MPLS is such an important, and easily misunderstood, service that I thought I’d provide more insight into how it works and why it’s so attractive in the business market today. MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) is a private, secure dedicated circuit between two or more locations that provides interconnectivity through the carrier. A few years ago, if you wanted this type of connectivity, you would have had to get a point-to-point T1. If you had multiple sites, you would have had to get multiple point-to-point T1’s all coming back to your main site. Believe me, this got messy. (If you are not familiar with a point-to-point T1, it’s basically a really long cable running from one building to another on dedicated copper pairs from a provider.) That being said, it was a solution that worked for the time period.

However, with the growing demand for better and faster solutions that could deliver more bang for the buck, MPLS was born. You could consider MPLS as a point-to-point service through “the Cloud,” so to speak. MPLS is through the carrier’s network, and the carriers provide the routing between locations through their network. Instead of having physical wires run between two buildings, they deliver connectivity (Ethernet, T1, etc.) to each location and use their network to create an MPLS network.

MPLS works with various protocols and policies in order to allow different types of data traffic to flow from site to site. It gives higher priority to traffic such as video and voice to allow that real time data to flow unencumbered by their other data applications such as mail and internet traffic, thereby creating a truly unified delivery method from one location to another through one point of access to the customer’s locations.

I’m sure now you can see why MPLS has become such a popular service. People no longer need multiple circuits doing the job of multiple point-to-point T1’s. In fact, they can even utilize higher-speed connections like Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) with MPLS. In the past, customers would have to separate voice and video from their other lower priority data traffic by using another circuit or statically assigning bandwidth to each service. Thanks to MPLS, that’s not the case any more.

Did I mention that MPLS is a dynamic service, meaning if voice or video is not in use the other data applications are free to use the entire circuit? Well I did now.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you a better understanding of MPLS, even if you already knew a little.