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:
List of the top MPLS Providers:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 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 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|
MPLS providers feature comparison table 6 to 10.
|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|
Is there a tool which compares MPLS providers?
Click here to use the Netify MPLS online assessment tool. Answer 10 questions to receive your own vendor shortlist.