NOOR MPLS 3G mVPN for remote branches

Background & Applicability

Given the current environment where the incumbent national telco cannot guarantee, for all remote branches of a company, the availability of a pair of copper wires for the "last mile" connection and, taking in account the frequent "main telephonic distribution cable" cuts or thefts, one needs to consider wireless connections as an alternative to the DSL lines when the "last mile" is either not available to order from Telecom Egypt or suddenly interrupted by cuts or thefts. Another given, in this environment, is the cost and delivery time to obtain a wireless license for microwave, WiMAX or directional WiFi links. On the contrary, 3G does not require a license, is nearly ubiquitous in urban areas, and is available from 3 different mobile operators.

For any remote branch with "last mile" issues, NOOR's MPLS 3G mVPN solution allows the use of a commonly available 3G Internet connection to join the company's MPLS L3 VPN network.

This facility provides a cost effective way to build and complete the existing networking infrastructure, leveraging the existing investment of all the existing MPLS L3 VPN connections between the headquarters and the other remote branches.

MPLS 3G mVPN advantages

1. Cost – a cost effective solution that provide a wireless connectivity that is cheaper than other wireless technologies like WiMax and Microwave links
2. Availability - compared to other types of wireless links, a 3G connection is generally available immediately in most urban areas
3. Hassle-free paperwork - again, compared to other types of wireless links, a 3G connection does not required a license from NTRA, therefore saving money (cost of the license) and time (long delay to get the first license from NTRA)
4. Hassle-free setup - for the customer's IT department because NOOR manages the entire setup and all the provisioning and support actions are performed by NOOR. All what is needed from the IT department is to provide NOOR with its IP addressing scheme for the router’s LAN interface.
5. Flexibility – NOOR's MPLS 3G mVPN does not depend on a single mobile operator but it can operate through any of the mobile operators depending on the 3G signal’s strength at the customer's premises.
6. Mobility – mVPN routers can be transferred from one site to another with minimum configuration change which can be done remotely by NOOR’s service delivery team to reflect the change of IP addressing scheme for the router's LAN interface.
7. Security & confidentiality - NOOR's MPLS 3G mVPN product is relying on the established IPsec technology suite to provide a secure connection to NOOR's mVPN concentrator, the entry point to NOOR's MPLS cloud. Once "patched" through NOOR's Service Description

NOOR’s MPLS 3G mVPN service for remote branches or satellite offices relies on IPsec tunnels to provides privacy (1), integrity (2) and authentication (3) for transmitting sensitive information over the 3G Internet connection of any Mobile Operator, until reaching NOOR's mVPN concentrator where the different IPsec tunnels are mapped to their respective customers' VPN routing & forwarding (VRF) instance, thereby "patching through" the remote mVPN client network to the customer's MPLS VPN concentrator as if it was directly connected to NOOR's PE router via a normal DSL land line.

This approach provides the same usual benefits of the MPLS VPN connections over SDSL land lines: a point-to-multipoint "full mesh" topology, the VPN privacy, the ability to control the routing protocols and how users at the remote branch utilize the VPN, … to name a few benefits, with the added specific advantage to be able (3G coverage permitting) to get the service delivered in locations where there is no "last mile" copper wires available or where the “main telephonic distribution cable” have been cut or stolen, between the customer's branch and the closest Central Office of Telecom Egypt.

This “MPLS 3G mVPN connection for remote branches” service can be combined to a regular MPLS VPN connection over a SDSL land line to provide a backup path (over any 3G Internet connection) for the normal "land line" path.

Service availability & service performance

Because part of the solution relies on the 3G Internet connection from a Mobile Operator, the solution "as a whole" is as available and reliable as the 3G connection permits it to be.

In other words, the availability and the performance of NOOR's mVPN service depend on the availability and the performance of the Mobile Operator's 3G network in the vicinity of the customer's branch.

Practically, this means that the connection's availability is contingent on the 3G network coverage and the signal strength at the remote branch (the mVPN client), the communication latency (4) is affected by the variable network latency profile of the 3G network and the available bandwidth (5) -either in upload or in download- too, is affected by the variable network conditions within the Mobile Operator's cloud.

A site survey is highly recommended before subscribing to NOOR's “MPLS 3G mVPN connection for remote branches” service. However, the outcome of the site survey does not guarantee the service availability and performance in the future, because the 3G network conditions can vary over time and NOOR declines all responsibility concerning the availability and the performance of the 3G connection because NOOR does not have control over it.

1- Cryptography ensures data confidentiality
2- hash codes ensure data integrity
3- authenticity between participating peers ensures data origin
4- the "network latency" is the measure of the time taken for a sent packet of data to be received at the other end
a) the "network bandwidth" represents the volume of information per unit of time that a transmission medium can handle

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