Data and voice networks have been around for over 40 years but never have there been so many "flavors" available. Many different approaches and technologies have been used. In recent years, not only are data and voice networks converging but converged networks are moving towards MPLS networks. MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching. It allows the integration of voice, video, and data with various priorities over the same network by offering Class of Service (CoS) to treat components with the proper priority. MPLS VPN networks are replacing ATM, Frame Relay and other legacy networks.
Carriers have put together various forms of MPLS VPN networks. These various networks have different numbers of classes for providing CoS and they have different cost structures depending on the number of classes that are used. Also, different carriers have different approaches to how public Internet traffic is made available to locations on their MPLS network. Each carrier has geographical sweet spots.
Luckily, we have the world's foremost software for maneuvering through these differences to assist organizations to find the best options for their requirements.