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.
How MPLS Replaces Frame Relay Networks
Frame relay has been a popular private WAN networking service to link multiple locations. MPLS is the replacement service that offers more flexibility, higher bandwidth and lower costs.
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 Configurations
The MPLS network can be thought of as a cloud that is accessible from many locations. Your service can be set up for a single point to point connection, a hub and spoke replacement for central offices serving many remote locations, or a fully meshed network where any site can communicate with any other site.