Does your business experience bottlenecks during certain times of the day or on particular days of the week that affect your overall business performance?
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to prioritize when technology and your internet connection becomes an obstacle in succeeding in your daily business activities.
In this article, we will discuss what MPLS technology is and how an MPLS network can enhance your business processes and operations.
We’ll show just how MPLS technology provides better scalability, enhanced performance, better bandwidth utilization, reduced network congestion, and a better end-user experience so that your business can run optimally.
What is MPLS?
MPLS is an abbreviation for MultiProtocol Label Switching, which is a means to transfer data and a mechanism for routing traffic within a telecommunications network as data travels from one network node to the next.
MPLS goes beyond an internet connection as it provides better and more efficient routing of information as it travels over the internet.
MPLS can be used in businesses to accelerate network connections as it transfers data from one node to the other on short way labels rather than large network addresses used in the internet.
This is due to the fact that data is transferred through a path using labels with MPLS, as opposed to requiring complex lookups at each node. As a result, the use of MPLS avoids complex routing problems and improves traffic flows.
MPLS is scalable and is independent of any protocols and works with Asynchronous Transport Mode (ATM) and Internet Protocol (IP)
When data enters a traditional IP network, it moves among network nodes based on long network addresses. In this method, the data packet on each router must make its own decision, based on the routing tables regarding the packet’s next stop on the network.
However, MPLS assigns a label to each packet to send it along a predetermined path, making your data transfer and internet speed faster as it reduces the workload of each router on the path.
MPLS Network: What You Need to Know
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is MPLS?”, there are other factors important for business networks. Not only does MPLS enhance data speed, it also controls the flow of network traffic so your internet and business operations can run smoothly and efficiently.
How specifically does MPLS work?
With an MPLS, the first time a packet enters the network, it is assigned to a specific forwarding class of service (CoS), also referred to as a forwarding equivalence class (FEC). It is indicated by appending a short sequence, also known as a label, to the packet. These classes act as an indicator of the type of traffic they carry.
Businesses can prioritize the classes so they can assign important tasks first so that critical processes run smoothly. For instance, businesses can label the classes in the following ways:
- Real time: these include tasks that require real time input such as voice and video calls
- Mission critical: CRM is a part of this class as it is important for the business to run smoothly thus prioritizing CRM as well as POS systems (Point of Sale).
- Best effort: these include tasks that are not of the highest importance such as the use of the Internet and emails
As a result, whenever a packet enters the network, the MPLS will sort and classify each application into one of these classes.
The fastest and low-latency path would be reserved for real-time apps like voice and video, thereby ensuring quality is high. Separating traffic based on performance is impossible to do with other routing protocols.
Where Does MPLS Fit Into the Network Layers?
The interesting thing about MPLS layers is that they cannot be entirely classified into one layer. MPLS, in fact, fits between Layer 2 and Layer 3 into Layer 2.5 to be exact.
One of the key benefits of MPLS is that it separates forwarding mechanisms from the underlying data-link service. In other words, MPLS can be used to create forwarding tables for any underlying protocol.
The MPLS label consists of the following 4 sub-parts:
- The Label: this part is responsible for holding all of the information for MPLS routers to determine where the packet should be forwarded.
- Experimental: these bits are used for Quality of Service (QoS) to set the priority that the labeled packet should have.
- Bottom-of-Stack: this sub-part tells MPLS routers if they are the last leg of the journey and there are no more labels to be concerned with. This usually means the router is an egress router.
- Time-To-Live: This identifies how many hops the packet can make before it is discarded.
What is MPLS Circuit?
An MPLS Circuit is a virtual private network (VPN) for securely connecting two or more locations over the public Internet or a private MPLS VPN network.
MPLS circuits are used by businesses to provide reliable, secure, MPLS VPN service for applications including credit card processing, file sharing, data backup, MPLS VOIP, or remote access.
MPLS circuits can also be configured by most MPLS service providers to carry voice, Internet, and IP VPN services together as an Integrated MPLS T1 line. MPLS circuit services are also known as an MPLS Network, MPLS VPN, MPLS WAN, VPN T1, or MPLS T1.
How Does an MPLS Network Facilitate Cloud Adoption?
MPLS Network offers improved levels of connectivity and private network characteristics, keeping your critical data safe over the internet. In addition, the reliability and performance of your network are greatly enhanced.
The following are some major reasons why facilitating MPLS network into cloud adoption may be a smart strategy for your business:
Improved performance & traffic control
If you want to prioritize your many types of traffic for your selected application, MPLS allows you to do so with a concept known as class of service (CoS).
This gives you the authority to send the information you think is critical before other less critical operations. For instance, a management team’s video conference meeting will be prioritized over an employee’s large file transfer. This enables you to enhance your business’s performance and work without any lag time with mission critical tasks.
Secure & reliable
Data security is really important for businesses as it not only contains information about the business but also its employees, customers, and other important stakeholders.
With MPLS, you can improve your data recovery model in multiple ways including connecting it to the cloud which can then be connected to other key sites on the network. Even remote sites can be easily and quickly connected to backup locations, thus boosting flexibility if you want to expand your applications or cloud services.
You can customize the applications and configure your network based on your business requirement, thereby reducing your overall cost by 10%-25% when compared to traditional data services such as frame relay or ATM.
Another primary benefit of MPLS is its ability to support Quality of Service (QoS), especially if they are rolling out voice and video, thereby saving costs up to 40% network-wide.
Advantages of Using MPLS Network
As you are well aware, collecting data requires technical protocols and procedures which need to be completed in order to ensure maximum efficiency. It is necessary to have consistency in order to not lose any valuable information which may be vital for business operations.
The following are some methods of how an MPLS Network can serve as a great service for you and your business:
MPLS can save businesses up to 25% on service expenses when compared to traditional networks. An MPLS connection can considerably save money for businesses that use the same network bandwidth to transport phone, video, and digital data.
As a result, cutting costs is a huge advantage to businesses as they can use the savings elsewhere as well to improve their operations. Moreover, you can save up to 50% on ongoing WAN operational costs while maintaining high levels of dependability and service.
MPLS is extremely flexible in terms of adding and removing data according to the expansion of the business. This simplifies things for smaller businesses as they can enter data and update their network system as they add features to their business.
MPLS is a huge benefit for larger businesses, such as hospitals, financial institutions, and municipalities, that require safe, reliable, and fast data transfer.
Considering the nature of MPLS, data is transferred more efficiently since there is a minimal amount of nodes or “hops”, this results in smoother and faster data distribution which translates to better response time, a faster load time, and an increased improvement in MPLS functions.
One of the main benefits of using an MPLS connection is the assurance that your network has a lower chance of crashing or overloading because your data has several routes it can take to be transferred.
This allows for a smoother and more reliable service. This also means there is a decreased chance of lost or damaged data.
Less Hardware Usage
A major benefit in using MPLS is that it needs less hardware to transfer data. This results in time savings in setting up and maintaining the system.
MPLS has a feature known as Fast Reroute that enables traffic to be switched to an alternative path very rapidly in the event of downtime ensuring that your work and operations are running smoothly without any disruptions.
MPLS also reduces downtime by reducing the scope for human error by making it easier to set up paths across a wide area network (WAN).
Consistent Network Performance
As you know, not all network traffic is equal. For instance, some traffic is more or less urgent than others.
If your network experiences congestion, the workload and the experience of your network users does not deteriorate as the different CoS classifications are applied to packets assuring that packet loss, latency, and jitter are kept within appropriate limits.
This provides the organization the confidence to press ahead with using their network for a particular application, such as IP telephony or video conferencing.
Also, good network performance means there are fewer support calls to deal with as the network is stable.
How Does MPLS Networking Help Businesses?
As listed above, an MPLS Networking System proves to be extremely beneficial to businesses for several reasons. Scalability, performance, greater bandwidth utilization, less network congestion, and a better end-user experience are all advantages of MPLS.
MPLS Networking simplifies the administrative control of businesses and the ongoing management of their network. It also provides time and cost savings.
Addressing the topic of cost, it is important to note that in order to avoid internet local loop costs, MPLS Networking offers the option of delivering firewalled internet access from the cloud to specific facilities.
Additionally, MPLS Networking uses priority queuing which ensures that your network understands which traffic is most important and prioritizes it over other traffic.
MPLS does not provide encryption, but it is a virtual private network (VPN) that is isolated from the rest of the Internet. As a result, MPLS is regarded as a secure mode of transport. It's also immune to denial-of-service attacks, which can cripple IP-based networks.
Overall, it is evident that MPLS Networking Systems have a positive effect on businesses as it allows them to achieve a significant decrease in their costs and simplify controls.
Choosing the Best MPLS Network Service Provider In Your Area
Choosing the best MPLS Network Service Provider may not be the easiest task since every business’ needs are different.
The smooth operation of complex networks necessitates constant management. Proactive management can result in less downtime, better security, and cost savings.
Businesses must be aware of the pricing details and scope of services available under network management and monitoring services. Overall, businesses need to check whether their MPLS Provider monitors the entire network.
Comparing the Quality of Service Provided
The carrier's classes of service (COSs) must be evaluated and understood by businesses. The carrier's ability to consolidate and prioritize different types of traffic will have an impact on the Quality of Service (QoS). These COSs must meet your business requirements and the service provider's contract must clearly identify and explain these service obligations.
While the points listed above serve as a foundation for shortlisting the best MPLS network provider, other factors such as routing protocols, staff expertise, third-party partnerships, network architecture, and future scalability capabilities must also be considered.
Complete MPLS Network Security
The MPLS service provider's security capabilities must be thoroughly examined. To maintain guaranteed uptime, businesses must verify that service providers can support and monitor the entire network, as well as provide access to a specialized security infrastructure that includes professional NOC engineers.
Keep in mind your future business plans
In addition to the above, the deciding factor should be well aligned with your company's current and future needs, as well as long-term goals. After all, your MPLS Network will serve as the backbone of your company for many years.