What is multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)?
Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is a telecommunications network technology that routes traffic using the shortest path based on predetermined “labels,” instead of network destination addresses, to handle forwarding over private wide area networks.
MPLS enhances Ethernet connectivity and drastically improves traffic speed, limiting the amount of user downtime when connected to the network. Organizations use MPLS to handle forwarding over private wide area networks. For example, companies with several remote locations require MPLS to access a data center at the organization’s headquarters or another remote office.
Advantages of MPLS
There are several advantages to MPLS:
- Consistent network performance — Fewer hurdles allow more efficient data transmission, less network congestion, and less likelihood of crashing.
- Simplified operational appearance — MPLS hides the network’s complexity from devices and users.
- Improved user experience — MPLS supports a range of access technologies. Organizations can choose from different types of services such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).
- Secure transport mode — MPLS is a virtual private network (VPN), which makes it not vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks.
Disadvantages of MPLS
MPLS is not always the better option. Below are reasons why some organizations may avoid MPLS:
- Expensive — MPLS is typically high in costs due to high bandwidth, performance, and competitive service level agreements (SLAs).
- Less accessible — MPLS is not optimized for cloud applications or SaaS, limiting its accessibility in organizations.
- Higher maintenance levels — Organizations must carry out maintenance through an Internet service provider (ISP).
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