The decision-making process regarding if/when to make the full transition from SDH/SONET to MPLS reminds me of the dilemma I face as I weigh upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7. It’s a classic battle between old and new.
You see, Windows XP is good and reliable, and I’ve been using it for a while. Its features and capabilities are suitable to my current needs. But… it is lacking some of the new features found in Windows 7 and it’s possible that compatibility issues with new programs and applications could occur. So should I keep this old standby or make the transition to the newer Windows technology?
Well, I think there are two main considerations in play here, familiarity and innovation. Let’s take a closer look at each.
• Familiarity – My old operating system, much like SDH/SONET, is extremely reliable. I’m very familiar with its features, and I know its operational aspects by heart. Meanwhile, Windows 7 technology would be entirely new to me and there would be a learning curve (as there would with MPLS).
• Innovation – Although I don’t currently have a touch-screen monitor, I would like to take advantage of the new touch functionality someday. And even though I’m not currently utilizing Windows Media Player to stream media files from one computer to another or across the Internet, I would like to do so at some point. Problem is, Windows XP doesn’t support either of these things. This same scenario can be applied to moving to MPLS. In many cases, the current SDH/SONET network doesn’t have enough capacity to support Ethernet traffic, but at the same time operators would like to be prepared for it.
Moving to a new operating system requires money and time, and I’m not sure that upgrading to something new when everything is working fine makes sense. The same is true when considering a move to MPLS. In some cases, Ethernet services can be supported over SDH/SONET by upgrading to a hybrid version or adding an external device. This can move out the decision to a time that’s more suitable financially or when the need for more bandwidth becomes a pressing issue.
Oh well, I suppose that I’ll eventually have to upgrade…but I’ll do it when the cost-benefit analysis tells me the time is right.