MPLS vs VPLS: Difference between MPLS & VPLS

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,BUZZ,Routing & Switching

What is MPLS?

MPLS (abbreviation for Multiprotocol Label Switching) enables a service provider to provide an economical and flexible VPN across a shared network infrastructure.

MPLS sends data along the most efficient routes using labels. It directs data from one network node to the next based on labels rather than long network addresses and therefore avoiding complex lookups.

Related – 75 MPLS Interview Questions


vpls vs mpls

What is VPLS?

VPLS (Abbreviation for Virtual Private LAN Service) is a service that uses MPLS to securely and seamlessly connect multiple LANs over the Internet, making them appear as if they were all on the same LAN.

VPLS extends a Layer 2 network across geographically dispersed sites using shared network infrastructure. VPLS creates a virtualized Ethernet switch at the provider’s edge to link remote sites.

While both MPLS and VPLS supporting point to multipoint connectivity across diverse customer locations, still they have contrasting characteristics.

In the case of MPLS, the provider participates and is fully aware of customer location routes including LAN, VPLS, in contrast, works as Layer 2 technology, and does not participate or control customer site routes. This arrangement where VPLS isn’t aware of customer side network routes makes it a preferred choice when it comes to financial customers or customers requiring highly secured WAN connectivity.

VPLS also becomes useful in scenarios where non-IP traffic needs to be transported over WAN towards other customer remote locations/offices.

However, VPLS pays the price in terms of scalability. Due to the VPLS principle of working as Layer 2 medium, hence Ethernet broadcasts are sent over WAN links and therefore consume bandwidth which reduces scalability.

Comparison Table : MPLS vs VPLS

Below table enumerates the difference between VPLS and MPLS

Abbreviation For
Multiprotocol Label SwitchingVirtual Private LAN Service
Routing ControlService provider participates in routing of customer routes.Service provider does not participate in routing of customer routes.
Level of Security
Lesser since provider participates in customer routing.
More secured since provider does not participate in customer routing.
ScalabilityMore scalable than VPLSLess scalable than MPLS since Ethernet broadcast flooding consumes network bandwidth.
Working PrincipleMPLS uses the labels to locate the other endpointVPLS uses the MAC address to locate the other endpoint
Non- IP transport supportNot SupportedSupported

Download the comparison table here.

Continue Reading:

MPLS vs IP Routing

MPLS vs Internet – Difference between MPLS and Internet


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