Multi-Protocol Label Switching – MPLS – 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.
As a label protocol it has evolved to look at QoS (Traffic Engineering) and supporting optical connections via MPLS-TP.
MPLS has the following benefits and it explains why it has come of age and has a lot of traction with IT / Telecommunication’s and the ubiquitious Data Centres / PODS.
Benefits of MPLS:-
-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.
Also, please look at LISP, TRILL, VXLAN, etc..