The next generation implementation of MPLS is Virtual Private LAN Service, or VPLS: it connects every local area network (LAN) node in a specific network design forms part of a single Ethernet LAN. In contrast to a Wide Area Network (WAN) – an interconnected series of LANs – a VPLS uses multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to register each device at each subscriber location as part of one unified LAN. VPLS eliminates the LAN/WAN boundary by presenting one Ethernet LAN interface to end users so that all network services in a VPLS appear to be on the same LAN, regardless of location. And adding a new location is as easy as adding a new printer, laptop or server for I.T. staff.

VPLS permits a flexible network architecture, too. ‘Smart’ edge-of-network routers can build a single Ethernet domain across multiple LANs by forging point-to-point virtual circuits across MPLS Label Switched Path tunnels (LSP). Point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or full mesh MPLS tunnels connecting these routers enables true any-to-any connectivity. VPLS can carry multiple services within each LSP tunnel, overcoming the limitations of ATM, frame relay and IP VPN for WAN transport. A VPLS network, unlike one based on ATM and frame relay, is cost-effective and easily scalable; and unlike an IP VPN, it can transport non-IP traffic.

Large-scale enterprises can have tens, hundreds or thousands of locations with little or no I.T. staff. These retail, home office or regional office locations need a simple, secure and cost-effective network solution that allows access to data and applications managed at headquarters. All bandwidth, applications, public Internet access, and data can be controlled centrally on the Ethernet LAN, regardless of the size of the network. A VPLS network permits prioritization of traffic across the LAN, courtesy of the Classes of Service MPLS offers, for real time (and less real-time) applications, like Voice over IP; Video and audio conferencing; cloud-based applications; and Internet and intranet access. VPLS is also ‘location-indifferent’, assimilating nodes across country and across borders, with scalable and mutable technology.

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