Trends Report

WAN Wars: Ethernet Versus MPLS

Which Technology Should European Enterprises Choose?

October 9th, 2007
Phil Sayer
With contributors:
Andrew Parker , Andrea Carini , Lisa Pierce , Antonin Shanahan


European enterprises are rapidly deploying both multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and carrier Ethernet for their wide-area networks (WANs) — 40% of European enterprises have deployed MPLS networks, and 25% have deployed Ethernet services. For high-speed core enterprise networks, Ethernet is now the technology of choice, whereas for connections to branches, MPLS is today's favorite. However, leading enterprises in finance and business services are starting to choose Ethernet for their branch networks wherever this technology is available. Speed, price, and flexibility are the top decision-making criteria. This trend away from MPLS and toward Ethernet services for branch networks will continue as network traffic requirements continue to rise and the geographic availability of Ethernet services improves. Enterprises planning their future WAN procurement strategy should evaluate the use of both technologies against their IT policies and future network requirements.

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