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Conclusion

MPLS is a vast topic! As we’ve seen, it provides an effective design palette of technologies and protocols to solve the most pressing network-design problems. By stripping out legacy Layer 2 elements, it becomes possible to simplify the network and its operation. On one hand, this approach pushes complexity into the provider network, but this is ameliorated by the essential simplicity of MPLS! The big improvement that MPLS brings to the networking arena is the consistency of its models—Layer 2/3 VPNs use two MPLS labels to transport traffic from site to site. The top label is used to get the traffic through the core, and the inner label is used to push the traffic into the destination VPN.

The DiffServ model can now be applied to MPLS networks—a further link in the chain that joins IP to the MPLS area. This allows for value to be added in the customer-to-provider network link.

SLAs provide a compelling business case for MPLS network provision. The elements of SLAs can be delivered by simply leveraging the core MPLS technology components. Further provider value can be added by allowing customer real-time visibility of the SLA.

By simplifying the network model, the provider can obtain useful advantages that help contain costs and improve revenue flows. This in turn can feed into better levels of service, more products, and potentially happier customers.

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