What is MPLS?
MPLS is a framework defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that allows for the introduction of label switching to Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols.
MPLS works by taking advantage of the fast switching mechanism of Layer 2 network combined with high scalability, availability and manageability of Layer 3. Instead of using traditional Mac address or IP address based packet forwarding, MPLS use unique labels to attach to each packet as it enters from the end-userâ€™s network to the MPLS network. Each hop in the network forward the packets to the destination based on which labels the packets are attached to. The label is then removed upon reaching the destination and the packet re-enter to the end-userâ€™s network in its original state. In this way, MPLS brings deterministic circuit switching to a packet-based infrastructure, which gives network operators more control over the network As each label is unique, it can be used to create Virtual Private Network as well as to assign Class of Service for each end-user. MPLS can also handle packets with particular characteristics (such as those coming from particular ports or carrying traffic of a particular application type) in a consistent fashion. Packets carrying real-time traffic, such as voice or video, can easily be mapped to low-latency routes across the network â€” something that is challenging with conventional network.
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