MPLS Network vs Ethernet Networking

The two most popular wide area network (WAN) connectivity options are MPLS and Ethernet. Depending on what (or where) your organization needs to connect – whether it is a single office or a satellite branch – your WAN connectivity options may differ. When weighing the pros and cons of MPLS vs. Ethernet, be sure to examine your business needs and understand the resources available within the network, as well as what options exist in your geographic area. Your network selection will influence the quality, reliability, service and cost of your connection.

What is MPLS?

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) is a type of data-carrying technique for telecommunications networks. MPLS directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses. While it’s not available in all metropolitan areas, it’s usually available in larger cities with dense networks, and is best for large and enterprise organizations. There are many benefits of MPLS network service, including:

  • High Quality: MPLS is a higher-end service that costs more than Ethernet, but less than T1 lines. It can scale to thousands of sites, and it also provides a better quality of service for video, data and VoIP (voice over internet protocol – the ability to make calls online), and has the ability to route between them if you have high usage.
  • Reliability: MPLS is the best and most widely used way to interconnect data centers with remote offices and branches to other branches. For example, it’s works well for national banks with multiple locations and interconnecting data centers, though MPLS does require an entire block of IPs.
  • Service: With MPLS, there is a higher service level agreement that include delivery guarantees for speed and class of service (COS), unlike consumer broadband.
  • Opportunity Cost: MPLS allows businesses to leave WAN routing to the service provider and keep fewer WAN engineers on staff.

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a network protocol that controls how data is transmitted over a local area network (LAN), such as those in a room, office, building or campus. As a point-to-point system, an Ethernet network uses Ethernet cables to connect PCs, routers and switches. Most desktop and laptop computers come with integrated an Ethernet card so that it’s easy to connect. Although Ethernet’s functionality and service isn’t as high-performing as that of an MPLS network, there are many benefits of Ethernet, including:

  • Affordability: Though Ethernet scales hundreds of sites, rather than thousands, it is typically more affordable than MPLS, and is therefore often the choice for small and medium sized businesses.
  • Simplicity: Ethernet is best for connecting one data center to another, including using metro Ethernet to connect corporate sites that are separated geographically.
  • Professional Resources: Ethernet gives in-house WAN engineers control and responsibility over routing.
  • Disaster Recovery: Ethernet offers low latency and high output, which is ideal for disaster recovery.
  • Availability: Ethernet exchanges have made Ethernet WAN services available in more locations.

How do MPLS and Ethernet Work for a Wide Area Network (WAN)?

A WAN is a communications network that spans a large geographic area such as across cities, states or countries. A business may have a WAN comprised of cloud services, its headquarters and smaller branch offices, so the WAN is used to connect all sites together. No matter what the WAN joins together or the distance of the networks, the goal is always to allow communication between various smaller networks in different locations. Wide area MPLS or wide area Ethernet work in different ways, including:

  • MPLS: Using MPLS network service providers for WAN connectivity allows for powerful, flexible and scalable connectivity. It requires that all network devices and management tools be compatible with both MPLS and Ethernet.
  • Ethernet: Using Ethernet for WAN connectivity simplifies linking remote locations, while retaining high bandwidth. Since LANs already use Ethernet, implementing Ethernet for the WAN gives you an all-Ethernet infrastructure, simplifying network management.

For More Information

If you have questions about MPLS network vs. Ethernet networking, Cable ONE Business is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about Cable ONE Business Ethernet Services that will keep your business connected and secure.

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