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What is MPLS?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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MPLS refers to the technological operation that is more properly known as multi-protocol label switching. Essentially, MPLS is an operating scheme that is used to speed up the flow of traffic on a network by making better use of available network paths. The main thrust of the idea is to define or designate the proper path for each function so that the opportunity for bottlenecks within the network are minimized.

The concept of MPLS was the brainchild of the Internet Engineering Task Force, or IETF. As the need for handling more traffic on networks connected to the Internet became apparent, the concept of establishing labels in packets that would control the flow and destination of data was understood to be a solution to the issue. MPLS made good use of the existing technology and has continued to be refined as use of the World Wide Web has continued to grow.

MPLS plays a major role in keeping the networks of big businesses running smoothly today. The labeling process involves setting the criteria for information retrieval, sometimes determined by an IP address. The data is then directed through routers that have been pre-determined by the label switching. As a final step, the data is delivered to the end location. This entire process is completed in less than a few seconds, when the system is working at maximum efficiency.

The implementation of MPLS protocols also help make it possible to run different types of traffic on the same network, such as the ability to carry data, audio, and video at the same time. MPLS technology also makes it possible to restore data faster after a network failure takes place, even if there is not a backup server involved in the overall network design. Overall, MPLS is an essential traffic management tool that becomes increasingly important as the Internet is used for more communication applications.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon309164 — On Dec 14, 2012

Is MPLS an alternative for downtime?

By anon160785 — On Mar 17, 2011

Thanks a lot. Today i read another important technical article that helps me a lot. --Jordan, Tanzania

By anon78760 — On Apr 20, 2010

hey thank you so much for this information. I get all the information in this site. thanks once again. jagdish d., from india

By anon75396 — On Apr 06, 2010

nice overview. today I read another technical overview that may help.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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