Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is not a new technology for business WAN. It has been used for almost a decade by businesses that seek an efficient and secure channel for Internet connectivity and to keep their remote offices connected on WAN.
In technical terms, MPLS is a method to ensure that packets of data reach their destinations through efficient routes and are aptly prioritised. One or more labels mark all packets. As each of them passes through MPLS virtual private network (VPN), some new labels may be added, changed or taken off. The network then distributes information for each switch to understand what it must do when it comes across a particular label.
Today, when organisations have also started moving towards SD-WAN as a wide area network connectivity option, some misconceptions surround MPLS VPN, and these prevent enterprises from leveraging the benefits that this technology offers.
Five such myths about MPLS networks are discussed here.
1. MPLS VPN can be complex to manage
The general Internet platform is a conglomeration of multiple service providers who administer their own segment. Once the traffic crosses their network borders, any policy or priority that was specified on the handling of traffic does not hold good. Moreover, the ISP cannot manage or escalate a service quality degradation or sudden outage if the root cause of this problem lies in the physical space of the Internet maintained by another service provider.
MPLS VPN, on the other hand, comes with single operator administration and control. The service provider can engineer and control the network enabling the traffic to behave as per the policies and procedures that govern the network. Businesses can have their offices in remote locations and across countries; they are always assured of efficient traffic flow because, on MPLS, the service provider can sustain connections through private networks and ensure that your workplace is always online and connected to other offices.
2. Being an older technology, MPLS cannot accommodate the demands of video/voice traffic effectively
This is another misconception about MPLS. The truth, however, is that MPLS network is optimised with any-to-any connectivity. It facilitates the flow of data, voice and video traffic across business sites, mobile and remote users. The traffic does not need to make an extra jump to the central site to get to its ultimate destination. The any-to-any connectivity and QoS factors together ensure that all business applications irrespective of their size and bandwidth continually perform well. Businesses can easily use real-time apps embedding voice and video features to collaborate across distant locations. VoIP apps run most effectively on MPLS VPNs.
3. It is vulnerable to data thefts
Businesses know that IPSec VPN can protect them against data theft across the shared public Internet by employing particular industry-grade encryption. However, an MPLS VPN is also effective at safeguarding data. It segregates users’ data across the service provider’s enterprise-class WAN infrastructure. In other words, it carves out a private channel for each subscriber through the WAN, and their data, therefore, remains safe from unauthorised access.
Enterprises that are more concerned about security can also use a belt-and-suspenders approach for protection and encrypt their entire traffic through the MPLS VPN – this is like building a VPN within VPN.
4. Expanding the network as per changed needs can be difficult
Scalability with cost-effectiveness is still a chief selling point of MPLS VPN. Beginning from the simplest of environments, MPLS VPN allows businesses to raise the complexity of their networks as per their changing requirements. They can expand an MPLS VPN easily thanks to its mesh topology. More sites can be added to the network with minimum investment in the hardware.
5. MPLS connection is expensive
As an enterprise-grade solution, MPLS VPN is not prone to the risks, outages and delays that affect public Internet services. It has been devised for resiliency, scalability, security, business continuity, QoS and premium customer experience. Furthermore, the standards of services are guaranteed through a documented service level agreement (SLA). The service provider ensures that subscribers are always getting the features that they are entitled to and take immediate measures to remediate problems if any. With this, MPLS is a value for money proposition and not a pricey deal.
MPLS VPN gives your business its own private space on the Internet. It prevents your IP address from getting hijacked and from being used as a spoofed source address. Your data is also safe from risks that threaten the public Internet realm.
To know more about MPLS VPN solutions, please talk to a Tata Tele Business Services representative today.