MPLS Benefits and Advantages, Network Engineers should understand MPLS. In this post, we will look at what are the benefits of deploying MPLS in the Network, and the advantages of having MPLS-enabled infrastructure. MPLS is Multi-Protocol Label Switching as you might know already. Multi-Protocol because we can carry many different types of traffic over MPLS.
MPLS is Multi-Protocol Technology
Layer 2 and Layer 3 network traffic Ethernet, Frame Frame-Relay, ATM, TDM different types of traffic was carried over MPLS. Because it provides an abstraction layer for the protocols, it is possible to carry many different types of traffic that couldn't be possible with other technologies easily.
MPLS is a Scalable Protocol
If we talk about MPLS benefits, probably one of the most important ones would be MPLS Scalability. There is a popular belief that MPLS was invented because the packet processing resource requirement and lookup speed are faster with MPLS, compare to IP destination-based lookup.
Because MPLS is just a switching operation on the Mid-Label Switch Routers - LSR, and MPLS Label is 20 bits long, compared to IP which is 32 bits long with IPv4 and 128 bits long with IPv6, MPLS was considered a better performance protocol, thus allows to grow, without adding extra device resources.
MPLS has many Applications/Use Cases
One of the main advantages of MPLS is it has many different use cases and services. Ina Minei went through these services in his MPLS Enabled Applications book.
Figure - MPLS Enabled Applications MPLS Layer 2 based VPNs, LDP and BGP based, then MPLS Layer 2 VPN with EVPN, Classical EVPN for both Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs, 2457-based MPLS Layer 3 VPN, Carrier Supporting Carrier, Seamless/Unified MPLS, Segment Routing, Inter-AS MPLS VPNs, GMPLS, RSVP based MPLS for Traffic Engineering, RSVP-TE FRR, SRTE and Topology Independent Loop-Free Alternate, and the list goes on.
All of the above architectures, services, and frameworks work because the underlying mechanism is MPLS. Some of them can work with other mechanisms as well but could it be secure as MPLS'?. Could they be scalable as MPLS?. Are they Multi-Protocol?.
MPLS can provide Fast Reroute
One of the MPLS benefits can be considered Fast Reroute. Fast Network Convergence is a very critical and desired behavior as of 2022 by almost any type of Network and Fast Reroute as one of the data plane protection techniques, can provide 50 ms. convergence time. This can be possible with MPLS technologies such as RSVP and Segment routing.
MPLS can support Constrained-based Explicit Routing
By using RSVP and Segment Routing with Path Computation Element (PCE), MPLS can support explicit, constrained-based routing. Meaning, that on the head-end router, the entire path can be defined with the user/network administrator constraint. You can request, 100Mb LSP between Point A and Point B, maybe based on time of the day, etc.
Many different types of constrained can be defined and these are not again easily, in a scalable way possible with other technologies. Although there are many other MPLS benefits, to keep the short post, I will end the post here, but please check the other posts on the website as we have thousands of them and many also in MPLS topics.
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