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This chapter is from the book

The Promise of the Promise of MPLS

MPLS is enjoying great initial success as it begins to be deployed in several service provider networks as a new Internet transport technology. While MPLS will never be a host-to-host solution, it offers an enabling technology for delivering new Internet applications that would not be possible with just current IP routing or other networking technologies such as ATM. MPLS is not faster than IP prefix lookup due to advances in hardware technology such as ASICs and FPGAs; therefore, its promise as purely a performance enhancement to conventional routing has not proven true. However, in its current incarnation, MPLS is closely wedded to current IP technology and all of the major Layer 2 protocols. The flexibility, simplicity, and control that MPLS offers make it so appealing that it just may find a place in the set of technologies that operate the Internet, especially at the core. Current investigation also involves the feasibility of future MPLS-only network devices.

This introduction to MPLS serves as a starting point to the many associated topics that are included in this area. The remainder of this book will cover Internet technology background, specifications and supporting documentation, MPLS core technologies and protocols, label signaling and distribution, MPLS applications, network management, current and future MPLS developments, and a sample of implementers using MPLS and developing products for it.

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