A significant design feature of the new networks is expandable capacity. The initial installation offers a total capacity of 80 x 40 Gbps for up to 40 Gigabits per second to end customers. These networks have ability to expand to 80 x 100 Gbps when demand is sufficient to justify it.
Who needs this much bandwidth? Data centers, carrier points of presence, financial centers, Internet service providers, and others who require high speed low latency bandwidth to conduct business. Bandwidth demands worldwide are being pushed up by video content delivery, cloud computing, big data, disaster recovery and electronic medical records.
Level 3 already has an extensive worldwide backbone network that serves many locations in South America including Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. Undersea fiber links South America to North America, and from there to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
High speed international bandwidth is important to transnational corporations and any business buying or selling across national borders. These days, that includes most every business that isn’t strictly local. In some cases, high speed dedicated Internet service is all that is required to communicate worldwide. In addition to Internet browsing and general email, VPN or Virtual Private Network connections can be set up to provide security through encryption that establishes private “tunnels” through the public Internet.
Many companies now have multiple business locations worldwide. When Internet VPN doesn’t offer the needed performance, private line and network solutions make sense. These can be point to point dedicated private lines delivering T1, E1, DS3, SONET or Ethernet bandwidth. Another popular solution is using MPLS networks to provide the bulk of the transport and simply connecting at each location with “last mile” line services.
MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching networks offer the reach and economy of using large worldwide networks without the performance and security limitations of the public Internet. MPLS networks are privately owned and operated, serving only their paying customers. They are carefully engineered to ensure that each customer has the bandwidth committed to, along with low latency, jitter and packet loss. In some cases, the network allows customers to burst above their bandwidth commitment as long as extra capacity is available.
MPLS networks are known as inherently VPN even without encryption. This stems from the label switching technology that is used to direct packets from source to destination. IP addressing isn’t used. Instead, each packed is encapsulated in a wrapper known as a tag or label. These labels provide the routing information while traversing the network. This allows the network to establish classes of service to ensure the performance of latency sensitivity applications such as VoIP telephony or video conferencing. The proprietary nature of the labels also serve as an extra security feature to thwart intrusions to the already private network.
When to MPLS networks make sense? Certainly if you have more than two locations that need to be tied together, especially if those locations are in different countries. Many times, though, using an MPLS network connection offers a cost savings on long haul connections versus a dedicated private line. It depends on your bandwidth requirements and the distances involved.
Do you have a need for connectivity to South America or other destinations worldwide? If so, check options and prices on international bandwidth solutions from Level 3 and other major global carriers.
Note: Map of South America courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.