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What is MPLS-VPN?


MPLS VPN is a family of methods for harnessing the power of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to create Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). MPLS is well suited to the task as it provides traffic isolation and differentiation without substantial overhead.

Layer 3 MPLS VPN
A layer 3 MPLS VPN, also known as L3VPN, combines enhanced BGP signaling, MPLS traffic isolation and router support for VRFs (Virtual Routing/Forwarding) to create an IP based VPN. Compared to other types of VPN such as IPSec VPN, ATM, MPLS L3VPN is more cost efficient and can provide more services.

Layer 3 MPLS VPNs also support Quality of Service.

Layer 2 MPLS VPN

A layer 2 MPLS VPN, also known as L2VPN, is a point-to-point pseudowire service. It can be used to replace existing physical links. The specification define methods to transport layer 2 packets across MPLS networks, and methods to encapsulate transport protocols such as ATM, Ethernet, and SONET.

The primary advantage of this MPLS VPN type is that it can transparently replace an existing dedicated facility without reconfiguration, and that it is completely agnostic to upper-layer protocols. By contrast, in a layer 3 VPN the hosts must speak IP.

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