Today’s enterprises are adopting new applications at a greater rate than ever before. There are now so many that often even IT won’t know the full extent of what’s deployed. What they will know is that today they need a WAN robust enough to cope with even the most latency-sensitive applications such as unified communications. Is MPLS the answer?

A May 2013 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of AT&T explores the widespread move to MPLS WANs – the main drivers core implementation challenges.

The study covers critical areas for any business looking to get the most from their move to MPLS WAN, including:

  • The explosion in new bandwidth-hungry applications
  • The challenge of dealing with an ongoing budget squeeze
  • The ability to assign application-specific class-of-service (CoS) routing prioritization labels across the WAN

It’s not surprising that over half of US enterprises have adopted site-to-site internet VPNs. And it’s a trend that’s set to continue. But it’s not the whole story.

While there is an almost universal interest in MPLS, actual rates of adoption remain modest. The study highlights the issues:

  • For some businesses this is due to having insufficient understanding of MPLS and the potential benefits
  • Others believe they can get the performance they need from the infrastructure they already have
  • And some cite the aggressive adoption of cloud apps as being the reason

These are all issues that will need to be addressed in MPLS is to reach its full potential.


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Sharp growth in the adoption of new applications—both IT provisioned and self-provisioned by lines of business (LOB)—within the enterprise is placing an unprecedented burden on corporate network capacity. Often, IT isn’t even aware of all the new apps in use; indeed, there are sometimes several hundred applications for which IT lacks an inventory. To support these many new applications, IT needs a robust and reliable wide-area network (WAN) connecting the firm’s larger operational sites with its headquarters or with a regional or global data center.