MPLS Benefits Explained - Why Multi-Protocol Label Switching Rocks!

What is MPLS?

Multi-Protocol Label Switching is a method of ensuring packets of data get where they're supposed to, via a sensible route, and that packets are prioritised appropriately.

Packets are labelled with one or more labels. As each packet passes through the MPLS network, labels may be added, replaced or stripped off. The network distributes information so that each switch knows what it is supposed to do if it encounters a particular label.

The Benefits of MPLS Networks

Improve Uptime - by sending data over an alternative path in less than 50 milliseconds (if one exists). MPLS also reduces the amount of manual intervention your network provider has to do to create a WAN, reducing the likelihood of human error bringing down your circuit.

Create Scalable IP VPNs - with MPLS it's easy to add an additional site to the VPN. There is no need to configure a complex mesh of tunnels, as is common with some traditional approaches.

Improve User Experience - by prioritising time-sensitive traffic such as VoIP. Multi-Protocol Label Switching offers multiple Classes of Service, enabling you to apply separate settings to different types of traffic.

Improve Bandwidth Utilisation - by putting multiple types of traffic on the same link, you can let high priority traffic borrow capacity from lower priority traffic streams whenever required. Conversely, when the lower priority traffic needs to burst beyond its usual amount of bandwidth, it can use any capacity that's not being used by higher priority services.

Hide Network Complexity - an MPLS connection between two sites can be configured to act like a long ethernet cable, with the hops involved hidden from view. This is sometimes known as VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service).

Reduce Network Congestion - Sometimes the shortest path between two locations isn't the best one to take, as congestion has made it less attractive (at least for the time being). MPLS offers sophisticated traffic engineering options that enable traffic to be sent over non-standard paths. This can reduce latency (the delay in sending/receiving data). It also reduces congestion on the paths that have just been avoided as a result of traffic engineering.

MPLS is particularly well suited for use in Carrier Networks and corporate Wide Area Networks

A leased line can enable your employees to quickly and easily send files between your company

The technology is particularly well-suited to use in corporate Wide Area Networks

Multi-Protocol Label Switching is particularly useful for situations where...

  1. multiple types of traffic share a data connection, with some types of traffic requiring priority over others
  2. uptime is important, key locations have multiple connections so that alternative paths always exist
  3. network congestion occurs sometimes on some connections
  4. new sites will need to be able to connect to many different locations, while being entirely invisible to many other sites on the network.

This is why MPLS is widely used by the major telecoms companies. It's also very popular with organisations that need a scalable WAN that can carry both voice (phone calls) and data.

Interested in an MPLS-enabled Wide Area Network?

Then find out how much it's likely to cost by visiting our MPLS WAN pricing tool.

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