MPLS Vs. WAN: What is the Difference?

Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) and wide Area Network (WAN) are two networking terms that are associated with Internet service provision.

MPLs are a packet forwarding technology that uses labels to make forwarding decisions.

A WAN, on the other hand, is a network infrastructure used to interconnect different branches of any organization.

In this post, we will be delving into MPLs vs. WANs, highlighting how they differ in each scenario.

We will not go deep into the intricacies of these two technologies, as we already have a detailed post on wide area networks(WAN) and multiprotocol label switching(MPLs).

MPLS vs. WAN: 7 Key Differences

Here are some of the ways in which MPLs differ from wide-area networks:

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    1. MPLS is a packet forwarding algorithm that uses labels (layer 2 information) to make a packet forwarding decision, while WAN is a network coverage used to interconnect different LANs (organizations).
    2. MPLs can be implemented on wide-area networks to enhance efficient traffic and secure communication in the network.
    3. Coverage: A wide-area network is used to interconnect organizations within a specific geographic area, such as a country, continent, or intercontinental scope, while MPLs can be implemented on a wide-area network and in other networks of higher or lower coverage.
    4. A WAN infrastructure consists of routers, switches, and other end-host devices, while MPLS infrastructure includes ingress routers, egress routers, and end-host devices.
    5. Alternative Technologies: Alternative Technologies to MPLS are SD-WAN and IP Routing, while Alternative Technologies to WAN are LAN, Metro Ethernet, and Carrier Ethernet.
    6. Traffic Routing: MPLs have advanced routing capabilities that can employ traffic engineering and other traffic management techniques, while WANs can rely on MPLS or other routing technologies.
    7. Application: MPLS is employed in traffic routing, while WAN is employed in network distribution.


With what we have covered in this post, I believe you have learned the difference between MPLS and WAN.

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MPLS is a traffic routing technology that uses labels to make a forwarding decision. This packet forwarding occurs at layer 2 of the OSI model, unlike the normal IP routing that occurs at layer 3 of the OSI model.

A Wide Area Network, on the other hand, is a network infrastructure used to interconnect organizations that have their branches distributed geographically instead of hiring different ISPs for each of their branches.

If you have any questions regarding these two technologies, you can drop them in the comment section below or exhaust the following content to find more information.


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