The MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) traffic routing technique holds numerous potential benefits for your business by allowing an operator to control the specific paths the data will take along a network. However, you have to consider the process of installing this kind of system, and that’s why finding the right service provider for your business is so important. Not making the right choice of provider can even be the difference between the high-tech system of your dreams, and an expensive headache. This is especially true if you don’t have the knowledge in-house that allows you to rectify mistakes or bad choices that have been made through the supplier selection process.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you should consider when searching for the right MPLS provider. Naturally, you’ll want to do some additional research yourself if this is a route you’re seriously considering – but these key factors will provide a basis for what you should be looking for in a good MPLS provider.
Creating A System That Works for Your Business
Finding the right software and hardware to build an MPLS infrastructure surprisingly isn’t too tricky – the issue is turning these parts into a system that provides exactly what your business needs. Therefore, while you might be able to find providers who can get you the basic necessities, they might not be able to transform it into anything all that useful for your business.
A sign of the right MPLS provider is showing a good level of interest in your business and how your users utilise the network – after all, this is about providing end users with the best performance available, and hopefully doing so within the existing infrastructure.
Making the Most of your Time
If you’re wanting to change your system infrastructure, you’re probably wanting to move quickly with the times; it’s hard to stay cutting edge when the new tech is obsolete by the time you’ve installed it!
However, installing ethernet circuits into your building can take an unfortunately long time, and providers will vary greatly in speed. While some might tell you they can get it done in a matter of days, others might be more conservative in their estimates and say weeks or months. Running into delays is also a common problem, particularly if they’ve already suggested a longer time to begin with.
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Frustratingly, this is pretty much unavoidable, especially if you’re in an area without much of a choice of providers. However, there are ways of dealing with these wait times; a lot of MPLS providers can sort you out a 4G WAN system as a temporary fix – a system that will utilise a series of cellular connections to get you quickly connected to the world.
If you can’t afford the down time of waiting on ethernet installation, it’s certainly worth asking potential providers whether this is an option – if it is, then find out how much it would cost, and whether they can manage the eventual switchover too.
Establishing A Good, Mutually Beneficial Working Relationship
Most MPLS providers want your business, and it likely won’t be hard to place an order with many – however, this doesn’t always signify that working with them will be a positive, mutually beneficial relationship. If you want to figure out early on whether they’ll be easy to work with, you should ask them a few specific questions and pay special attention to their answers.
For instance, you should be upfront with any potential providers and ask what working with them will be like based on their relationships with other customers. If a company is able to pull up case studies of previous experiences in which they’ve solved problems for customers or implemented innovative solutions, they’re likely a good option.
However, since installing your new system will be the start of your working relationship, you’ll want to ask them about this early on (how they add and remove sites, work on current sites, etc.) Additionally, you should keep note of how quickly it takes for them to get started when an order is placed – you’ll want to make sure they can keep pace with your needs.
If they regularly work with other third party contractors or suppliers, you’ll also want to make sure that these are also companies that you can trust; the MPLS provider might have high standards, but do these additional companies also have your best interests at heart?
You’ll also want to make sure that the manager you’re regularly dealing with has a good amount of knowledge and experience in the area of networking tech and MPLS in particular – after all, they’re supposed to be the guiding hand through this process!
Testimonials and Recommendations From Other Happy Customers
There are lots of brilliant MPLS providers out there, but it isn’t always easy to distinguish them from those who can just talk a big game. The only way of parsing them out is to get in touch with some customers for recommendations or testimonials about their experiences.
A sign of a good provider is a willingness to provide customer contact details so that you can talk directly about their experiences without the company to mediate – this kind of confidence can only come when they know that customers are happy. You’ll likely only be able to have a brief chat through email (and it’s likely that many companies might not reply), but getting a few solid testimonials from happy companies is a great sign.
You’ll have to be discerning here; while the odd glitch is inevitable, if customers are consistently telling you about poor communication, slow wait times and other issues, then you might want to question why this might be. There might be perfectly understandable reasons behind problems like this, but if this one red flag in a line of several others, you’re better off going back to the drawing board and searching for a provider with more satisfied customers.