MPLS Makes HD Video Conferencing Possible, Even for Small Businesses

February 18, 2013

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Video conferencing is a reality for business in 2013, especially as they do more with less to stay competitive.

“Video conferencing, with its ability to minimize travel expense and time, and make impromptu multi-national or international meetings a reality, can cut a lot of cost out of the business, seriously boost productivity and increase collaboration within the business, with clients and with partners,� noted Danie Fourie, director at XDSL, in a recent article at Gadget.

Small and medium-sized businesses have not always been able to take advantage of the trend, however, due to cost.

Whereas traditional H.323 video might require bandwidth of 960Kbps over asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology, according to a white paper by Polycom, high definition video conferencing can take up to 5.1Mpbs.This poses challenges for smaller businesses that cannot always afford the network speeds to supply modern video conferencing with the bandwidth it needs.

And without the bandwidth, video quality of service suffers. In fact, bandwidth is an integral part of video quality of service.

“Sufficient bandwidth must be in place on each link to carry the expected real-time traffic,� the paper noted.

Luckily, multi protocol label switching (MPLS) can power a variety of collaboration tools and much more cheaply. MPLS directs data from one network node to another based on short path labels instead of long network addresses, avoiding complex lookups in routing tables. MPLS virtual private network can also carry and route several types of network traffic securely across public networks and offers guaranteed throughput and reliability.

“An MPLS VPN provides the flexibility to carry and route several types of network traffic using the technologies of a MPLS backbone,� noted Fourie. “Importantly, an MPLS network makes use of Quality of Service (QoS), which means you can prioritize video conferencing over other traffic – so there is reduced latency and packet loss.�

Further, an MPLS VPN can also be used for voice, data or video; it doesn’t have to be exclusively reserved for video conferencing.

“With a cost-effective, reliable, high speed and high quality voice, video and data transmission, businesses can now truly leverage the power of video conferencing to improve operational costs, lower their eco-footprint, and improve business interactions,� added Fourie.