Connecting remote sites is a critical service for enterprises — and different types of enterprises require different types of VPNs. Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is the de-facto technology for the delivery of VPN services in metro area networks. This Converge Network Digest article offers an in-depth overview of using of MPLS technology in metro area networks for the delivery of enterprise VPN.
“MPLS is a field-proven, scalable, standard and interoperable technology, which was originally developed to provide a connection oriented and faster packet forwarding than the traditional IP routing. In an MPLS network, Ethernet packets are assigned with labels and packet forwarding decisions are made solely on the content of these labels, without the need to de-encapsulate and process the entire packets’ contents.
“Traditional routers forward packets by examining the IP header, searching for the longest matching entry in the routing table, and forwarding the packet through the specified interface and port to the next hop router. This process is consuming resources and time, and is repeated for each packet at each router along the path. Since no state is maintained from packet to packet, the system is highly scalable, but inefficient for large capacity transport purposes.
“In an MPLS network, each packet encapsulates and carries its MPLS labels during the way from source to destination. High performance switching of data is achievable due to the fixed length labels that are inserted at the beginning of the packet and can be used by relatively simple hardware to switch packets.”