What is MPLS?

The Quick Definition: Multiprotocol Label Switching is a protocol-agnostic routing method that speeds up traffic flows across large area- and service provider networks.
What is MPLS?
Multi-Protocol Label Switching (or MPLS) is a way for you to connect your sites together. MPLS is a common feature of VoIP solutions that are used across a large area network. As networks grew, the old methods of broadcasting voice communications became less efficient. The cloud was also a part internal communications.
MPLS makes it easier for organizations to communicate voice over the internet. Let’s look at how it works in more detail.
Let’s say Customer A has a site with a switch, and a few PCs connected. They have an IP phone and want to connect it to Site B. Site B is located a thousand miles away. They also have a router and switch connected. MPLS connects the sites through the router’s cloud via a private tunnel. They have their own private connection to the cloud.
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1. Interface IndependenceLet’s suppose you have a site connected to a T1 line, and another site connected via fiber optic. Perhaps even a metro Ethernet connection, which can transmit 100 megabits to the cloud or 1000 megabits per minute. This scenario also includes a third site that connects to DSL. (Yes, seriously, some service routers can support DSL.
MPLS can be used to connect all these sites. Imagine a full mesh, where all sites are connected. The cloud is yours and you can set it all up, just like a shared connection. It’s like a switch. All these sites can be connected by plugging into the switch. They can all communicate. It is a huge advantage to be able to connect to any type of connection that the service router supports.
2. Control of CommunicationBefore MPLS was available, you needed a T1 line to connect to sites. You had to link another site from site A to the site C T1 line. Site C had to pass through site A to B.
Now you have one site that can connect to many sites. Your internal engineers and the provider can create a mesh network for telecommunications. This is in contrast to the old-school setups which required routing across specific subnets before each packet reached its destination.
You basically have the power to say “I want all these folks to be connected.” You can also tell the service router that you only want this guy to be connected because he doesn’t need to talk with this site.
The speed of the mesh network can be different for providers and your network. One location might use slower T1 lines (1.54Mbps), while another could use fiber connectivity. This results in a seamless mesh network that works together, regardless of the network speed.
3. Quality of ServicePeople often connect via the internet to each other. They have connections at all of their sites and use VPN technology for connecting them.
VPNs add additional header information to your sites. This includes a lot of header information for encryption. This is not good for voice over IP (VoIP). Is it possible? Yes. Can you do it? Yes. Will you get bad calls? Yes. How many? It depends on the service provider. It is voice over IP over VPN.
MPLS allows you to tag your packets with specific markings. They are sometimes called TOS or DSCP. These are then translated by service routers into MPLS labels. This results in a higher Quality of Service (QoS), which is a metric used for determining the time required to transpa.

What is MPLS?
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