7 Advantages of MPLS Networks

There are many advantages of MPLS networks. Here are the top seven.

Improved Network Utilisation

Traditionally, one way to guarantee low levels of packet loss is to reserve a fixed amount of bandwidth for a given use, at all times, regardless of whether the bandwidth is needed. This approach works, but isn't efficient, as for much of the time, this reserved bandwidth is unused.

Far better to converge the traffic onto a single network, then prioritise and re-route traffic such that the impact of any network congestion is minimised.

One mpls advantage is that it lets you pool the spare bandwidth on every link, postponing the date when you need to upgrade your network to cope with increasing demands. 

Consistent Network Performance

Not all network traffic is equal. Some traffic is more important than other traffic. Some traffic is more urgent than other traffic. Some traffic can be lost in small qualities with relative impunity, while other traffic has to be received first time or it's useless.

It allows different Class of Service classifications to be applied to packets, to help ensure that data loss (packet loss), transmission delays (latency) and variations in transmission delay (jitter) are kept without appropriate limits.

This means that when networks become congested, the experience of network users doesn't noticeably suffer. When lots of people in the office want to make VoIP phone calls simultaneously, they can do so, even if that means YouTube videos of skateboarding cats take a fraction of a second longer to load.

This ability to prioritise traffic on congested links, divert less urgent traffic on to slower routes, and to drop less important traffic when strictly necessary, helps ensure no-one notices the temporary network congestion.

The importance of consistent network performance is two-fold. It gives the organisation confidence to press ahead with using their network for a particular application, such as IP telephony or video conferencing. Secondly, good network performance means there are fewer support calls to deal with, as the network isn't causing any issues.

Obscures Network Complexity

Another advantage of MPLS is that it can effectively hide the underlying complexity of the network from devices and users that don't need to know about it.

Most organisations that deploy Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks have lots of sites. For reasons of operational efficiency, and to organisations often wish to join many of those sites using a single wide area network.

Due to differences in network operator footprints, cost considerations and carrier resilience requirements, it is likely that the underlying circuits powering such a WAN will be provided by a variety of underlying network operators.

MPLS encapsulates network traffic, providing a useful layer of abstraction. This allows these disparate circuits to be seamlessly merged into a single WAN that's easier to set up, troubleshoot and reconfigure.

A single unified MPLS network can be built upon circuits from a variety of different carriers. It can be built using layer 2 circuits AND layer 3 circuits. It can be built using fibre-optic cables, copper-based xDSL services and even wireless links. It can be built using MPLS-enabled networking equipment from different hardware vendors.

This pragmatic, heterogeneous approach to connectivity provides a great deal of flexibility which helps keep costs down.

Easier Global Changes

MPLS network management tools make it easy to apply settings across an entire WAN at once - even if you have 2000 sites.

You can tell the network to apply a different label to certain types of traffic, or to apply a different Class of Service classification to certain types of traffic, or to do different things for a given Class of Service setting.

Reduced Network Congestion

Another of the MPLS advantages comes from the fact it can support Traffic Engineering. This has many uses, including the re-routing of comparatively delay-tolerant traffic to slower, circuitous, under-utilised routes, freeing up capacity on quicker (lower-latency) overcrowded paths.

Increased Uptime

One of the advantages of MPLS is that it has the potential to increase uptime. It does this in two ways.

MPLS has a feature known as Fast Reroute that enables traffic to be switched to an alternative path very rapidly in the event of downtime, if such an alternative path is available.

MPLS also reduces downtime by reducing the scope for human error by making it easier to set up paths across a wide area network.

Scalable IP VPNs

With MPLS, you can create IP VPNs without having to set up a complex mesh of tunnels. This makes MPLS popular with organisations with a lot of sites.

Find Out More

If you'd like to learn more about MPLS, call us on 020 7847 4510. As both a UK-based MPLS WAN provider and an SD-WAN provider, we can help you determine which option is right for your organisation.