The free-standing IT department will manage the virtual private network (VPN) and shape traffic using multi protocol label switching (MPLS) technology which allows traffic to be prioritised according to type.
Volvo IT - which supplies Volvo divisions at 120 sites as well as external customers - upgraded its network to accommodate the needs of a new datacentre at Warwick, to future-proof it for a planned voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) roll-out next year and to initiate a new disaster recovery infrastructure.
The company moved from mostly 64kbps dedicated kilostream circuits to provision of an IP "cloud" which Volvo IT will manage itself.
Richard Trundle, IT operations and technology manager at Volvo IT, said, "Because of the externalisation of the business and exploding business needs we needed extra bandwidth and to be able to shape traffic. We needed to initiate a flexible disaster recovery infrastructure and the any-to-any nature of this network allowed us to do that.
"MPLS is an emerging product, while frame relay is coming to the end of its life. We looked at where we wanted to be in three years time and decided MPLS would give us the ability to shape traffic for such things as VoIP," Trundle added.
How does MPLS work?
- MPLS is a way of discriminating between packets so that traffic flows can be prioritised. It uses labels, or tags, containing forwarding information attached to IP packets by a label edge router at the edge of the network.
- Label edge routers perform packet analysis and classification before the packet enters the network backbone.
- Backbone routers (label switch routers) examine the label and forward the packet without making forwarding decisions.