Mitsubishi Motors UK has signed a deal with network operator Vanco which will allow its 140 UK dealers to cut network costs by up to 50%. The network upgrade signals a move by the company from a per-call to a fixed-cost communications strategy.
The new network will use virtual private network technology - which provides an encrypted tunnel across the public internet - with Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) to prioritise Citrix and Microsoft Exchange traffic. It will enable Mitsubishi's voice and data networks to be merged.
Mitsubishi was able to gain the savings by taking advantage of Vanco's position as a virtual network operator.
Virtual network operators are not tied to their own network infrastructure. With the buying power to achieve discounts from suppliers, they can offer a mix of networks and technologies that others cannot.
Mitsubishi Motors UK IT manager Dave Berwick said high costs and the inflexibility of the existing network forced the change.
"The costs we were incurring were significant and we needed to prioritise traffic from the dealers to the core ordering system.," he said. "Also, faults on the network were being spotted by the end-user before the supplier notified us of them.
"We had a list of five potential suppliers. With Vanco we were able to take advantage of the option to link up with factories in Holland and Japan."
Mitsubishi's previous dealer network used ISDN, and average annual network costs for the UK were about £600,000. The Vanco deal will see the company supplied with a mixture of ADSL and ISDN with no call charges, bringing savings of between 35% and 50%.
The network technology mix will comprise ADSL, ISDN and dual ADSL/ISDN for those dealers that need near real-time access. Vanco is contracted to pick up 70% of network faults before Mitsubishi staff.
The new network is expected to go live before Christmas.
What is MPLS?
Multi Protocol Label Switching is a standard for routing data packets over an IP network using labels, or tags, that contain forwarding information to ensure prioritisation of traffic.
MPLS can ensure that all packets in a particular data flow take the same route over a backbone and deliver the quality of service required to support real-time voice and video as well as service level agreements that guarantee bandwidth.
MPLS tags are attached to IP packets by a router sitting at the edge of the network, which analyses and classifies each packet and sets the tags that decide its priority.
It does this only once before the packet enters the core of the network, where routers within the core, known as label switch routers, can examine it quickly and send it on without having to make any forwarding decisions.