Layer 2 VPN

What Does Layer 2 VPN Mean?

Layer 2 VPN is a type of VPN mode that is built and delivered on OSI layer 2 networking technologies.

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The entire communication from the core VPN infrastructure is forwarded in a layer 2 format on a layer 3/IP network and is converted back to layer 2 mode at the receiving end.

Techopedia Explains Layer 2 VPN

Layer 2 VPN typically utilizes MPLS-based labels to send data to layer 3 or network edge routers from the are transmission site to the destination node. The edge router selects the appropriate path and transmits the data in a layer 3 or IP packet form. If the destination VPN infrastructure utilizes layer 2 technologies, the data is converted back to layer mode. However, if it utilizes layer 3 mode, there is no need for conversion. Layer 2 VPN is typically used by VPN service providers or ISPs that utilize layer 2 networking technologies within their core infrastructure. These technologies include ATM, frame relay and others.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.