MPLS Services

Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), is quickly replacing frame relay and ATM as the technology of choice for carrying high-speed data and digital voice on a single connection. MPLS services not only provides better reliability and increased performance, but can often decrease overall costs through increased network efficiency. Its ability to assign priority of mission-critical traffic such as voice, video and data applications over non-urgent traffic types such as e-mail and Web browsing makes it the perfect solution for traffic across your network.

MPLS Overview

MPLS is a form of protocol, rather than a specific type of service. It can be used to deliver any type of circuit that a customer needs, from IP VPNs to optical connectivity.

The key to MPLS services is its ability to label data packets. In traditional IP networks, packets are routed based solely upon the data’s network-layer header. The arrival of each packet forces a router to “decide” where it should go next with no regard for its actual content.

MPLS greatly speeds up the routing process by labeling each packet as it arrives on the network. Each network router stores information on how to handle different packet types, as indicated by their header label. This directly translates to higher efficiency by lightening the load on an organization’s routers and freeing up needed resources. Speed of packet transmission is increased as the load on network infrastructure is reduced.

The inherent advantages of MPLS are most noticeable in situations where real-time traffic is configured to be given preference over data packets that do not require the same amount of speed or priority. With a traditional IP circuit, all traffic is treated equally. This becomes a critical problem when demand for bandwidth temporarily exceeds the capacity of the circuit and the router begins to discard packets.  Emails receive the same network priority as a real-time video or audio conference and the result can be phone calls or video transmissions of inferior quality, as the two sources battle against one another for priority. An MPLS network on the other hand will instantly assign a high priority to real-time voice and video. E-mail traffic and other connections that are not as likely to be affected by latency will be pushed to the back of a router’s queue to make way for high-priority traffic. This noticeably improves the performance of real-time applications and has a minimal effect on lower priority traffic such as e-mail, where a delay in milliseconds is almost impossible to detect.

In a nutshell, MPLS gives your high-priority, mission critical IP traffic top priority to reach its destination. All of this is done seamlessly, with absolutely no interaction needed on your part and with no significant changes to your network infrastructure.

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