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International Ethernet VPLS
VPLS as a Virtual Private LAN Service that connects all locations using Ethernet

By: John Shepler

For businesses and organizations that have offices worldwide, the ideal networking solution would be to have your own private LAN that included all of your locations for voice, video and data. But that’s a pipe dream, right? Once you leave your property, you have to use telecom services to connect from location to location. Or do you? With International VPLS, the world is your LAN as well as your oyster.

It's a Virtual Private LAN Service
The name gives it away. VPLS stands for Virtual Private LAN Service. It’s the best thing to actually stringing your own fiber optic lines between sites. Of course, that’s impractical. But you can get essentially the same performance at a very reasonable cost with International Ethernet VPLS.

Here’s how it works. Each location connects to an International MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) cloud network using an Ethernet access connection. This can be a fiber optic line for high bandwidth or an EoC (Ethernet over Copper) line for bandwidths below about 50 Mbps. Regardless of the physical layer technology, you’ll be connecting Ethernet from your LAN to an Ethernet line that runs to your service provider.

All Connections Are Ethernet
The magic of VPLS is that all connections are made as Ethernet connections. An MPLS network can handle any protocol, so pseudowires are used to provide Ethernet connectivity between locations. Regardless of how many local area networks you have, or how many locations you are connecting, or where in the world those locations are, you will have the equivalent of one large layer2 switched Ethernet LAN. An office PC in Zurich is just as close on the network as the printer in Tokyo or the server in New York.

How about security?
That’s where the “virtual private” designation for VPLS comes in. Your Ethernet access lines are all fully dedicated to your use. The MPLS network is a shared resource, but it uses proprietary tag switching technology unique to that type of private network. There is no connection with the Internet at all. Also, the pseudowire connections that are set up by the service provider transport only your traffic and only between the locations you specify. Of course, if you want even higher level of security you can choose to encrypt your data for an extra layer of protection.

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