MPLS – Multiprotocol Label Switching

MPLS is short for Multiprotocol Label Switching.

MPLS is an IETF initiative that integrates Layer 2 information about network links (e.g. bandwidth, latency, utilization) into Layer 3 (IP) within a particular autonomous system, or ISP, in order to simplify and improve IP packet exchange. MPLS gives network operators a great deal of flexibility to divert and route traffic around link failures, congestion, and bottlenecks.

From a quality of service QoS standpoint, ISPs will better be able to manage different kinds of data streams based on priority and service plan. For instance, those who subscribe to a premium service plan, or those who receive a lot of streaming media or high-bandwidth content can see minimal latency and packet loss.

When packets enter a MPLS-based network, Label Edge Routers (LERs) give them a label (identifier). These labels not only contain information based on the routing table entry (i.e. destination, bandwidth, delay, and other metrics), but also refer to the IP header field (source IP address), Layer 4 socket number information, and differentiated service. Once this classification is complete and mapped, different packets are assigned to corresponding Labeled Switch Paths (LSPs), where Label Switch Routers (LSRs) place outgoing labels on the packets.

With these LSPs, network operators can divert and route traffic based on data-stream type and Internet-access customer.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Top Articles

The Complete List of Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

By Vangie Beal Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. Since 2011, Hotmail, in terms...

Graphics Card Definition &...

A graphics card is a computer component that produces images for a display...

What is a Data...

Data scientists are interdisciplinary experts who use a range of skills to synthesize,...

Microlearning Definition & Meaning

Microlearning is an education model in which lessons are typically delivered in condensed,...