Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

What is MPLS

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks. MPLS directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, avoiding complex lookups in a routing table. The labels identify virtual links (paths) between distant nodes rather than endpoints. MPLS can handle packets of various network protocols (hence "multiprotocol" in its name). MPLS supports a range of access technologies, including T1/E1, ATM, Frame Relay, and DSL.

MPLS generally offers excellent quality of service when it comes to avoiding packet loss and keeping a business’s most important traffic flowing. This reliability is especially important for maintaining the quality of real-time protocols such as Voice Over IP (VOIP). MPLS also allows providers to assign a higher priority to certain network traffic, which enables more efficient and productive bandwidth utilization.

One downside of MPLS is bandwidth cost. Today’s consumers are increasingly interested in bandwidth-hogging multimedia content such as videos and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), and the high per-megabit cost that MPLS demands can be out of reach.

Why MPLS is important

With distributed networks, remote users, and cloud-based applications, it is critical to provide users with reliable and secure Internet connectivity. An MPLS architecture is a very expensive solution to the problem of reliable connectivity, though it does not address the additional problem of data protection. If implemented incorrectly, it can actually expose the network to hackers.

A more cost-effective solution is to use an SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) to provide link pooling, failover, and routing capabilities that ensure all users have reliable, fast Internet connections. To secure these connections, you then need to add network firewalls to all locations. The simplest and more cost-effective solution would be to use technology that combines SD-WAN and firewall functionality into a single package.

How Barracuda can help

The Barracuda NextGen Firewall combines the features of an on-premises firewall, cloud firewall, and SD-WAN into a single solution that can replace much more expensive and complex MPLS-based solutions. By effectively delivering the benefits of MPLS over multiple low-cost lines, these capabilities reduce your need for expensive leased lines, consolidate multiple security functions into a single device, and create a unified management framework—all of which results in significant cost savings for your organization. MPLS Savings Calculator to discover how much your organization can save using a Barracuda firewall instead of an MPLS.

Barracuda NextGen Firewalls provide a comprehensive set of advanced security features with capabilities that support the Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN). SD-WAN capabilities allow NextGen Firewalls to create secure pathways across both multiple WAN connections and multiple carriers, without the involvement of typical high-management overhead. Advanced load-sharing lets you use multiple WAN connections simultaneously and distribute encrypted VPN tunnels across multiple WAN connections. Built-in compression, caching, and WAN optimization technologies significantly increase your available bandwidth.

Learn More

Learn More about how to minimize MPLS costs and increase your network security with Barracuda NextGen Firewalls.