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Multiprotocol Label Switching

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Do you think Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) will be continually successful in the future? What could the replacement technology?

In the nearest future, MPLS will retain its positions as the leading WAN (Wide Area Network) technology. The MPLS speed, traffic engineering approach, and routing specifics make it an indispensable solution for core networks and service providers’ backbone. Closest competitors include the Metro Ethernet and SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) technology. The Metro Ethernet could be more attractive in large cities due to its rather straightforward integration with the access networks. However, there is no place for Metro Ethernet when it comes to the networking in less populated areas, where MPLS has doubtless advantages. Another potential competitor is SPB, a “…concept of applying the PBT [Provider Backbone Transport] technique of configuring bridge forwarding tables but with the modification of this being driven by a link state routing system” (Allan and Bragg, 2012, p. 55). The SPB technology is still rather new in the telecommunication industry and requires years of testing before it could be accepted as an MPLS substitute.

Do you think Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) could be used in distribution and/or access networks?

The MPLS technology is definitely more appropriate for the distribution networks as it offers numerous benefits to service providers rather than end users. MPLS was initially designed as a packet-switching alternative to the circuit-switching networks on the service provider scale. Creating the end-to-end high-speed path with the packet-switching technology is a useful distribution network feature whereas the access networks require multi-path solutions with the performance not necessarily as high as MPLS can provide. At the same time, MPLS can be even slower than Ethernet switching within the access network due to the additional load produced by the routes’ processing (Dean, 2009, p. 207).

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