This is a revisiting of the Company X presentation regarding telecommunications.

Recommendation

Company X should utilize prevailing broadband technology in each store location to provide the lowest cost high-speed access to the Internet. In order to facilitate communication between each store and the company headquarters, a virtual private network (VPN) should be created utilizing these broadband connections. The hub-and-spoke topology is most commonly used in this situation. In the hub-and-spoke topology all remote locations are connected back to a central site (Pepelnjak & Guichard, 2002). In this case, the remote locations are the stores and the central site is the company headquarters.

Affects of New Software

Although the new software doesn't influence the VPN architecture, it does have an impact on the underlying telecommunications medium. The main concern is that the communication between stores will have speed or latency requirements. If these requirements are sufficiently stringent, the chosen telecommunications medium may need to be upgraded to accommodate the new requirements. Fortunately, the VPN architecture is not affected by a change in underlying technology. Therefore, if a store is forced to upgrade to a completely different telecommunication technology, the VPN would not need to be reconfigured to implement the change.

Pros & Cons

The alternative to the VPN architecture is a series of private line connections between the stores and company headquarters. The VPN architecture has the benefit of lower monthly costs. Additionally, since non-VPN traffic will go directly to the Internet, the company headquarters does not need to maintain a large Internet connection to support the web browsing of all locations. Unfortunately, the configuration of the hub-and-spoke VPN topology is much more complicated than the private line topology. The private line topology merely requires routers at each location. The VPN topology requires VPN endpoints and several additional configuration steps including peer setup and cryptography. Additionally, the underlying broadband technology support the VPN architecture is often less reliable than private line technologies. Service providers are often more responsive to private line outages than broadband outages.

References

Pepelnjak, I. & Guichard, J. (2002). MPLS and VPN architectures. Indianapolis, IN: Cisco Press.