The Future of MPLS

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MPLS-schemeThere are many different forms of technology that we may use on a daily basis but we don’t give them much consideration. One of the more successful technologies that have been used in the past decade is multiprotocol label switching (MLSP). This is a form of technology that is used within telecommunication networks and passes information from one network node to another (Source: aryaka.com). It is able to do so quickly because it passes the information along shorter paths rather than looking up each passage in a routing table.

Although this technology may seem stagnant to most of us who use the Internet, it is actually one that is constantly in motion. As a matter of fact, there are changes that take place on a regular basis within MLSP technology that can help to speed up the Internet, providing benefits to businesses and individual users. What are some of the changes that may take place in this protocol that will provide additional benefits to us?

Integrating with transport profile

One of the changes that is taking place behind the scenes comes in the form of the MPLS transport profile, or MPLS-TP. Standard MPLS does not provide the control transport service operators need to leverage their network, unlike the capabilities that MPLS-TP provide. With MPLS-TP, transport service operators can easily access the Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) that is crucial to properly manage their vast complex network.

This is actually an expansion of the protocol which is specifically tailored for transport and optical networks. Although it is very similar to MPLS, it takes advantage of fast reroute and Quality of Service, which help to speed up the transfer of information (Source: networkworld.com).

Integrating with IPv6 networks

One other change that will be of benefit is the way that MPLS integrates with IPv6 networks and how it will integrate with 4G wireless Long Term Evolution technology. Although less than one percent of the Internet traffic occurs through IPv6, it is something that is going to increase as Internet usage continues to grow. As Internet service providers continue to run out of IPv4 addresses, the integration of MPLS with IPv6 will help to keep things running smoothly.

Integrating with LTE technology

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a think tank that seek to improve the internet architecture, also see the potential of integrating MPLS with LTE technology as a backhaul for mobile devices. LTE is an IP-based mobile data technology that is a perfect fit for MPLS and is an ideal technology to use for 4G mobile backhaul. Although, integrating MPLS with LTE network can be quite a challenge, it has the potential to provide great benefits for voice and video streaming technology as well as be a major asset to LTE service quality.

Although MPLS technology is not often considered by the end-user, it is something that is constantly running in the background. Due to the way that the Internet and our usage of this global network continue to change, this technology will continue to change along with it.

Maxwell Pierce is a leading strategist in the IT industry having taken part in various complex projects for global enterprises over the course of his 10 year career.

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