Window on WANs

Aug 5 2011   10:55AM GMT

Which 2011 MPLS vendor has what it takes?

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

Two-thousand IT professionals spoke out about their vendors for the Nemertes Research firm’s 2011 PilotHouse Awards — where IT pros had an opportunity to rate vendors in several technology categories including MPLS services and application delivery optimization (ADO) . Their results? Of the MPLS vendors graded in the recent Communications & Computing Benchmark, MegaPath came out on top as a market challenger, earning a 4.37 rating out of 5 (1 being the lowest; 5 being the highest). Market leader Verizon, in comparison, received a 4.24 overall rating.

See for yourself how each MPLS vendor scores:

Enlarge MPLS vendor results.Nemertes 2011 MPLS vendor scores

What determines a vendor’s position as a market challenger or leader? Nemertes prescribes the “market leader” label to a small group of highly-visibile vendors that take up a large percentage of the overall market. In contrast, “market challengers” typically make up a larger group of vendors that comprise a smaller number of customers — which is why I’m sure everyone reading this post has heard of Verizon and probably not MegaPath.

So who is MegaPath, and why have IT leaders graded MegaPath the highest -– beating out Sprint, last year’s PilotHouse Award winner for WAN technology? The US-based communications company could not have rated in any previous years because Megapath began in 2010 — that’s right: A startup beat out Verizon, Sprint, Qwest, AT&T… although calling them a straight up “startup” may not be fair, since the company began as a combination of three organizations — Covad, Megapath and Speakeasy — funded by venture capitalist U.S. Venture Partners. Clearly, this recipe has made mega-strides in the MPLS space backed by accolades from IT managers.

One note to make about this year’s PilotHouse Award ratings is that MPLS vendors scored higher this year than in previous years. Although Sprint performed better than last year’s rating of 3.96, every vendor that made the cut scored no lower than a 4.03. In fact, the lowest score on any of the ratings is a 3.88 — indicating that to stay competitive in the MPLS market, service providers should make strides to improve all three areas of technology, customer service and value.

Why else was Megapath a winner? It’s clear to see that cost and convenience matter most to WAN professionals. No matter how state-of-the-art a technology is — if something goes wrong and you can’t get a live human being on the phone to discuss the issue in an intelligent way — then forget it. That’s a headache no IT manager wants to struggle with. Vendors with higher-rated technology couldn’t beat out MegaPath’s overall ratings due to lesser customer service scores and inaccessible prices.

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