Ordinarily, it seems that the public Internet, when coupled with IPsec encryption, can be effectively used for corporate WAN. Although a public Internet connection can be used to access WAN from some sites, it does not meet the capacity, uptime and performance demands of the converged applications used today. This is because such a consumer-grade connection treats all kinds of traffic in the same way irrespective of its significance and latency needs
How is MPLS Different? – Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), on the other hand, is an enterprise-grade solution that sets up prioritised and highly efficient routes for business traffic. When an organisation has an MPLS-based network, any packet entering its zone gets assigned to a particular forwarding equivalence class (FEC) that is specified by tagging on a short bit sequence to the packet.
Each router in the network has a table that assists in the handling of packets with specific FECs. Whenever a packet enters the network, routers do not need to perform header analysis. The successive routers keep using the label as an index into the table that grants them a new FEC for that packet.
With this process, the MPLS-based network can consistently manage packets with particular characteristics. The packets that facilitate the flow of real-time traffic including video and voice can be easily mapped to low latency routes in an MPLS network, which is not the case with traditional routing.
The Key Advantages of MPLS
Quality of Service – Businesses that use MPLS VPN are assured of a high QoS for their Internet connectivity, and as a result, the apps and software that are in the cloud or run on the Internet perform seamlessly. An organisation subscribing to MPLS can sign up for a certain level of QoS as per its requirements. This means that the minimum thresholds for jitter, latency and packet loss can be specified while taking the connection. This applies for different kinds of traffic – voice, video, e-mail services, transmitting of bulky files and other software applications.
Any-to-any connectivity – By using an MPLS network, an organisation also benefits from any-to-any connectivity. This feature is particularly helpful for the functioning of video and voice applications with any-to-any patterns – MPLS makes it easier to connect sites, which helps in the management of such traffic patterns.
This is another reason to use MPLS network. The service provider manages the routing of WAN for the subscriber, and the business need not put its internal team on this job. When it comes to handling the day-to-day operations and ensuring the proper working of all devices, MPLS is a better alternative than conventionally routed and managed networks.
Service level agreement (SLA) – There is a quality assurance with all MPLS connections because they are protected by documented SLAs. These contain guarantees on service delivery. AN MPLS network is deployed within the timeline promised in the network, and the uptime also matches what has been stated in the SLA. This makes MPLS a more practical option than a vanilla broadband connection for businesses.
Security – While MPLS is recommended for all businesses, an organisation in the financial industry and other domains where the security of customer accounts and data is essential mainly benefit from it. Such businesses need to have secure servers and encrypted websites for transactions. MPLS adds those extra security layers to a network.
MPLS is also preferred to connect the remote offices of an enterprise securely. MPLS circuits can maintain connections through private networks, and there are no interruptions in the connectivity between different offices of the same organisation. With the opening of new offices, more sites can be safely added to the existing WAN of the business.
Here are some other benefits of MPLS VPN:
- Web conferencing, VoIP and mission-critical apps used by a business run flawlessly on an MPLS-based network.
- It is an optimum way to connect to the cloud.
- It enables the connectivity for both IP-based and non-IP based physical security systems on WAN.
- Important apps can be prioritised on the network for better usage of bandwidth.
- When they are on MPLS VPN, businesses can reduce the number of hubs in their network, and this helps them to save upon costs of network maintenance.
Despite being over a decade old, MPLS technology is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Please speak to a Tata Tele Business Services technology advisor to know more about the MPLS VPN and its value for your business.