Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is data forwarding technology that increases the speed and controls the flow of network traffic. With MPLS, data is directed through a path via labels instead of requiring complex lookups in a routing table at every stop.
Scalable and protocol independent, this technique works with Internet Protocol (IP) and Asynchronous Transport Mode (ATM).
When data enters a traditional IP network, it moves among network nodes based on long network addresses. With this method, each router on which a data packet lands must make its own decision, based on routing tables, about the packet’s next stop on the network. MPLS, on the other hand, assigns a label to each packet to send it along a predetermined path.