Your Life GPS

Lately I’ve been hearing from many people that their spirit guides have left them. This is not true. They haven’t left. They’re just getting out of the way so you can learn how to move forward under your own power.

After 12/21/2012 your spirit guides began stepping back in order to allow you to fulfill your destiny – that of taking your power back. This process involves learning how to utilize your own innate wisdom instead of relying on your spirit guides, angels, and other people and beings to whom you have given your authority in the past.

It’s much like watching a small child learn how to walk. Initially the child is supported and guided by an adult. At some point the adult lets go of the child’s hands in order to allow them to learn how to walk on their own and travel in the direction of their choice.

So it is with your spirit guides. They’re letting you know that it’s time for you to walk your life path using your own knowledge and wisdom, and choosing your own direction.

Oh, they’re still around in case you really need them for guidance. But remember, they’re spirit guides, not directors. They now serve in a different capacity. Rather than being your commanders and issuing orders to you, they’re now serving as your advisors.

Much like the GPS system you use in your car, your spirit guides are now acting as your Life GPS, ready to give you directions to a destination should you ask. However you have the power to choose if you want to follow their suggested route, take another route, or even if you want to use your Life GPS or not.

Just as the highest and best purpose of a GPS is to advise you as to the best route to take to your desired destination, it’s still only advice. You have the power of choice as to whether you want to follow that advise. You are now empowered to choose how you want to get to your destination. You have the power to choose a new and different destination at any time. YOU are now in command of your life.

Although a GPS is handy, it’s not infallible. Often it can lead you to an incorrect address. Likewise, spirit guides can give you advice that isn’t correct or accurate.

With a GPS your location is sent to a satellite and then bounced back to the GPS in your car, where it’s displayed on maps stored within the GPS. There may be distortions in the   transmission  of the data. Additionally, the data within the GPS may be outdated or incorrect.

Similarly, your Life GPS  transmissions  may be corrupted. After all, your spirit guides are transmitting through other dimensions and realities. Most of them have never been human, so they can only advise you from their perspective, which may be lacking in current and correct data.

Only you know the correct directions for you to make as you travel on your life path. Use your spirit guides as your Life GPS and remember… it’s advice, not orders.

What You Really Need to Know About a MPLS Network

MPLS… or Multi-Protocol Label Switching…. seems to be the buzzword for connecting company data networks these days. But MPLS is really nothing new. It’s been around awhile actually. Maybe now it’s just gaining more popularity and thus noticeable public acceptance and notoriety. Rightfully so too. MPLS offers lots of advantages over traditional T1 point-to-point WAN architectures.

But….. to decide if MPLS is really a good fit for your network requirements….. there’s some things you need to understand first.

There’s no one “MPLS Service”. A lot of what you get will depend how the service provider has Engineered and built their core network. Bear in mind that many carriers don’t own the whole network, but will piece together a service from other carriers networks, or will interconnect with other carriers to extend their reach.

Cell-mode MPLS was mentioned: basically this is ATM which has been retro-fitted with MPLS. Be careful with this for VoIP applications because it can use bandwidth very inefficiently.

MPLS can support QoS, but many services aren’t engineered with this, or only with very basic prioritization. Also the services are very often structured to reduce the potential complexity and to ensure the network can cope. Bear in mind a typical MPLS router can only carry a percentage of “high-priority, real time” traffic. If everyone sends all their data as high priority then the benefit is lost, and the network may suffer. Usually QoS is provided as a small number of service classes, typically 3 or 4.

The biggest bottleneck in any such service is normally the tail circuit to each of your premises. If you move from a T1 mesh to a MPLS service then you will likely find that some sites need more bandwidth than others. Tracking the requirement for this bandwidth is usually your problem, although the service provides may give you some reporting tools to assist with this. I would avoid service providers who cannot offer this as it will make it very difficult for you to manage your bandwidths.

If you factor in multiple service classes then your management of these tail circuits gets more complex as you no only have to work out how much bandwidth is required for each tail circuit, but how much of it should be reserved for each service class.

Regarding resilience, within the service providers core, the service is normally highly resilient to failures. However, when failures do occur, very often (depending on how the service is engineered) the rerouting can take a second or two. During this network re-convergence you will lose packets. Depending on the protocol your traffic uses this can be unimportant or devastating. For instance, some VPN and VoIP services don’t survive this well.

Normally resilience is not automatically provided all the way to the customer. Typically you will have one tail circuit and one router at each site. If either fails (or if the Service provider’s PE router has problems) you will lose service to the site, totally.

If this is an issue, you need to factor in dual connections. There’s multiple ways of doing this, and different service providers will offer different options. Make sure you get your Network Engineer involved as the devil is in the detail here, and some options which sound like they provide a fantastic level of resilience may not be as good as they sound, depending on how your internal network is configured.

And, of course, the key to all of this is SLAs: what do they offer? What happens if they break them? How do they report them to you?

Generally speaking, MPLS services are a great way to run a multi-site data network including VoIP services. I have seen many carriers and their customers doing this successfully for years.

Strictly speaking MPLS does not provide QoS. QoS is done by prioritizing traffic, and most IP routers, even those on the backbone of the Internet, can do this. The difference is whether they are configured to do this or not. In an MPLS network MPLS is provided by standard router features. MPLS technology (specifically Traffic Engineering) gives the carrier better control over how this traffic is prioritized and routed (and restored in case of network fault). All this does is give them the confidence to support SLAs.

As I mentioned, “QoS” is provided as a set of “service classes”. Typically these are things like “real-time”, “high-priority” and “everything else”. Mapping actual traffic into these classes can be done in a few different ways, but this is largely up to you to control. For instance, you could quite easily put web-browsing traffic into “real time” although this would normally be a dumb thing to do.

I would suggest the case for MPLS in terms of performance, cost and continuity against ‘traditional’ or ‘legacy’ data networks is now pretty robust, i.e. MPLS provides significant advantages in all 3 areas.

The key considerations when migrating include provider selection, access media (e.g. using Ethernet rather than SDH/SONET), the decision on procuring a managed or unmanaged service (often called wires-only) and the providers ability to map their CoS/QoS to the applications you need to support. This is especially important if you are operating any proprietary applications.

There is also an increasing trend to use WAN Optimization/application management solutions either as a value added service from the provider or from an alternative integrator or indeed doing it in house. This is important say for voice or applications such as CITRIX.

MPLS providers also now offer a whole suite of value added services such as integrated internet, managed network based firewalls and remote user support. If these are important to you make sure the providers demonstrate how this is achieved.

In selecting your provider ensure they have good geographic coverage in your areas and experience within your market segment. I always recommend requesting up to 3 references. Equally I think it is wise to understand how important a client you will be to the provider. It’s all well and good using the market leader (say according to Gartner)….. but you’ll often get a better service from a provider who values and really wants your business.

Need help designing the right MPLS configuration for your network? There’s a ton of resources….. free and fee….. listed and discussed at Broadband Nation.