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In this article we’re going to cover why some businesses use multiprotocol label switching (MPLS).

What Is Multiprotocol Label Switching?   
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) ensures that data packets get to their destination via the most efficient route. It also sets the priority of each data packet. In an MPLS environment, as each packet enters the network, a label switch router attaches a label to it. This label can then be read by other routers on the network without having to open the data packet.  

How Does MPLS Differ From A Standard Network?   
Without MPLS, internet routers receive data as IP “packets”, which then transport the data to a designated IP network address. This packet may pass through several routers along the way before arriving at its final destination.   

The issue with this method is that there is no set structure or guidelines for how IP packets reach their destination. Every time a packet is sent to a new router, that router has to figure out where to send it next. Each data packet needs to be fully inspected to determine its destination. These routing decisions are made using complicated tables, and this process must be repeated multiple times until the destination is reached.  

In networks with a lot of traffic, this is incredibly inefficient method. On busy networks this can cause significant congestion. Imagine if the post office had to manually open every parcel to know where to send it!  

However, in an MPLS network, one or more labels are attached to each packet. These labels can be added, altered or removed as each packet travels across the MPLS network. Your network has specific instructions on how to treat each packet depending on which label is attached.    

The Benefits of MPLS for Businesses  
There are several benefits to implementing Multiprotocol Label Switching in your business’s network. Here are just a few of the ways that our customers have benefitted.   

  • Network Speed & Efficiency   
    The implementation of an MPLS network solution improves the speed and control of all network traffic. Instead needing complicated IP routing tables to determine where each packet needs to be sent, the packets are automatically routed. Each label designates a predetermined path for the data packet. The result is that data loads significantly faster and the overall performance of your network greatly improved.   
  • Reduce Costs   
    Efficiently routing data on your network allows you to do more with your existing bandwidth. This can help save you money as otherwise you would need to upgrade your business broadband connection.  
  • Network Reliability   
    Because data can travel across multiple network pathways, MPLS networks are less prone to crash or overload.   
  • Traffic Priority   
    Through MPLS, you can prioritise essential traffic, shift less vital traffic to slower channels, and removing non-essential traffic if required. This helps guarantee that your network remains functional and efficient even when operating at its limit.   
  • Security 
    MPLS provides more security and is frequently requested by businesses that require increased privacy in their network. Some industries, such as the healthcare and financial services industries, are required by law to meet strict network security criteria. MPLS helps to achieve this by labelling sensitive data and specifying how it can more across your network.  
  • Simplify Connections Between Premises  
    Many businesses with multiple locations end up managing those locations separately rather than as nodes in a single network. This can be a costly and inefficient way of managing them, luckily multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) offers a solution. 
    Using MPLS, a connection between two sites can be set up to function like a single point to point cable. This method of sending the packets directly is known as a VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service).  

How Might A Business Use Multiprotocol Label Switching?  
The way each business will use MPLS will vary depending on how they wish to prioritise data on their network.  

As an example, if you run a call centre you would likely value business VoIP data over anything else. This would ensure that your quality of service was consistent for your customers. Other companies may place a higher priority on their data backups or.   

How Carden Telecoms Can Help  
At Carden Telecoms, we can assist you in configuring your own bespoke MPLS labelling system. We’ll help designate the data that is most important to your company. We’ve helped businesses of all sizes use MPLS to increase the efficiency and security of their networks. Speak to our team today to learn more. 

Author: Dave King

Dave King is the Co-Founder and Director of Carden Telecoms and the wider Carden IT Group. Dave is experienced in business telecoms with a focus on cloud telephony and connectivity services.

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