Branch Migration to Managed MPLS Services

Vanguard Networks smoothens path from Frame Relay to managed MPLS Services


The multi-site remote sales or branch office enterprise organization has long been a satisfied user of Vanguard Networks' private line and Frame Relay access technology. From convenience stores to coffee shops, gas stations to grocery stores, restaurants to retail clothing outlets, bank branches to pharmacies, this wide swathe of enterprises has benefited from the progressive adoption of these technologies with Vanguard Networks' access products. 

These technologies worked well and offered concrete benefits with their capabilities. Service adoption costs also progressively fell. So why change to MPLS?

MPLS Managed Services for the Enterprise Point-of-Sale and Branch Office

The advent of MPLS particularly as a managed service from established telecommunications service providers, presented hitherto unavailable benefits to enterprise IT decision-makers. An enterprise organization with thousands of coffee shops or convenience stores dispersed across the United States can benefit immensely from the economies of scale offered by managed MPLS services.

Key benefits of MPLS managed services to the enterprise infrastructure included:

  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) due to support for multiple applications with varying quality (QoS) requirements using a single enabling technology.
  • Unprecedented network scalability allowing the use of new and more powerful applications.
  • Enhanced security in the form of traffic isolation between unrelated MPLS Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), or between VPN traffic and Internet traffic, besides the existing IP-based security functions like firewalls and gateways.
  • Automated provisioning and “plug-in” capability at remote sales or branch sites for rapid service activation.
  • Benefit of carrier class reliability for enterprise services due to network-based failover and restoration features in the managed MPLS core network.

In addition to the above benefits, the enterprise also gains all the benefits that came with a “managed” service, at a far lower cost than leased line, Frame Relay, or even ATM services from the same service provider.

As a result, MPLS has quickly become the leading technology of choice for enterprise VPNs in North America. The graph shown in Figure 1 highlights the results of a recent survey done by Forrester Research on the current adoption and interest in adoption of MPLS managed services in North America. The survey results clearly show that the move to MPLS-based managed services has maintained its strong momentum and will continue to do so among enterprise organizations.

Another key driver leading to increased adoption rates for MPLS-based managed services was the strategic decision taken by a number of Tier 1 service providers to make MPLS the technology of choice for their backbone networks that provided access services to the enterprise Point-of-Sale and branch locations. This led to a genuine focus on delivering globally available MPLS-based services, resulting in robust criteria for deployment, security, high availability, and provisioning. AT&T, for example, has developed its MPLS services around “seven pillars of security” as shown in Figure 2.

Smoothing the Path from Frame Relay to lower cost Managed MPLS Service – Vanguard Networks

Vanguard Networks has delivered the benefits of MPLS-based managed VPN services to enterprise organizations right from the early days of carrier MPLS deployments.

In anticipation of the widespread adoption of managed MPLS-based VPN services, Vanguard Networks has brought to market products that offered a relatively easy migration path from leased line or Frame Relay access technologies to managed MPLS services. All access products from Vanguard Networks have been specifically built to preserve the frame relay attributes critical to maintaining or improving the services for enterprise point-of-sale or branch locations. In addition, additional attributes of Vanguard Networks' access products specifically allow for the cost-effective ease of migration to managed MPLS services.

Establishing a Migration Path to Managed MPLS Services with Vanguard Networks

Traditional access services at branch office locations typically used the PSTN for voice traffic and either private line, Frame Relay, or ATM for data services. Vanguard Networks offers enterprise organizations the ability to integrate all voice and data traffic over a single IP or IPSec connection from the branch location which is then fed to the service provider MPLS edge router. At this point the service provider core MPLS network ensures that SLA contracts are enforced for the different traffic types (voice, data, internet) originating from the branch location. This capability can be activated as part of the managed services offering from the service provider while still using the leased line or Frame Relay services from the same service provider. Figure 3 illustrates the migration scenario described.

In some cases, branch office locations might have different traffic types serviced by different service providers, possibly by a service provider managed network for one type of traffic and by another service provider for another type of traffic that uses the internet (IPSec VPNs are a typical example). Enterprises desiring to reduce costs and consolidate IT infrastructure can do so by transitioning to an MPLS managed service provider that provides managed MPLS transport for all traffic types over a single MPLS core network. Vanguard Networks provides the access technology to smoothly make the transition in this scenario also.


  • Keeping cost of ownership and technology complexity low at point-of-sale and branch endpoints, ensuring fast service activation.
  • Deploy products to enable simultaneous delivery of private line, Frame Relay, and MPLS services during the transition phase to avoid service interruption.
  • Build MPLS-compatible traffic quality classification, performance, and quality standards into the Vanguard Networks' access products so that service provider MPLS service SLAs (Service Level Agreements) can be met comfortably.
  • Incorporate non-IP applications into all-IP MPLS services, without changes to legacy applications or devices


Vanguard Networks provides the migration technology, network planning, and support to help enterprise organizations with multi-site Point-of-Sale and Branch office locations using private line and frame relay access services to, smoothly and cost-effectively transition to the latest IP and MPLS-based managed access services. Strategic alliances with top Tier 1 service providers ensures that a complete end-to-end managed MPLS managed service is made available with an industry-leading array of services that provide high quality performance for the latest branch and retail Point-of-Sale applications.