Friday, 28 July 2017

Peplink helps Pluss replace costly and complex MPLS, leased line and DSL deployment

Peplink
Tuesday 23 September 14

Peplink, a leader in developing internet load balancing and VPN bonding solutions, has announced details of a successful multiyear engagement with Pluss that has helped the UK social enterprise reduce ongoing WAN OpEx, improve flexibility while simplifying ongoing support. Pluss is a Social Enterprise that supports over 5,000 people with disabilities and other disadvantages into employment each year. The organisation achieves this aim through a range of specialist, local employment services and through direct employment within its own commercial enterprises…

Peplink, a leader in developing internet load balancing and VPN bonding solutions, has announced details of a successful multiyear engagement with Pluss that has helped the UK social enterprise reduce ongoing WAN OpEx, improve flexibility while simplifying ongoing support.
Pluss is a Social Enterprise that supports over 5,000 people with disabilities and other disadvantages into employment each year. The organisation achieves this aim through a range of specialist, local employment services and through direct employment within its own commercial enterprises.

Prior to switching to Peplink, Pluss was using a combination of MPLS, 10mb and 2mb leased lines along with DSL to connect 24 sites to its datacentres, core applications and for wider secure internet access. The WAN also provided an environment for its VoIP traffic and Citrix based applications. To meet the reliability and performance requirements, Pluss had deployed a convoluted mix of routers, switches, load balancers and complex software configurations.

“The trouble was that this was getting really complicated fast, with complex routing configurations between the MPLS WAN and the Draytek WAN to enable inter-site traffic in a partial mesh for VoIP calls and outbound Internet access,” explains Steve Taylor, IT Manager at Pluss. The solution also routed through an MPLS over Virgin fiber line through a Web/proxy filter for compliance purposes. Pluss also had servers configured using both either BT or Virgin routers as the default gateway, as a form of cumbersome load balancing.

Initially, Pluss looked at using load balancers to help simplify the situation and improve poor reliability but as Taylor explains, “If we had a network or routing fault, it took forever to isolate the root cause, and we had two engineers working almost full-time on network monitoring and management.”

It was a Google query and discussion with the Peplink technical team that brought to light the potential for an innovative VPN bonding alternative. Key features that appealed to Pluss were outbound load balancing across up to 13 WANs allowing them to easily add bandwidth as and when needed. Taylor was also impressed by the SpeedFusion VPN technology offering true packet-level, bidirectional VPN bonding across multiple WAN links.

Over the next few months, Pluss began migrating its WAN over to Peplink and based on successful initial results began a longer term program to completely overhaul its network strategy to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Peplink. “Well we cancelled the last of our remote MPLS circuits in 2011, and now all of our 34 remote sites use Peplink Balance devices to bond anywhere from two to five DSLs,” says Taylor, “We’re in the process of migrating a number of DSLs to EFM circuits, where available, for the speed and physical line reliability improvements that EFM brings.”
From 2011 to the current date, Pluss has enjoyed a significant number of benefits based on the Peplink deployment. The largest is a significantly reduced OpEx when compared to its legacy MPLS network along with improved agility that has allowed it to add and remove different types and classes of additional bandwidth as and when needed, at any location.

Peplink has also helped reduce costly support requirements, “It’s a very simple solution and can be monitored and managed by first-line engineers, which frees up network engineers to do more useful, proactive activities, like application monitoring and capacity planning,” adds Taylor.

The IT Manager is also extremely pleased with the SpeedFusion technology that has proven, “...a very reliable and secure method for our VPN WAN delivery. With a reliable network, we can spend more time on customer-facing projects that can really make a difference to our bottom line and the productivity of the company as a whole.”


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