With every passing day data transfer through the internet becomes more and more exploited. This necessitates and demands for faster, complex and smart data transfer networks. Among this networks is MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching mechanism) but before expound on what is mpls let’s take a look at how data is transferred through the public network.
Data transfer through the public internet –
Precisely the internet is all those networks covered by IP and TCP protocols but technically what ordinary consumers have access to is any-to-any packet switching network which works as follows:
1) All types of information are transmitted in form of 1s and zeros i.e. bits.
2) When the data enters the network the stream of bits representing the message is divided into a series of short fragments i.e. packets.
3) A label is then attached to each packet indicating its final destination.
4) As the packet travels through the network it passes through specialised computers called routers. Technically the routers checkup the destination of the packet and makes a decision on which path to send it so that it gets closer to its destination until the final router receives it and displays it to the user accordingly.
What is MPLS
MPLS as stated earlier stands for Multiprotocol Label Switching which is a standard approved network technology that sets up a specific path to be taken by a packet of data. The reason why it is called multiprotocol is because it works with multiple protocols such as IP, ATM and Frame relay network protocols. When data enters the MPLS network more labels are assigned to it which ensures that the packets reach the right destination through a sensible route as well as in the right order.
Proposed and developed by Cisco MPLS operates between layer 2 and layer 3 of traditionally defined layers of protocols. It has significantly contributed to the improvement of internet data transfer by offering the following benefits:
1) Reduction in network congestion- The MPLS ensures that data is sent through the shortest route possible so that it reaches its destination faster.
2) Improved uptime- During the transfer of data through the MPLS network the router do not need to look up for the destination of the packet since it is predefined.
3) Improved user experience- Using MPLS multiple classes of services can be created such as prioritizing time sensitive traffic such as VoIP.
Other benefits include scalable IP VPNs, Optimum bandwidth utilization and network complexity abstraction.