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Deployment of real-time network services is growing rapidly, and VoIP is proving especially popular. Apart from some financial savings, this service can help in other areas such as phasing out legacy telecom equipment and integration with key applications. An increasingly important requirement is extending headquarters LAN-based services across the WAN to branch and home office workers, which helps in improving productivity uniformly across the organization.

Avoiding excessive packet loss and delay is a key element in successfully deploying VoIP and other real-time services. An unexpected aspect of rolling out this type of service is that it may mandate a review of the QoS remaining for other traditionally non–real-time services. If applications such as payroll and enterprise resource planning become starved of resources, the network design might have to be reviewed. The powerful features of MPLS may well provide the tools required to achieve a happy mix of LAN- and WAN-based real-time services and applications.

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