Breaking Down Multiprotocol Label Switching

If you’re looking to upgrade your IT infrastructure and have been looking for a solution that will give you better performance, more bandwidth, and more flexibility, you’ve likely come across multiprotocol label switching. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of using multiprotocol label switching technology.

What Is Multiprotocol Label Switching?

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is data forwarding technology that works to boost the speed and control the flow of traffic on a specific network. MPLS data gets directed through labels, eliminating the need for complex lookups in routing tables at every stop.

As soon as data enters a traditional IP network, it moves between network nodes that are based on long network addresses. This method requires every router the data packet lands on to make its own decision. These decisions are based on routing labels that contain information about the packet’s next network stop. Conversely, with MPLS, each packet is assigned its own label that sends it along an expedited, predetermined path.

How Does MPLS Work?

To understand how MPLS works, you must first understand Label Switched Paths (LSP). These are predetermined paths that go unidirectionally between pairs of routers across an MPLS network. The framework of a basic LSP is composed of the following steps:

  • Once a packet enters the network via a Label Edge Router, a Forwarding Equivalence Class (FEC) is assigned to it based on the data type and its intended destination. FECs are used to help identify packets that have similar or identical characteristics.
  • Depending on the FEC, the ingress note applies a label to the packet and encapsulates it inside of an LSP.
  • As the packet travels through the network’s Label Switch Routers, they continue to direct the data based on the instructions in the packet label. As we mentioned, these stops are based on the individualized packet label with no additional IP lookups required.
  • When it arrives at the final router, the label is removed and the packet gets delivered with regular IP routing.

The Benefits of MPLS

Although MPLS can seem complicated to those outside the tech world, the advantages of implementing it are easy to understand. MPLS can be beneficial to your business in a number of ways:

  • Easy to scale as companies grow
  • High performing
  • Improved bandwidth utilization since multiple traffic types are permitted to traverse the network
  • Less network congestion thanks to the use of optional paths for traffic to avoid busy paths
  • Greater reliability and predictability of network traffic since packets only travel along paths they are directed on.
  • Enables inter-connectivity growth of networks with minimal hardware additions and paves the way for growth at a reduced cost since there is no need for additional hardware interfaces once the network is in place
  • Overall improved user experience

Whether you’re wanting to implement a new network or upgrade your current network, MPLS is a great choice. It’s important to choose the right kind of connection—MPLS will provide a fast, secure solution to the internet issues you’ve faced in the past.

If you’re looking for a business internet provider to handle the process from start to finish, look no further than AxiaTP. Our team has more than 30 years of combined experience in helping businesses across various industries improve their networks. Contact us today to get started!