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This chapter is from the book

The Promise of MPLS

The promise of MPLS is the benefits it will bring to the current and future Internet architecture. The top ten MPLS benefits are summarized in Table 1–1.

Table 1–1 The Promise of MPLS Top Ten List



  1. Scalability

With the ever-increasing demand for more bandwidth for Internet usage from users and the increased access requirements from "last time" technologies such as DSL and cable modems, wireless, and so on, MPLS may prove a scalable technology to keep abreast of bandwidth requirements for the Internet.

  1. New applications

With the ever-increasing demand for new IP-based applications such as QoS, TE, path restoral, and VPNs, MPLS will leverage the Internet services of data, voice, and video to deliver robust and cost-effective solutions. MPLS is also flexible enough to provide support for new applications as they arise.

  1. Standards-based

MPLS is a standards-based IETF specification developed by the MPLS WG. MPLS interoperates as part of the TCP/IP protocol suite with various signaling and label distribution protocols, SNMP management, and other standard IETF protocols.

  1. Complements installed routing base

MPLS complements existing routing and builds on what is already there—no "forklift" replacement of existing router infrastructure is required. MPLS uses a number of label distribution and signaling techniques and protocols. MPLS gives "new life" to the Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP), uses LDP developed from scratch, and works with conventional routing algorithms such as the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).

  1. Complements installed switching base

MPLS works with ATM and IP/ATM overlay networks, FR, Ethernet, PPP, SONET, and others.

  1. Elegant, efficient, and extensible design

MPLS separates the control and forwarding functions. It offers an elegant evolutionary path to include new innovations and technology directions: voice over MPLS, multicast, label swapping in silicon (ASICs and FPGAs), etc. MPLS is an extensible solution that includes GMPLS to offer label swapping to new optical technologies.

  1. New Internet services

MPLS is the enabling technology that will accommodate new advances in Internet services such as data, voice, and video.

  1. Pivotal role in optical networking

MPLS may be the "glue" for the new optical world: GMPLS. MPLS progresses beyond ATM's limitations, but includes ATM's best features. MPLS fits well with next-generation terabit routers, core backbone switches, and other new devices. MPLS will end the need for overlay networks as optical networks are deployed.

  1. Reliability

MPLS offers fast restoral for telecommunications-like robustness akin to the Automatic Protection Switching (APS) feature found in SONET. MPLS is designed to handle many failure scenarios for both node and link failure types.

  1. Top vendor and NSP/ISP support

MPLS is backed and being implemented by the top vendors in the network industry. It is enjoying initial success from ISP and service provider deployment at many levels.

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