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MPLS Services, T1 Lines, Multi Protocol Label Switching, DS1 Voice, Data, Video Packet, P2P and Packet Prioritization

The concept for MPLS was originally created by a group of engineers but had some flaws because it relied on ATM or Asynchronous Transfer Mode to pass packets limiting the types of protocols that could be sent. After being denied, another company stepped in and proposed a similar technology that did not rely on ATM and were approved. The technology was then sent to the IETF or Internet Engineering Task Force for further processing.

Once the IETF took it in they added other technologies offered by similar companies and the end result was label switching. This new system has started replacing the systems of old where the network had to inspect the entire packet before sending it on its way. The major drawback to the original system is that multiple packets with multiple protocols had to be sent over many different paths.

With this new technology, multiple protocols can be sent down a single VPN tunnel. The reason for this is that the new system only looks at the packets label and not what is in it, so it can travel through any tunnel. This removes the need for additional tunnels to accommodate additional protocols and levels of the OSI table.

In order to make use of this new packet transferring technology, new hardware was required and is available in the form of LER and LSR devices. These devices are commonly known as a Label Edge Router and a Label Switch Router. The LER is installed at each end of the tunnel and accepts and removes packet labels, the LSR is used to route packets between destinations.

When a packet enters the multiprotocol network it is passed to an LER and is provided with a label. The packet is then sent to the LSR where the label is checked and replaced with a new label before moving on to its next destination. Upon leaving the network an LER removes any existing labels and then forwards the packet on.

In some cases a packet may have a label already when it reaches the edge router, so at that point a secondary label is added. The label Distribution Protocol is used to send labels to both LER and LSR devices in order to create a map of the network so they know where to send the packet. This allows for less lost packets and faster delivery because each packet does not need to be completely scanned.

Another plus to using this new technology is downtime regarding VoIP applications. In the original designs when the mechanisms were using an IP layer protocol, the recovery time was several seconds. The new protocol however is designed for running in real time and does not allow the path to go down for any more than 50 milliseconds thus making it more stable and desired.

MPLS is quickly becoming the future for the telecommunications industry and is said to be replacing all forms of packet transfer in the future. With this technology the transfer rates and successes are only climbing and this is very good since the world relies on computer networking. There are so many applications and networks running today, that having a solid way of passing information quickly and precisely will help to improve communications everywhere.

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