What is MPLS?

  • MPLS stands for Multi Protocol Label Switching.
  • The MPLS serves as a method to forward packets of data easily by using labels.
  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a vendor-independent protocol that applies labels to packets providing QOS and advance route selection functions.
  • MPLS can be implemented over any media-type and can be used with point-to-point, multipoint and ATM links. MPLS can be used with different network layer protocols (hence the term multiprotocol) by using a control component specific to the desired protocol.
  • MPLS can speed up the flow of network traffic and make it easier to manage.
  • MPLS is flexible, fast, cost-efficient and allows for network segmentation and quality of service (QoS).
  • MPLS also offers a better way of transporting latency-sensitive applications like voice and video.

MPLS Network

The below figure  illustrates the flow of a packet through an MPLS-enabled network. The source network is on the left and the destination network on the right. The large cloud in the center is the wide area network (WAN).

1a. Existing routing protocols (open shortest path first (OSPF), intermediate system to intermediate system (IS-IS))  establish the reachability of the destination networks
1b. Label distribution protocol (LDP) establishes label-to-destination network mappings
2. Ingress edge label switching router (LSR) receives a packet, performs layer-3 value-added services, and labels the packets
3. LSR switches the packet using label swapping
4. Egress edge LSR removes the label and delivers the packet

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