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Understanding Basic MPLS Configuration Drives Better Business Communications

Understanding basic MPLS configuration is key to defining success for any enterprise's business communications system. MPLS brings speed and efficiency to how your enterprise handles its incoming data. While the intricacies of this technology — which is now at the root of robust user experiences — are complex, the underlying idea isn't hard to grasp.

workers discuss basic MPLS configuration in front of a computer
Understanding basic MPLS configuration is key to defining success for any enterprise's business communications system.

For IT leaders looking to convey the importance of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to enterprise decision-makers — stakeholders who are, presumably, not computer scientists — the following approaches will open the door to understanding the technology's benefits, moving discussions forward and putting a spotlight on why MPLS matters to enterprise operations.

Basic MPLS Configuration: Mastering the Concept, Leveraging Advantages

MPLS drives better experiences. As Network World notes, however, the inner workings of the technology are a jargonist's dream. Unless you're presenting to a room of information technology enthusiasts, steering clear of "RIBs" and "label lookups" and "switched fabric" references is probably helpful.

When it comes to your enterprise's incoming data, you can count on one thing: Eventually, all of it gets sorted. The key to a robust user experience is often as simple as ensuring data-sorting happens in an optimal manner.

The advantages of MPLS include efficiency, reliability, and consistency, plus the ability within the enterprise business communications system to adapt and evolve as bandwidth and demands around user experience change.

The easiest way to approach MPLS basics is to think about the approach in a familiar way: Consider MPLS to be your enterprise's post office.

  • Data arrives in packets, similar to boxes full of mail. Just like a carton or an envelope, the primary part of each packet is the content that's intended for the recipient.
  • In addition to the packet's content, there is least one layer of information that supplies a packet's destination address and other instructions to the systems through which it travels. You can think of this as being similar to a packing slip.

Consider how a post office sorts its incoming mail. Workers could spend an enormous amount of time peeling open packing slips and rooting around for the details needed to get the mail to where it's going. But a better approach is to give every box, carton, and envelope a label that supplies content and destination information at a glance. That's pretty much how multiprotocol label switching works. To speed up the process, MPLS "wraps" packets in these helpful labels, ranking the packets' priority and highlighting which ones need to be bumped to the head of the line.

The MPLS "wrapper" is a bit like the customs department for mail and other complicated information that can come with it that doesn't originate from the same country or region. No matter what the content type, no matter where the packet started its journey, or what "language" was used at the beginning, MPLS makes it simple for business communications systems to move data forward and get packets to their waiting recipients.

So how does an enterprise access MPLS? The most common scenario is that a telecommunication provider builds a private MPLS network and offers customers a circuit so they can plug in and start leveraging the benefits. Once they've got started with that, enterprises need to know the benefits of MPLS in detail, and why having them will make a difference in your communications portfolio.

Enterprise Benefits: Why MPLS Matters

The advantages of MPLS include efficiency, reliability, and consistency, plus the ability within the enterprise business communications system to adapt and evolve as bandwidth and demands around user experience change.

Quality of service (QoS) is the first factor in play. The basic MPLS configuration environment means less latency, an end to jitters, and packet-loss control that other systems can't match. MPLS is a responsive technology solution that boosts QoS and productivity by delivering consistent and scalable performance across voice, video, shared and collaborative documents, and all the apps your company deploys.

Scalability is part of the equation, too. Because the network is largely off-site and virtualized, the ability to match enterprise growth is free of the expenses that come with hardware scale-out and maintenance. In the end, if ROI is tied to the productivity and innovation that a given decision and/or system can bring to enterprise's day-to-day performance, then MPLS is an ROI-driver. Understanding the basics of the system opens a vista onto bringing the solution into planning cycles — unlocking the results that MPLS promises, one packet at a time.

Ready to learn more and explore the potential of multiprotocol label switching solutions? Connect with Vonage Business to learn more about how a basic MPLS configuration can empower your enterprise.

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