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What are basics of MPLS VPN?

The MPLS or multi – protocol label switching technology is also used for creating the VPNs or the virtual private networks. The methods followed for doing these are collectively known as the MPLS VPN.

They are a great tool for harnessing the MPLS potential. The VPNS thus created with MPLS mechanism provide great flexibility to the engineers for transporting and routing many different types of networks via the MPLS backbone technologies.

Types of MPLS VPN

There are 3 different types of MPLS VPN that are deployed mostly in the networks:
1. Pseudowire or point-to-point MPLS VPN:
– In these MPLS VPNs, the virtual leased lines or the VLLS are employed that provide a layer 2 point-to-point connectivity between two web sites.
– These VLLS have the capability of encapsulating even the TDM, ATM and Ethernet frames.
– The TDM T1 circuits that are attached to the non-routed DNP3 or RTUs can also be encapsulated using these MPLS VPNs. – The traffic then can be routed to the SCADA master controller.

2. Layer 2 VPN or VPLS:
– VPLS here stands for virtual private LAN service.
– These MPLS VPNs offer a VPLS services in the style of ‘switch in the cloud’.
– With these services the VLANs stretching between two sites can be spanned.
– These MPLS VPNs come handy in routing AMI traffic, audio and video between the various data center locations and the sub – stations.

3. Layer 3 VPN or VPRN:
– VPRN is the abbreviation for the virtual private routed network.
– These networks make use of the layer 3 Virtual/ VPN routing and forwarding or VRF for segmenting the routing tables as per the needs of each customer that utilizes the service.
– The customer establishes a connection to the service provider router and the routes are exchanged between the two.
– These routes are then placed in to the routing table that is specific to the user.
– For utilizing this service in cloud, the MP–BGP or the multi – protocol BGP is necessary.
– This is so because with this the complexity of the design as well as the implementation increases.
– These MPLS VPNs usually are used on the utility networks all because of their high complexity.
– However, these MPLS VPNs can be used for routing the traffic between data centers and corporate.

Why were MPLS VPN developed?

– Initially the MPLS VPNs were developed for dealing with the issues that occurred while transmitting text data over the network.
– These issues were mostly the security issues.
– MPLS VPN has caught the attention of many companies who want to expand the capabilities of their networks at the cost of more security and less money.
– MPLS VPNs are the data networks that make use of a part of the shared public network in order to make an extension to the private network of a customer.

Regions in MPLS VPN

There are 2 regions in the MPLS VPN realm:
1. Customer network:
– This network includes the routers at the site of the customer.
– These routers are call the CE or customer edge routers.

2. Provider network:
– This consists of the provider edge routers.
– To these routers, the CE routers are directly attached.
– This network also consists of devices called the provider routers that forward the data in the SP backbone.

Multiple protocols are supported by MPLS which means it can be used in many things such as in tagging the IP packets, IPX packets and the Ethernet frames.
The above mentioned VPN implementations can be broadly classified in to two major categories namely:
– Peer – to – peer model
– Overlay model (the participation of the provider is not involved.)

MPLS VPN enhances the capabilities of the MPLS. Security problems alone cannot be solved by the MPLS. It has to be complemented with some VPN solution.

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