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What is Different About MPLS?
If you've ever asked "what is MPLS?" and gotten an answer full of confusing technical jargon, you could really be missing out. After all, if you don't know what makes MPLS different, you don't know all of the ways it can help you!
So, what is MPLS? How is it different from other technology?
Let's start with the basics…
MPLS stands for "Multi-Protocol Label Switching". It was created in the late 1990's as an alternative to traditional IP routing. Since MPLS is so much faster, it quickly became the standard for most of the world's biggest telecommunications providers.
To understand exactly how it works -- and how it's different from everything else -- let's break it down, piece by piece.
"Multi-Protocol" is a fancy way of saying that these networks can handle a bunch of different data. So, whether you're sending basic emails, need to access a live voice stream, or spend a lot of time downloading video, these networks are up to the challenge.
What makes them so efficient is the way they have data travel. On MPLS networks, data is bundled up into a little packet, and on the front of each packet is a "label" that says where the data came from and where it needs to go. It's very similar to a Christmas present with a "To" and "From" label on the front!
As data travels along the network, it stops at little "hops" along the way. At each hop, the network looks at the label and sends it to the appropriate next hop.
Here's what makes MPLS so efficient -- because each packet has a label on it, the network doesn't have to dig through the packet, figure out what kind of data is inside, and then decide where to send it. That's what most other networks do. But, instead, MPLS networks can simply read the label and know exactly where to send the packet next. That way, data can arrive at its destination even faster!
As efficient as that is, MPLS offers one more big benefit -- the "switching".
At each hop, the packet of data switches labels. That way, it always has the most accurate "To" and "From" information. Since the labels are always changing, the packets of data can take unique routes along the network. Some can take a very direct route, while others can take a more round-about route. Luckily, you'll get to pick which types of data get the "express" service, and which ones are less important!
How's that for efficient?!
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May 23, 2013, 6:04:29 pm, America/Chicago