Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is a mechanism used within computer network infrastructures to speed up the time it takes a data packet to flow from one node to another. It enables computer networks to be faster and easier to manage by using short path labels instead of long network addresses for routing network packets.
MPLS primarily implements and uses labels for making routing decisions. The label-based switching mechanism enables the network packets to flow on any protocol. MPLS operates by assigning a unique label or identifier to each network packet. The label consists of the routing table information, such as the destination IP address, bandwidth and other factors as well as source IP and socket information. The router can refer only to the label to make the routing decision rather than looking into the packet. MPLS supports IP, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), frame relay, Synchronous Optical Networking (SONET) and Ethernet-based networks. MPLS is designed to be used on both packet-switched networks and circuit-switched networks.