What Does MPLS Stand For?
MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Switching Network. MPLS networks are privately owned "cloud" networks that use special tag switches and routers rather than IP addressing to determine source and destination. The multi-protocol aspect means that nearly any data protocol can be transported, making MPLS networks highly versatile.
What are Typical Classes of Service?
Class of Services or CoS is established in MPLS networks to ensure the performance of each packet on the network. CoS classes include real time for voice and video, mission critical for time sensitive applications such as transaction processing, business critical for applications such as database access, and data for lower priority traffic that isn't time sensitive.
Don't Frame Relay Networks Do The Same Thing as MPLS Networks?
They used to in a simpler way. Frame relay networks use small ATM cells rather than the modern IP network cores of MPLS networks, so they tend to be less efficient. Most carriers are shutting down their Frame Relay networks since the rise of MPLS. The newer MPLS networks tend to be designed for higher speeds to match today's business bandwidth needs.
Can MPLS Offer VPN Services?
MPLS networks are inherently virtually private because they are a privately operated network that can only be accessed by network customers. Security is enhanced by proprietary tag switching routers that don't use standard IP routing. Encryption can be added to further improve data security.
MPLS Network Speeds
MPLS networks can run at any network speed and are being adopted by major carriers as the multipoint to multipoint technology of choice. For this reason, MPLS is fast replacing Frame Relay.