Multiprotocol Label Switching

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Multiprotocol Label Switching

(MPLS) A packet switching protocol developed by the IETF. Initially developed to improve switching speed, other benefits are now seen as being more important.

MPLS adds a 32-bit label to each packet to improve network efficiency and to enable routers to direct packets along predefined routes in accordance with the required quality of service. The label is added when the packet enters the MPLS network, and is based on an analysis of the packet header. The label contains information on the route along which the packet may travel, and the forwarding equivalence class (FEC) of the packet. Packets with the same FEC are routed through the network in the same way.

Routers make forwarding decisions based purely on the contents of the label. This simplifies the work done by the router, leading to an increase in speed. At each router, the label is replaced with a new label, which tells the next router how to forward the packet. The label is removed when the packet leaves the MPLS network.

Modern ASIC-based routers can look up routes fast enough to make the speed increase less important. However, MPLS still has some benefits. The use of FECs allows QoS levels to be guaranteed, and MPLS allows IP tunnels to be created through a network, so that VPNs can be implemented without encryption.

MPLS Resource Center.

[RFC 3031]
References in periodicals archive ?
Contract notice: Provision of of a Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Connectivity Service.
Tokyo, Japan, Sept 6, 2006 - (JCN) - The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) will conduct a feasibility test of Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) between the U.
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During the independent test event, Sycamore SN 16000 intelligent optical switches successfully demonstrated multi-vendor IP/Optical control plane interworking using standards-based Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS).
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ACS will connect domestic datacenters to the Qwest multi-protocol label switching (MPLS)-based network using iQ Networking's wide-area network platform.
Caspian, the leading provider of multimedia traffic management solutions for IP and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) networks, today announced that China Unicom, the world's third largest mobile telephone operator, is deploying Caspian's Media Controllers with OC-48 trunks across its country's backbone to manage multimedia network traffic by allocating bandwidth more efficiently and fairly.
Remi Communications' network supports a variety of connectivity options for business customers including Metro Ethernet, Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) and Layer-2/Layer-3 Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) services.

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