What is MPLS and How Do You Find a Good Provider?

Charlotte Miller

What is MPLS and How Do You Find a Good Provider?

You may believe that your business IT network has reached its limits – but this might not be the case. There’s a good chance that whatever stage your business is at, you’d receive a boost from MPLS.

MPLS is a system for managing the data that traverses your network. It has benefits such as simplifying your infrastructure, and improving network speeds. However, in order to decide whether or not to implement it in your business, you’ll need further information.

Luckily, we’re here to give you just that. We’ve put together a look at what MPLS actually does, some more of its benefits, and some insight into how to find the right provider. Read on to find out more!

MPLS – What is it?

Let’s start by explaining the acronym. MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching.

Devices on a network communicate using protocols – these are like languages. ‘Multi-Protocol’ refers to the fact that MPLS can be used regardless of the protocol your devices use. As data passes through an MPLS network, it’s given a ‘Label’, a small piece of extra data. ‘Switching’ comes from how a ‘Label Switch Router’ (LSR) identifies data, and sends it down the most efficient path depending on its Label. The route data is sent down can be changed based on its priority.

This is all in an effort to make your network more organised. MPLS cuts through the chaos of all the data travelling your network, helping it be delivered successfully and on-time.

The advantages of using MPLS

So now you have a basic explanation of how MPLS does what it does. Here’s a closer look at what advantages MPLS can bring to businesses:

Higher efficiency

Since MPLS lets the destination and priority of data to be changed on the fly, data can still get where it needs to be if an issue arises. Your network’s bandwidth is being monitored at all times, meaning excess bandwidth can be used to help out other data if and when it is required. If you ever suffer from periods of time when your network is strained – such as when different offices or shifts log on – this can be a huge bonus, as the experience of your customer and end-users won’t be affected.

Improved speeds

IT networks can be very busy, and congestion of data can be common. MPLS helps prevent data from getting congested due to the way it allows all kinds of different data to be given varying routes through your network.

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Detangled infrastructure

Connections in an MPLS network work almost as if there was an extremely long ethernet cable linking the locations together. This is a bit of a simplified way of looking at it, but it’s essentially very similar – connections between locations which are straightforward, and not affected by however complex your wider network may be. This is great for when IT workers need to perform maintenance on the network, as the simplicity of the connections makes things much easier to understand and look at.

Increased uptime

In a simplified network where IT workers can easily address any issues and problems which may occur, your network and its applications will experience far more uptime – that is, time spent online and usable. Reducing downtime is crucial, as the amount of money it can cost a business can be very large. Luckily, MPLS means you won’t have to worry about that.

Improved user experience

It’s incredibly common nowadays for businesses to make use of applications which are stored centrally, as well as cloud-based apps. However, these applications can be seriously affected by a poorly performing network, which can really interfere with the quality of service provided to your customers and end-users. MPLS, with it’s switching technique, apps can stay online when they really need to, as the necessary data can be sent down the most efficient route – this all adds up to a much better user experience.

Is MPLS the right choice?

At this point, MPLS may sound like a tempting choice. If you have any doubts, it’s worth considering your answers to a few questions. Do you experience a lot of downtime, or irritating congestion? Does your business make use of voice and data? Does your network make use of various kinds of data, which all utilise the same connections? Chances are, if you answered ‘yes’ to any of those, MPLS might be an ideal solution for your business.

How to find the right provider of MPLS

Now you’ve considered it, you may have concluded that MPLS would be a good fit for your business. If that’s the case, now you need to find a provider that suits you.

Sometimes, finding a company which perfectly suits all your needs can be tricky. Many companies may offer you a ready-made solution, and while this can be of use, the ideal provider will want to take some time communicating with you and your business in order to come up with a solution that works the best, and is exactly what you’re looking for.

The best MPLS providers are able to assess your needs alongside your working processes and the experiences your end users expect – all the while, thinking about these things in terms of your network infrastructure. They’ll also be considering all of that whilst respecting how much time you have to implement changes, especially if your business isn’t fully set up yet. Not to mention, any provider also needs to be good at communicating, and work well alongside you.

This may sound like a lot, but there really are a lot of providers who can achieve all this. If you’re ready to look for them, you could get started by asking businesses similar to yours if they’ve implemented MPLS. They may recommend a company which would be fantastically suited to what you need, ready and waiting to help give your business the boost which could make all the difference.

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