No I’m not talking about a real person, LES stands for LAN Extension Services, they were a tried and trusted way of linking a couple of local area networks (LAN) together. To the IT manager these two LANs now appeared to be one, larger, LAN.
BT retired the LES product a few years ago, but there are still plenty of these connections around. We work with colleges and local government organisations and we still see lots of these circuits in use every day.
There are now much better alternatives to LES, and at a lower cost too. Simple point to point Layer 2 Ethernet access, now available throughout the UK, is a low cost way to connect LANs together. The price of MPLS networks have reduced too making them well within reach of many organisations.
BT is replacing its LES circuits with Wholesale Ethernet Extensions; a similar technology. These connections are available from other service providers, with the same levels of reliability, but more often than not at a lower cost . This is the easiest option.
Virtual Private LAN Services are a great alternative, especially if you know that you’ll need to add sites in the future. These links can be delivered over Layer 2 or Layer 3 networks. With VPLS you’ve got the added benefit of multipoint to multipoint communication. You’ll be able to create a meshed network, enabling your other sites to communicate with each other directly rather than transiting through the hub site.
Extending a point to point network to a WAN is one to consider if you’ve got more than three LES circuits. You’ll get a slightly different view of your network, a WAN rather than LAN, and with QoS you could begin to centralise your IT resources. This, in essence, is creating your own private cloud which Darlington Building Society recently did, and you can read more about that here.
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