Wide Area Networks (WAN) can be implemented using a variety of technologies, namely MPLS, P2P, VPN over Broadband and VSAT, among others. Multi-Protocol Label Switching or MPLS is a technology that works by appending labels to packets, which in turn make data forwarding decisions. MPLS has over the years, become the preferred choice, especially for SMBs, due to the many benefits of MPLS network services. Some of the benefits are as below.
- Cost Effectiveness: MPLS services are generally cheaper to set up, than competing WAN technologies such as ATM and Frame Relay. The cost applies to the network configuration, and the mix of applications such as data, video, and voice traffic. Interestingly, the cost savings on an MPLS network increases, with number of applications. In addition, an MPLS network requires only one link per branch, and is therefore, more affordable to expand, and simplifies the instantaneous deletion or addition of sites.
- Quality of Service: One of the main benefits of MPLS network services is that, it supports QoS. As such, you are able to engineer traffic in such a way that, the packets that are sensitive to real time delay can be sent via a shorter or higher priority path, or a path that is not congested. On the other hand, other data that is not time-sensitive can be sent via low priority channels. This feature makes MPLS suitable for deploying multi-cast traffic, voice, and video services.
- Network Redundancy: The core of an MPLS network is designed in such a way that, it connects all sites to the data center, and subsequently to the cloud, via multiple redundant links. For this reason, the network can overcome line disconnections, as well as malfunctions of individual routers or hardware. In case of a fault, data within the affected link is re-routed using the next best path. This makes MPLS suitable for backup and disaster recovery solutions.
- Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation: With an MPLS network, you are able to allocate bandwidth dynamically. This is important for service providers that wish to offer bandwidth on demand, as it gives them the ability to limit bandwidth, manage various parameters, and dedicate bandwidth for critical applications.
- Performance: The other benefits of MPLS network services are that it supports Protocol Independent forwarding, and thus any-to-any connections. As such, the number of “hops” that packets travel are reduced, hence faster response times and improved overall performance of your applications.
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