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Comparison and List: Top/Best 10 US MPLS providers

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Last updated: November 16, 2021

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Comparison and List: Top/Best 10 US MPLS providers

What are the top 10 MPLS providers?

The 10 best MPLS providers are BT Business, Masergy, Expereo, Globalgig, GTT, Colt, Lumen, Cogent, Verizon and Telstra. IT teams should compare network reach, SLA (Service Level Agreements) which include latency and jitter, QoS (Quality of Service), managed services, diversity options, cloud access and hybrid networking.

We’ve written this article for companies looking to understand which UK, US or Global MPLS providers are a fit vs their requirements.

While the use case for MPLS is reducing across Enterprise business, private technology remains a component of hybrid network architecture. The MPLS providers listed currently represent the best/top solutions to deliver wires-only or fully managed WAN capability national and international requirements.


Table of contents:



What is the BT Business MPLS solution?

BT Business and BT Global Services offer significant network reach both within the UK and in excess of 198 global countries. With Managed MPLS connectivity solutions & services from their 24*7 Belfast NOC (Network Operation Center), their core product revolves around Ethernet Point to Point Multipoint for Short Haul and Global VLL (Virtual Leased Line), MPLS, VPLS, SD WAN & Cloud Voice (hosted IPT SIP).

“The BT MPLS product is available under numerous products, IT teams need to be careful to ensure sales team share full capability.”

Netify is an Authorized Premier Partner for BT, speak to us about the various product options which include SD WAN.

BT is leading their SD WAN proposition with fully managed Cisco Meraki and Viptela, both of which are available with MPLS or Internet connectivity. The latest Broadband offering is an ideal failover proposition due to their 4G Assure product feature which automatically invokes failover if the primary Broadband service fails.

BT offer several professional service solution options surrounding security with services options via leading platforms including Check Point and Fortigate. Security is available if clients wish to self-manage or acquire fully managed services.

Products: IP Connect UK, IP Connect Global, Internet Connect Global, Internet Connect Reach, BT Managed WAN.

What are the strengths of BT Business MPLS?
  • Brand awareness, UK brand with Global Services in over 198 countries.
  • Ability to deliver hybrid WAN services in addition to MPLS VPN.
  • Strong channel offering.
What are the weaknesses of BT Business MPLS?
  • Slow presales process, pricing can often take weeks for global services.
  • Simple change requests take too long.


What is Colt's MPLS solution?

COLT (City of London Telecom) provides data services to Mid-sized businesses across Europe, Asia and North America. Their core service offering revolves around managed WAN, high-speed Ethernet point to point & multipoint bandwidth services and Ethernet Internet leased lines

“Colt offer access to on-net connectivity across 24K business premises.”

Colt are often a good cost effective option for metro area locations across the globe.

In addition, COLT also offers significant capability surrounding VoIP services (also for Carrier sales), Contact Center and Unified Comms (UCAAS). Availability is across 28 countries with metro area networks within 49 major cities and direct fiber connections in 24,000 buildings worldwide. An interesting side point is their support which covers 16 languages globally.

Products: Colt Managed MPLS, Colt Ethernet, Colt SIP Trunking, Colt Internet, Colt SD WAN, Colt Cyber Security, Colt Cloud & Data Center.

What are the strengths of COLT MPLS?
  • Cost effective connectivity, especially for Internet failover.
  • City locations are often on-net for Colt.
  • Strong carrier relationships.
What are the weaknesses of COLT MPLS?
  • Regional locations outside of metro areas are not a good fit.


What is GTT's SD WAN solution?

Headquartered out of McLean, Virginia and listed as a Fortune 50 company with over 3000 employees and 60 offices worldwide. A Tier 1 network offering MPLS IP VPN circuits supported by 550+ PoPs worldwide in 100+countries.

“100+ PoP locations available across the globe with the capability to aggregate traffic from off-net locations.”

Global telco grown from numerous aquistions.

VPN service offerings are across the complete range of telecoms including Internet SD WAN, MPLS connectivity, Ethernet Point to Point & Multipoint, Managed WAN, Cloud Services and Voice. The latest service provider data points from Netify suggest 2,500 local access providers for diverse, secure Global access.

GTT are not only offering good coverage via their own backbone but operate as an aggregator for locations outside of their footprint.

Products: GTT MPLS, SD WAN, Data Center, Security, Cloud and Voice.

What are the strengths of GTT's MPLS?
  • Global coverage across MPLS and Internet services.
  • Good UK and European coverage together with global PoP locations across multiple continents.
  • 700+ last mile provider relationships.
  • Tier 1 IP backbone.
What are the weaknesses of GTT's MPLS?
  • Grown by acquisition of MDNX, Easynet, Interoute which often results in problems vs organic growth.
  • Typical large service provider issues, slow to react, high sales turnover.


What is Lumen's SD WAN solution?

Lumen (previously Century Link, Level 3) is a Global telco established in 1930 and one of the top 3 US communications providers, 2nd largest colocation company across the US, Fortune 159 with $17.9 billion in revenue.

“Lumen have grown from Century Link and Level 3 Communications.”

Major US telco with offices around the world, process might be an issue.

Core products are across public Internet, MPLS, SD WAN, IP Voice, Optical, Contact Center and SIP with support for hosting, Cloud and business continuity. Century Link also offers IT consulting and professional services.

Lumen have strong leadership in the majority of global regions. The result is a local feel even though the company is North American in origin, Lumen have done a good job of creating regional identities.

Products: MPLS, Internet, SD WAN, Private circuits, Cloud and Voice.

What are the strengths of Lumen's MPLS?

  • Good regional global presence across 500 markets.
  • Excellent tier 1 backbone across MPLS and Internet.
  • Strong integration with SD WAN.

What are the weaknesses of Lumen's MPLS?

  • Process can often feel difficult and slow.
  • Multiple systems and processes across products.


What is Globalgig's SD WAN solution?

Perhaps a lesser-known service provider when compared to the large telcos, Globalgig are based in Austin, Texas with a number of US offices together with a presence in London & Sydney..

“Globalgig are known for their support of 5G services across both MPLS and SD WAN services.”

Globalgig focus areas are typically around 4G and 5G services.

Services sold include managed wireless routers with mobile SIMs across 4G and 5G (shortly), ideal for high availability. Globalgig are recognized for their ability to aggregate traffic across satellite, fixed, wireless, broadband and dedicated MPLS circuits. Managed SD WAN is also offered via Cradlepoint, Peplink and Cisco Viptela. Hosted Voice and SIP services are offered Globally. The ideal customer profile suggests 20+ locations in the retail, healthcare/clinics, finance/banking.

Products: 4G/5G, Internet, MPLS.

What are the strengths of Globalgig's SD WAN?
  • Global aggregator of Internet services.
  • Strong 4G/5G offering.
What are the weaknesses of Globalgig's SD WAN?
  • Their marketing often confuses prospects with content suggesting Globalgig leads with cellular.


What is Masergy's MPLS solution?

Global telco recognized for their exceptional backbone network across 85+ countries. Masergy is known for strong customer loyalty with a Net Promoter Score of 74 confirming their service offerings & retention rate. In recent years, their overall service has moved them from connectivity only providers to cloud providers which compliments their networking capability across SD WAN & Managed Services with Unified Cloud Communications via fully hosted MPLS Cloud UC, Intelligent SIP trunking and Cloud Contact Center.

“Masergy have one of the highest performing global networks with an NPS score of 71.”

Masergy is also very strong across SD WAN and MPLS.

The Masergy SLA (Service Level Agreement) supports less than 1ms jitter and 100% in-sequence data packet delivery with packet loss guarantees. Tools include Global on-demand network management for bandwidth and embedded real-time data analytics. QoS (Quality of Service) enabled Masergy circuits are ideal for Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Bluemix cloud services.

Products: MPLS, SD WAN, Global SIP, Security.

What are the strengths of Masergy's MPLS?
  • Excellent backbone, ideal for customers with metro area connectivity requirements.
  • Good agile managed services.
  • Over the top Internet SLA services.
What are the weaknesses of Masergy's MPLS?
  • Often viewed as expensive, this perception is changing over time.
  • Coverage outside of North America may not be good across regional areas in-country.


What is Verizon's SD WAN solution?

Verizon is a global provider with 57 world-class data centers supporting MPLS solution technology. A leader in the Gartner magic quadrant for public Cloud IaaS, Managed Hosting and Managed Security. Verizon (formally WorldCom, UUNET) is typically known for their support or large Enterprise clients. Services sold include Cloud Compute (IaaS), Cloud Backup & DR-as-a-service, storage.

“Verizon are a large telco with reach on a global basis.”

Large service provider, typically known for working across large Global Enterprise.

Managed Hosting & Apps (SharePoint, SQL, Oracle), Hosted & Dedicated Exchange, Colocation and professional services across Security & network connectivity. The Verizon network is built on enterprise-class equipment from vendors including Cisco, HP, NetApp and EMC network elements.

Products: MPLS, Internet, MPLS, Cloud, Security, Data Center, Private circuits.

What are the strengths of Verizon's MPLS?
  • Strong global player with good metro area coverage.
  • Typical choice for large Global Enterprise businesses.
What are the weaknesses of Verizon's MPLS?
  • Mid-market SME businesses may find Verizon difficult to navigate in respect of sales process.
  • Customers often state service management is necessary for large deployments.


What is Cogent's SD WAN solution?

Cogent is a multinational Tier 1 Internet provider  ranked within the top 5 IP networks in the world. Their key products include DIA (Dedicated Internet Access), Ethernet Point-to-Point connectivity, VPLS (layer 2 MPLS IP VPN alternative) and colocation services.

“Cogent offer fast install times when sites are on-net with their fiber.”

Along with fast installation across on-net locations, Cogent also offer strong colocation services and availability.

The Cogent proposition remains one of the most cost-effective methods of delivering layer 3 DIA, VPLS (P2P and VPLS) with colocation. Their on-net metro services are SLAs within a 17 business day delivery guarantee. A further interesting key feature and differentiator is their on-net pricing which is recognized as the lowest across the market.

Products: MPLS, Internet, SD WAN, Data Center.

What are the strengths of Cogent's MPLS?
  • 17 Business day SLA for on-net services.
  • 20% of Cogent's business is International.
  • Known for data center coverage.
What are the weaknesses of Cogent's MPLS?
  • Often an unknown quantity to IT teams, brand awareness is not high.
  • Not so strong outside of Europe.


What is Expereo's MPLS solution?

A recently founded service provider (2004), Expereo operate out of 8 offices globally with access to 200+ countries with their predominant service offered via Cisco edge for MPLS connectivity, Meraki, Viptela, Silver Peak and VeloCloud for SD WAN.

“Aggregator which suits Global needs for customers typically looking at cost savings.”

MPLS aggregation and SD WAN Internet are both available on a global basis.

The Expereo service is often offered as a high availability failover option for primary MPLS VPN due to their aggregation ability served by 3000+ Internet providers.

What are the strengths of Expereo's MPLS solution?
  • Vast amount of carrier relationships, ideal for client research.
  • Internet failover to MPLS is leveraged by many of their customers.
  • Global NOC presence located in Amsterdam, Argentina, Singapore, Dubai and the US.
What are the weaknesses of Expereo's MPLS solution?
  • Brand awareness is not vast compared to the typical carrier approach.
  • They do not offer the full portfolio of service options, e.g. dark fiber.


What is Telstra's MPLS solution?

Telstra is a great option for China MPLS via their status as the largest joint venture VPN provider in mainland China. In addition, their network is supported by 58 Data Centers across the Globe (25 of which are in Australia) and 40 satellites globally.

“Great coverage for customer requiring Asia coverage.”

Telstra offer significant coverage across the globe but are known for their Asia MPLS capability.

Telstra offers network connectivity spanning 250,000 miles with more the 2,000 PoPs in 200 countries and territories.

MPLS is further enhanced with various connectivity types to support applications including IPL (International Private Line), EPL (Ethernet Private Line), EVPN (Point to Point or Multipoint VLL) with Cloud (Colocation, Public Cloud Infrastructure) and SIP.

Products: MPLS, Internet, SD WAN, Private Circuit, Voice, Cloud, Data Center.

What are the strengths of the Telstra's MPLS solution?
  • Most local countries supported.
  • Global NOC coverage in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and UK.
  • Strong in AsiaPac.
What are the weaknesses of Telstra's MPLS solution?
  • Not normally the first choice for UK and US businesses.



Is MPLS relevant in a cloud-first world?

The adoption of public based SaaS applications which reside in virtual instances across AWS, Azure and Google Cloud are driving the need for more flexible WAN services.

If we consider the typical user profile, they are no longer exclusively branch office based. The change in user behavior is moving the WAN edge from the branch office to anywhere the network is accessed across global Internet connectivity. In order to meet the demands of a cloud-first architecture, the use of SD WAN vendors with public based Broadband, 4G, 5G and Ethernet leased lines is required to deliver fast, resilient connectivity. The traditional static MPLS router does not meet the needs of todays Enterprise on an end to end basis.

Gartner, recognizing the WAN edge shift, created the SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) framework to outline the security components required over and above SD WAN features to deliver the required solution. Aside from cloud applications, business is also benefiting from the faster delivery of Internet services, the ability to leverage path selection and the migration to CNaC (Cloud Native Carrier) solutions where DIY, Co-Managed and Fully Managed are available across the same product.

With all of the above said, where the network demands connectivity between two or more locations with built in privacy, an SLA and end to end QoS (Quality of Service), Layer 3 MPLS or Layer 2 VPLS remains the obvious choice.

If the Enterprise does not require the SD WAN and SASE feature set, selecting traditional MPLS circuits to deliver connectivity makes total sense. It is also the case that certain SD WAN vendors support MPLS circuits alongside Internet with some deploying core networks built on MPLS between global PE router gateways.

Which MPLS features should your IT team understand before comparing service providers?
  • Managed MPLS services - deciding on managed services is perhaps one of the most contentious areas when evaluating service providers. With MPLS, this means understanding how the provider is able to make adds, moves and changes together with their NOC capability and expertize. In many ways, these elements are often not tangible meaning the in contract experience is not typically known because there is limited areas to evaluate. One of the ways to take control is to overlay SD WAN capability which transforms the capability and experience.
  • Backbone network reach - the majority of major service providers offer global capability by leverage last mile in country connections to their local PoP. The required clarity surrounds MPLS PE (Provider Edge) reach which will help your team evaluate true global MPLS capability.
  • Delivery and project management - assessing whether your prospective MPLS provider offers robust process across delivery is critical to ensure your project is delivered on-time and with the correct configuration.
  • SLA (Service Level Agreement) - Latency, jitter and uptime are all aspects of the typical MPLS SLA. Remember, most SLA agreements are commercial rather than technical and work on an average across the working month.
  • Connectivity options - hybrid WAN services are required to deliver end to end solutions for most businesses.

MPLS providers feature comparison table 1-5.

Provider BT Business COLT GTT Lumen Globalgig
Provider type Tier 1 carrier Tier 1 carrier Tier 1 carrier Tier 1 carrier Aggregator & MSP
Data services Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS Colocation, Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS, Fixed wireless, 4G/5G Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS, 4G/5G Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS, Fixed wireless, 4G/5G
Global coverage 198+ countries, strong for UK HQ opportunities 51 metropolitan area networks, 212 cities and over 29,000+ buildings NOCs on multiple continents, 600+ PoP locations sold into 140+ countries 15% of business is international, $48billion revenue, 40+ NOCs, Billing on an ICB basis 40% of business is international, 20+ countries, Global NOC in Morocco
Differentiators Strong 5G proposition, Fully managed services, well scaled UK network Colt operates primarily in metro city locations across Europe, 20,000 buildings in almost 200 cities Strong global coverage across connectivity and voice, high bandwidth circuits Full scale end to end solutions including cloud and security Global wireless, Multi-SD WAN platform
SD WAN Services Support Fully managed Meraki and Viptela Own NFV based solution Silver Peak, VeloCloud Meraki, Viptela, Versa Meraki, Viptela, Fortinet, Peplink, Silver Peak, VeloCloud
Acquisitions  EE is the most recent addition ThinkGrid, KVH Access Point, Interoute, Easynet, MDNX Level3, ElasticBox, Active Broadband Networks Voiamo, Velis4, Unified Scale
Year established 1969 1992 1998 1930 2016

MPLS providers feature comparison table 6 to 10.

Provider Masergy Verizon Cogent Expereo Telstra
Provider type Tier 1 carrier Tier 1 carrier Tier 1 carrier Tier 3 carrier Tier 1 carrier
Data services 5G, Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS 5G, Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, SD WAN, VPLS, Satellite DIA, Point to Point, Colocation, SD WAN, VPLS 5G, Broadband, DIA, 5G, Satellite, VPLS Broadband, DIA, MPLS, Point to Point, Private Line, Satellite, VPLS
Global coverage 30% of business is international, sold into 100+ countries, Billing in USD and GBP 9 NOCs around the globe, 1000+ global PoPs, Sold into 150+ countries 20% of business is International, sold into 40+ countries 60% of business is international, sold into 200+ countries, Global NOCs in Amsterdam, Argentina, Dubai, Singapore, 16 Global PoPs Sold into 100+ countries, 400+ Global PoPs, strong in Asia
Differentiators Fully managed services with excellent performing Global backbone and high NPS score Very strong security portfolio 17 business day install SLA across on-net locations Able to service 200+ countries, 3000+ last mile providers 30% of Telstra capacity is Asia based
SD WAN Service Support Fortinet, Silver Peak Cisco Viptela. Versa, Silver Peak Cisco Meraki Aryaka, Open Systems, Silver Peak,VeloCloud Cisco Meraki, Cisco Viptela, VeloCloud
Acquisitions Broadcore, Global Dataguard Yahoo, AOL, Cyber Trust, UUNet, GTE, Bell Atlantic PSINet, NetRail N/A Pacnet, Company 85, Kloud
Year established 2000 1983 1999 2004 1901


FAQ

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Author

Robert Sturt insider@netify.co.uk Last Updated: 16.11.2021