the MPLS core so traffic is visible to the provider. Typically the service provider can access your LAN unless you deploy additional firewall devices at each site
  • Efficiency
    Network Links and Traffic flows are controlled by the vendor, and that can mean that links remain underused and load balancing traffic, based on importance or traffic conditions, is not possible.

There is an alternative…

Our approach is different. We have developed GWAN a software defined (SD) WAN. The technologies behind GWAN allow us to build a logical WAN overlay on top of physical network links. In tandem with this logical overlay, GWAN includes technologies that allow for dynamic application optimisation and path management.

  • Value for Money
    By removing the dependency on expensive MPLS and point to point circuits and replacing them with lower cost Internet circuits, the cost of a WAN can be significantly reduced
  • Flexible
    GWAN provides an abstraction layer from the underlying physical connectivity and providers. GWAN allows the use of both multiple connectivity types and vendors across the WAN while still providing a single logical WAN overlay.  GWAN ensures that leads times can be cut and resiliency can by increased without increasing complexity.
  • Secure
    GWAN provides end to end encryption of all WAN traffic thus providing a more secure WAN than traditional MPLS WANs. Routers are separate to provider infrastructure so the vendor can no longer access your network with no need to deploy additional firewalls.
  • Efficient
    GWAN allows for dynamic path selection based on traffic types and load conditions so that all network links are efficiently utilised. GWAN also provides the ability to cache and optimise traffic flows to reduce circuit bandwidth requirements.
  • Resilient
    The combination of security, flexibility and efficiency mean that ultimately GWAN gives you resilience. The ability to respond quickly and maintain operations and customer service either remotely or dynamically on site.
  • The Benefits – Giving you bottom line cost-savings, flexibility, security, efficiency and ultimately resilience.

We’ll be following on from this blog with further insights and detailed scenarios.

Free Audit

If you’re interested in learning more about how Gekko’s GWAN can potentially save you money and improve your network’s performance, then please email tom.stevenson@gekko.co.uk or call Tom Stevenson on 0161 694 2304 to discuss your requirements.

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About John Donlon

John DonlonA leader in data centre design and technical leadership, John started his career in desktop support for Balfour Beatty over 15 years ago. Since then he has specialised in network design, implementation and support and has worked for BT Barclays Bank, Littlewoods and Cooperative bank. During his time at these companies he has successfully managed the implementation of large scale data centre and Wide Area Networks. In 2011 John achieved the Cisco Certified Design Expert certification, CCDE. John was only the 50th individual to pass the exam since its inception in 2007. Currently there only around 200 CDDEs worldwide. John joined Gekko as cofounder in 2012 and currently provides technical leadership for Gekko in the fields of data centre and managed services.

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