There’s an awful lot of technical terms and jargon that can be hard to understand for anyone who isn’t fully clued up when it comes to IT and networking. However, MPLS is a term which has many benefits to getting your head around.
To help you out, we’ll give you a super simple look at what MPLS is, and what advantages it can have for a business. Read on to begin your introduction to this amazing tech!
MPLS – what does it mean?
Multi-Protocol Label Switching is most commonly mentioned when people are discussing ‘connections’. It’s not related to connecting your IT network to the wider internet though. Instead, it concerns the data that is already traveling through the connections within your network – MPLS is a technique for managing that data.
In a network, the connected devices communicate with each other using languages known as protocols. MPLS can manage data regardless of the protocol each of your devices use to communicate – hence ‘Multi-Protocol’. All the data traversing your network is given a tiny additional piece of data known as a ‘Label’ – which is used by a Label ‘Switch’ Router to identify and handle the data accordingly.
As we mentioned, MPLS helps manage the data on your network. It doesn’t matter what protocol your devices use – the data will be efficiently dealt with and sent through your network, based on the priority given by its label. MPLS also allows the priority of the data, and the route it takes through your network, to be dynamically changed, which can have a number of useful effects – let’s get into these advantages next!
How does MPLS help businesses?
With a basic understanding of MPLS under your belt, it’s now time to get into the good part – it’s time to find out what MPLS can really do to help out your business. Understanding these benefits can be crucial in helping you to decide whether to implement MPLS.
Increase the efficiency of your network
MPLS’s impressive data management techniques can result in your network becoming much more streamlined. This is largely because of the way it lets you dynamically alter the pathways and priority of traffic. If you need to make sure that your applications and systems which are vital to the functioning of your business stay online, MPLS allows you to borrow some bandwidth from traffic of a lower priority.
Reduce the amount downtime you suffer from
Downtime can really get in the way of a business fulfilling its potential. Busy networks, with many individuals working on them at once, have a much higher risk of an issue being caused by simple human error – which can result in downtime. The best way to reduce this risk of human error occurring is to reduce how many people have to work on your network to fix its issues. MPLS increases the efficiency and simplicity of a network, meaning it needs far less people working on it to keep the peace. This can result in much less downtime!
Speed up the expansion of your network
It used to be the case that if a business was interested in expanding their network, they’d need to set up ‘tunnels’ to keep data safe as it travels from site to site. MPLS means this is no longer necessary – it’s designed to allow your data to traverse your network quickly and safely.
Improve user experience
A network which is plagued by poor performance can really affect the experience of end-users and customers who make use of cloud-based applications. MPLS, with its data managing capabilities, helps keep your crucial apps online when you need them most, meaning your customers and end-users receive a great experience. MPLS also helps stop data from being lost – this can possibly happen if your data needs to be dropped so connection can be maintained.
Keep your network simple
Imagine two separate locations, linked to one another by a huge ethernet cable running between them. In a way, MPLS is a similar concept, in that it allows data to be sent between locations at great speed, according to its priority. The result of this is that your network is kept neat, as everything gets where it needs to be with no trouble. One of the effects of having a much simplified network, there are far less variables that must be taken into consideration when it comes to figuring out issues and problems.
Make your network faster
You’re probably aware of the effect that network congestion can have on a busy business – the hold up can really cause problems. The chance of congestion occurring is magnified if your network handles multiple types of traffic. MPLS once again can save the day, by sending your data down non-standard routes – this can really reduce the risk of congestion.
MPLS – is it right for your business?
Hopefully this quick look at some of the great benefits implementing MPLS can have for a business has helped you figure out whether or not it’s the right choice. If you’re still not certain, don’t fret – there are a few easy questions you can ask yourself to help make that choice:
- Would your business benefit from being able to expand with speed?
- Do you suffer from downtime, and want to reduce the amount you experience?
- Does your network deal with a variety of different types of data?
- Does your network ever suffer from congestion?
Carefully consider your answer to those questions. Did you answer ‘yes’ to even one of them? If you did – there’s a good chance that implementing MPLS would be a great decision for your business.
Finally, it’s worth considering that MPLS isn’t the cheapest option. However, you can make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by carefully looking into different providers in order to work out whether they’ll give you what you need. Asking your in-house IT department – or Managed Service Provider if you use one – is a great way of finding out what your business needs, and whether any potential provider will give it to you.