Telecommunications networks are complex entities. They bring together a vast number of components in order to ensure that data transmission takes place smoothly. Some of the ways in which a telecom networks are deployed include:
- Telephone Systems
- Computer networks all over the world
- The Internet itself
Probably one of the biggest components of all these network is the speed with which the telecom network can route data from source to destination. There are many protocols and technologies when it comes to data switching and one such technology is MPLS Cloud or multiprotocol label switching.
What is MPLS Cloud all about?
Conventionally, data is switched along a particular path in a network using something known as long network addresses which also means following a series of complicated look ups that lie along routing table. With the MPLS technology, the long network addresses are substituted by short path labels. These labels direct data in a much more effective and quicker manner.
Each data packet is assigned a particular label and it is forwarded along the network depending on this label itself. The network thus does away with the need to go through the data packet by itself. This saves a lot of time and data consumption. When it comes to packet switched networks, MPLS can easily take care of different types of traffic.
Considering the fact that MPLS Cloud is essentially a technique, it is capable of looking after the various services such as Metro Ethernet, virtual private networks, IP VPNs and so on. Optical services can also be supported by MPLS. This is simply because, again, MPLS assigns something known as FEC or forwarding equivalence class to each data packet. The network consists of multiple routers and each router knows immediately what it should do with the data packet because it can read the FEC.
Sorting through traffic
An MPLS Cloud is also capable of handling different types of traffic in a consistent manner. This is because this technique identifies real-time traffic and sorts them out into video or audio, for instance. Some of this traffic is routed through low latency network paths. And other traffic is directed through other paths. This is something that is a very unique feature of MPLS.
What layer does MPLS belong to?
Traditionally, there are 7 layers in the network hierarchy. According to the OSI, these 7 layers are, from layer 1 to layer 7:
- Data link
- Presentation and
Interestingly, experts put the MPLS Cloud as somewhere between Layer 3 and Layer 2 that is network and data link respectively. Many a time, MPLS is referred to as a Layer 2.5 protocol. Perhaps this is also yet another measure of the effectiveness of the MPLS Cloud. Since it is isolated or separated from the various forwarding mechanisms used by the data link layer, MPLS can be used to create more effective forwarding tables or routes.
Thus, the technical aspects of MPLS make it a rather efficient and effective model when it comes to data transmission.