Everything You Need to Know About Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

Multiprotocol label switching is a complex sounding – yet quite intuitive – system for efficiently delivering packets and information to different routers, nodes, and endpoints. Though there’s a lot of ground to cover when discussing MPLS, we want to give you a quick, general rundown of what MPLS is all about.

At its base, the MPLS system was meant to reduce IP lookups and improve the speed at which packets are delivered. Typically, when packets are sent from a router, they perform an IP lookup and prepare a “hop” to the next router, where that next router performs its own IP lookup. Those hops are done until the packets reach its final destination.

With MPLS, however, these packets are given “labels” and the final destination of the packets are looked up, instead of each router hop. This simplifies the transmission of data and packets, useful for networks that operate over long distances.

The concept was to only have one IP lookup with the initial router, where each subsequent router would match this lookup by “switching.” This reduced performance demands on hardware as the packets were sent through a simplified process.

This easier method for data lookups means its accessible to companies and industries that rely on high performance telecommunication, since MPLS simplifies the path by which packets/data are sent. Thanks to MPLS, there are numerous advantages said companies take advantage of to complete routine tasks.

MPLS Advantages


If it wasn’t obvious yet, performance improvement is one of the biggest reasons organizations adopt an MPLS solution. The reduction in “hops” and data table lookups improves performance in both data transmission and application performance, which are key factors when time is factored.

From this, cost reduction is another benefit. This is especially the case when more data-demanding services are introduced into a network, such as video conferences or similar. Compared to traditional network configurations and packet lookups, the efficiency of transmission leads to less in cost

MPLS also prepares companies for scaling demands. Some consider label switching a method of “future proofing” a business, since it meets various data needs as new resources/technology are introduced. With less investment in traditional legacy networks like ATM, MPLS is considered mandatory by some to avoid being left behind.

One more benefit to MPLS is its disaster recovery flexibility. MPLS improves disaster recovery since, once again, the transmission of information is faster.

MPLS allows networks to quickly switch to backup networks or cloud based infrastructure, an impossibility with traditional frame or ATM setups. Thus, a company’s data is better protected.

Though it can appear complex in nature, ultimately, MPLS is all about reducing the lookups required to send information to a router. By simplifying that process, core performance in both speed and hardware increases, while the technology itself remains flexible.

Consider an MPLS framework if you’d like to increase speeds with your telecoms company, or, want to reduce strain on your current infrastructure. Stratosphere Networks is a leading provider in IT management systems, and works with small to mid-size businesses to enhance their IT infrastructure systems.  Give us a call at (877)599-3999 or fill out a contact form to speak with an IT professional today.

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