Chapter 16. Using MPLS

Routing protocols are about making your network functional. They allow you to send traffic across the network, and they even allow you to tune your network in some small measure to control how traffic is sent.

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) builds on top of that foundation and really grants you a different level of control over how your network transports traffic. By converting your routed network to something closer to a switched network, MPLS offers transport efficiencies that simply aren't available in a traditional IP-routed network. These efficiencies are then augmented with traffic engineering functionality that makes MPLS still more effective. Combined, the switching and traffic engineering capabilities have made something that was once only used in service provider networks one of the emerging technologies in the enterprise.

This chapter attempts to demystify some of these powers, explaining in plain English both how MPLS operates and how you configure it in JUNOS to get more out of your network.

Packet-Switched Networking

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is part new technology, part throw-back to older technologies. Its power is really in how it marries both new and old to get the best of both worlds.

To understand how MPLS leverages both new and old, you must have a firm grasp on the following topics:

  • Label switching

  • Label-switched paths

  • Label-switching routers

  • Labels

  • Label operations

  • Establishing label-switched paths

Label switching

If you look at ...

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