An MPLS VPN is by far one of the most popular options for companies which need to connect up over multiple locations, for example, large companies. MPLS VPN stands for a Multi Protocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network. Like most other VPNs it is incredibly secure and has a number of different benefits associated with using this, although of course it is a much more expensive protocol to implement.
An MPLS VPN is built on top of a MPLS Network. This enables connections to be made between two locations. One thing to bear in mind here is that a MPLS VPN is completely different from a standard virtual private network in the fact that it doesn’t actually offer encryption this is because the intention is that every user is on their own private network. Nonetheless, you can opt for extra encryption if you see fit.
So what is the difference between a VPN and a MPLS VPN Service?
Well, with a traditional VPN service a one to one link is created between two points on the network. If you are attempting to run a VPN over a business network then it can add latency as a piece of data would need to pass through two different tunnels. The first will be to reach the main area which the data is going to, the second to go to the final destination. In addition to this, it is going to consume a lot of bandwidth to handle data from a number of different locations.
On the other hand, an MPLS VPN service is designed to be multipoint. This means that when data is sent it is looked up in a routing table before it is sent to the next routing location. This ultimately causes less latency between data transfers. It works pretty much like a leased line, albeit on a much cheaper scale.
There are two main options for an MPLS VPN offered by the service providers. To start with you have the most popular known as Layer 3, or an IP based network. This is the most scalable option out of the two and relies on the Service Providers routers to act as the backbone to the service. The second option is Layer 2 which allows a company to take control of their own data and ultimately it is the more secure of the options, albeit much slower and harder to ‘upgrade’.
The main reason why companies opt for an MPLS VPN is down to the fact that they are easy to deploy and have high performance. As an MPLS VPN is on a private network the data does not need to be encrypted in the same was as a VPN and thus the data transfer is much quicker. The downside however is that this is a managed service so you need to trust your service provider which means you have to work to their time scale should any changes need to be made.
One final thing you will need to bear in mind is that if you are searching for a MPLS VPN Service Provider then make sure you choose well and find out all relevant information about that particular company first. The reason for this is that an MPLS VPN will be very difficult to change once you have it up and running, and that is just going to work out expensive if you choose a provider which simply does not know how to run this type of technology properly.