If you are planning to hire an MPLS service provider, then you will have to ask many questions to make sure that it is the best provider for your needs.
Can it support offices across the geography?
Yes, if you have your offices spread across many regions in the country and you want to connect them all, then the MPLS network infrastructure should be extensive enough to provide you with services across all the locations. Your requirements may keep on changing in future as well so you will like to make sure that the provider is capable of meeting them as well.
What Kind of Services You May Expect?
If you are looking for services in India then you will like to get end-to-end VPN services on the differing traffic: regular as well as mission-critical. If you have an IP addressing scheme then will you be able to use it when you go for VPN services? Will it be able to support data, voice & video traffic? What connectivity options are included?
How Many Classes of Service Are Available?
If you plan to have multiple classes of traffic then will the provider be able to offer them. In most cases, you may need 3-classes so you have to find it with the provider about it and how it will provide those classes?
Will you have to change your IP addressing?
If you have an IP addressing system in place then will it remain the same or will it change? It is set to change then you will have to assess its pros and cons well. If you need MPLS point-to-point on Layer 2, then you should be able to get it. In the same way, you should be able to get point-to-multipoint on Layer 3.
If you plan to move to an all IP infrastructure then how are you going to address TDM to IP issue? Will then new MPLS provider be able to deliver this change to you?
With Ethernet over MPL, you can send layer L-2 Ethernet frames over MPLS. If it is provided then you will be able to send then you will be able to send Ethernet traffic over MPLS Layer-3.
Well so far we have discussed one thing, and that is the services provided by the network, and now we will discuss those questions that relate to the performance issues.
Will the provider track and monitor the entire network to make sure that everything goes well? What are performance thresholds to measure the network availability and network latency?
Service Level Agreements
In an SLA there are many things to make sure that indicate the real world network performance. In SLA there may be details about the latency and some details regarding jitter. When a latency figure is provided, is it between PE nodes or does it includes the latency between your site and the node as well. You need to close attention to real-world VPN performance. If you have a lot of voice traffic, then it has to be given strict priority. If there is any further delay that is coupled with a variance of the average figures, the voice may not be able to perform at all so what you will you have is a service that hardly works at all.
What about Burstable Bandwidth?
There are a few MPLS providers that offer burstable bandwidth on an MPLS connection. It is a nice feature to have for a company with seasonal or periodic bandwidth needs.
The companies who have internet access through their MPLS network offer a hosted firewall in the MPLS cloud. Does the provider allow you to have a single firewall that manages the internet traffic from every site?
Support for cloud
If you have applications on the cloud, then you will like to deliver the application over MPLS. If your cloud service provider is same as the MPLS provider, then you may save on the cost of nodes as well.
In The End
If you consider all these things, then you may have the best MPLS network infrastructure provider working for you!