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MPLS VS. METRO-ETHERNET

The Soup

As Metro-Ethernet becomes more prevalent in the market, many organizations are looking at Metro-Ethernet solutions vs. the typical MPLS environment.  Metro-Ethernet can provide many of the benefits an MPLS solution can bring along with the flexibility that many organizations need.  However, Ethernet is not everywhere and MPLS provides scalability and turnkey options not available with Metro-Ethernet.

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MPLS - MULTI-PROTOCOL LABEL SWITCHING

As Multi-Protocol indicates, MPLS is a great solution with more choices where access technologies are limited.  This is extremely beneficial especially in locations outside the metro area.  MPLS uses label switching which reduces the amount of inspecting every IP header for origination and destination IP addresses of the router. This reduces latency and thus can provide better application performance.

Many service providers provide a managed router option for MPLS regardless if the routing is static or a dynamic routing protocol is implemented. BGP is the most common protocol used, this usually requires redistribution of the IGP (Interior Gateway Protocol) being used in the enterprise. MPLS provides the ability for enterprises to set up Multi-homing.  This is extremely beneficial for enterprises that host their data in multiple data centers. MPLS supports any-2-any connectivity to support multi-homing designs as well as centralized applications such as a centralized IPPBX/PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange).

METRO-ETHERNET

MPLS is at the core of Metro-Ethernet solutions, meaning MPLS is the core technology.  Why is this good to know: the benefits of MPLS carry over. Metro-Ethernet has multiple configuration options from a topology standpoint providing point-2-point, point-2-multipoint, and multipoint-2-multipoint solutions.

Metro-Ethernet uses Ethernet only for the access technology – Ethernet is not available everywhere.  However, Ethernet for most Enterprises is an easy hand-off to accept and provides the Enterprise with many options related to network segmentation and/or L3 (Layer 3) technologies.  This allows you as the customer to determine what routing protocol you want to utilize.  Most service providers do not provide managed routers with Metro-Ethernet, customers get full access to their own hardware. Therefore, it is not necessary to call the service provider to make changes on the router – you have complete control.

 

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August 02, 2016 / by Dave Calhoun | Solutions Engineer