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 ?
RCN Corporation (NASDAQ: RCNI) announced today that RCN Business Solutions, a premiere transport, internet, bulk video and voice service provider to the carrier and enterprise business communities, has rolled out a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Ethernet network throughout the metropolitan New York area.
Lucent Technologies (NYSE:LU) today announced that Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the sole telecommunications provider in Costa Rica, has awarded Lucent a contract to deploy elements of Lucent's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) service architecture and a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) solution to offer next generation voice and data services.
Using advanced Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology, AT&T's network integrates the company's 18 corporate locations under one common IP-based architecture.
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Under the terms of the two-year contract, AT&T will deliver AT&T Business Network (ABN) integrated services, and a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network solution, customized for disaster recovery and data security.
The unique solution combines Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Hierarchical Virtual Private LAN Services (HVPLS) with Circuit Emulation Services (CES).

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