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MPLS Network Services For Your Business
All about MPLS networks and how they can help you cost effectively link multiple business locations

By: John Shepler

MPLS, Multi Protocol Label Switching, is a fairly new type of network service that is growing in importance. It is often touted as the future of telecommunications. Let's have a look at why that might be so and how it can benefit your business applications.

The idea behind MPLS is in the name. The "multi protocol" part means that this is a network designed to transport many types of network protocols. The Internet is not multi-protocol. It's based on IP or Internet Protocol. If you want to send something through the internet it has to meet the IP specs.

The PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network is also not "multi-protocol" It's based on TDM or Time Division Multiplexing. TDM creates small 64Kbps channels originally designed for digitized telephone calls. Anything else sent through the PSTN has to fit in one or more of those channels. That's true for even the highest speed SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) fiber optic services.

Certainly, we use both the Internet and the PSTN to transport everything from telephone conversations to high definition video. This is done by converting between protocols. Just about anything digital can be sent through any digital network. But there is a price to be paid in equipment cost, time delay or latency, and inefficiency for each of those conversions.

MPLS networks are based on something called label switching. That's the LS in MPLS. Data packets entering a MPLS network are assigned labels that where they are to be routed and the QoS or Quality of Service required. Voice or interactive video packets are time sensitive and sensitive to QoS. General data transfers are not so sensitive to latency and jitter.

The traffic engineering aspect of MPLS networks make them superior to using the Internet for time sensitive applications. An MPLS network is good for transporting telephone calls, video, data transfers, encrypted information and interactive data. Everything enteres through an ingress router that assigns it one or more tags. Everything leaves through an egress router that removes the tags. While traversing the network, only the tags are examined by the tag routers. The original packets themselves do not need to be inspected because everything the network needs to function is defined in the tags themselves.

MPLS networks are especially good for companies and other organizations with multiple locations. The network cloud can provide a mesh network where any locationcan talk to any other location. Or you can define who gets to connect to who. It's almost like having your own private network, but a lot cheaper. The service provider ensures that you get the bandwidth and connections you need to ensure that other users will not impact the performance of your service.

There are many competitive telecom service providers offering MPLS network services in competition to thetraditional telcos. How do you find them? The easy way is to use a telecom brokerage service that represents a dozen or more carriers, so you can get the best price for the network services that meet your needs. We make that quick and easy for you through our affiliation with Telarus, Inc., the premier telecom broker with expertise in national and international MPLS network services.

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