Enterprises today have numerous options to decide from while establishing connectivity between different offices or network elements. MPLS and leased line connectivity are two most popular technologies as most internet service providers recommend one of these two solutions to their clients. However, deciding between them can often result in more confusion. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference between MPLS and internet leased line connectivity to know and understand the ideal option. This article seeks to explore the functionality, benefits, and drawbacks of each of these technologies before highlighting their differences.

What is MPLS?

Multiprotocol Label Switching or MPLS is a routing technique that is widely used by enterprise networks to ensure scalability and availability. This technology is deployed in IP-only networks to achieve traffic engineering and high-performance traffic forwarding.

The increasing need for faster packet routing gave rise to MPLS in the 1990s. Today, MPLS is capable of encapsulating the network layer grouping along with short as well as long labels. In spite of developments and improvements in hardware technology over the years, MPLS may have lost its initial purpose, but its numerous other characteristics have ensured that this technology remains a popular option for enterprises looking at reliable network access.

How Does MPLS Work?

In an MPLS setup, each data packet is assigned a label and all packet forwarding decisions are based on this label. This eliminates any need to examine the contents of the packet and users can create comprehensive circuits across different types of transports with any protocol. This characteristic also reduces the network’s dependence on one specific data link layer technology like ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) Ethernet, or SONET (synchronous optical networking).

MPLS is usually termed as layer 2.5 protocol as the layer in which it operates lies between layer 2 or the data link layer and layer 3 also known as the network layer. The packet labels are associated with a predetermined path as they transverse through the network. Users can define these paths with respect to different QoS features and priorities. In other words, MPLS allows users the control of network routing by creating paths that function like point-to-point connections within your network while being flexible at the same time.

MPLS Network Connectivity - Everything you should know

Benefits of MPLS Networking Technology

It is clear from the manner in which MPLS Network technology works that it is designed to increase efficiency while reducing the overall cost. Some other prominent benefits of MPLS are as follows:

  • Better Uptime Due to Traffic Management- MPLS allows users to send data packets over alternative paths via a predefined route and wherein the packets are clearly prioritized. This helps the system run like clockwork and critical services are delivered with the best possible uptime guarantees.
  • Scalability – MPLS is highly scalable as it allows businesses to add additional locations to the VPN without investing in expensive hardware infrastructure.
  • Privacy – unlike an internet connection, MPLS is a private network that is not accessible to users on the internet. MPLS uses a closed user group (CUG) to ensure only your traffic crosses the network.
  • Bandwidth Utilization – Because different types of traffic can be put onto the same link, users can rest assured that high-priority traffic (such as SIP) can borrow capacity from a lower priority traffic stream in case required or vice versa. This ensures optimum bandwidth utilization.

Drawbacks of MPLS Networking Technology

MPLS certainly has a major drawback as the network control remains with the service provider. The service provider is responsible for routing data through the network and the customers can only define the QoS and how the traffic is prioritized.

What is Internet Leased Line Network Connectivity?

Internet leased connectivity is best understood as a private telecommunication circuit that is established between two or more than two locations as defined in the commercial contract between the customer and the service provider. Leased lines are most commonly used by organizations to establish internet connectivity between their distant geographical offices as they are capable of spanning across long as well as short distances.

Leased line services were first digitized in the 1970s from analog to digital circuits. This allowed service providers like AT&T to offer digital data services that initiated the onset of ISDN and T1 lines. In the 1980s, leased lines were also used to connect customer locations to ATM networks or frame relay networks. In the next decade, this technology was used to connect client locations with the ISP’s point of presence.

How does Internet leased line work?

How Does it Work?

As the name suggests, internet leased lines are ‘leased’ by the organization, therefore, it can guarantee bandwidth availability to the customer. The plans are essentially rented by the client for high-speed internet connectivity between locations. Internet leased lines are able to deliver high-speed internet as they are typically made using pure fiber optics. They work by sending across pulses of light through these cables and the transmitted data is capable of traveling at the speed of light. Further, the leased line connectivity is dedicated entirely to the customer and is not shared by anyone else.

A leased line connection comprises two portions – the line speed and the bearer speed. The line speed is typically symmetric in nature meaning that the upload and download speeds are the same. The bearer speed, on the other hand, is the maximum speed that can be reached by the fiber optic line. This ability makes it easy for you to increase your bandwidth as your business requirements grow.

Typically, an internet leased line plan charges a fixed fee every month depending on the end customer requirements. However, this can be a very expensive proposition. Hence, organizations that are not heavily reliant on high-speed internet end up selecting more affordable options like internet broadband over coax or DSL.

Benefits of Internet Leased Line Connectivity

Irrespective of their size, it is nearly impossible for businesses to function without an internet connection in these technology-driven times. Internet leased lines are an effective way of achieving this and three main benefits include:

  • Service Level Agreements – Service level agreements or SLAs are another major advantage of internet leased line. These ensure the minimum level of service that will be provided by your service provider and also include the penalties that the service provider may incur in case of an outage.
  • Dedicated Connectivity – The dedicated internet connection is another commendable advantage of leased line connectivity. The connection is not accessed by a third party. This is highly beneficial, especially during peak times when internet connections tend to fluctuate.
  • High Upload Speeds – Upload speeds are often overlooked by businesses while deciding on their internet connectivity requirements. Most organizations tend to focus solely on the download speeds that are benign provided by networks. Internet leased line connectivity comes with the same upload speed as the download speed (synchronous). And this can be particularly advantageous to manage traffic of businesses that regularly uploading data or are highly dependent on VoIP/SIP calls for their business operations.

Drawbacks of Internet Leased Line Connectivity

It is nearly impossible to find a technology without certain disadvantages and internet leased line connectivity is no aberration. Cost is the biggest drawback followed by security, when considering leased line connectivity as there are various internet connections that are available at much lower costs. However, if your business operations require dedicated bandwidth and consistent upload and download speeds, then internet leased lines are one of the best options available.

Internet Leased Line Network Connectivity Technology

Difference Between MPLS and Internet Leased Line

There are 5 key factors to consider when determining the difference between MPLS and internet leased line connectivity. These include cost, reliability, security, scalability, and business requirements. Both technologies cater differently to each of these points. This comparison is discussed in more detail below.

Cost: MPLS is Cheaper

Leased lines are certainly a more expensive form of network communication in comparison to MPLS. But this is mainly because leased line connectivity offers dedicated internet networks to users.

Reliability: Internet Leased Line is More reliable

Because of their dedicated nature of the operation, leased lines offer high-availability services that are governed by SLAs. MPLS, on the other hand, offers reliable services in the way it routes traffic and ensures network availability.

Security: MPLS is more Secure

Internet leased line network connectivity is more secure than MPLS because they cater to the traffic from a single customer and the network is not shared with anyone else. MPLS, on the other hand, relies on shared networking elements and does not have inbuilt encryption capabilities.

Scalability: MPLS is More Scalable

Leased lines can be more expensive and time-consuming to implement limiting their capability to scale up. In contrast, MPLS is a highly efficient technology that can be scaled without investment in time and expensive hardware.

Business Requirements

Leased lines are designed to offer dedicated point-to-point connectivity. Therefore, they are not designed to cater to complex network requirements. MPLS can offer both one-to-many and point-to-point connectivity thereby, catering to multiple business requirements.

Interestingly, MPLS can be used for creating virtual leased lines and provide connectivity to users irrespective of the connection types available at the two locations. However, internet leased line networks cannot emulate the MPLS model. This flexibility is a major point of difference between MPLS and internet leased line networks. However, if business requires dedicated connection with high upload speeds and security, then internet leased lines score over MPLS. Therefore, while there is a significant difference between MPLS and internet leased line models, the selection should be based on your specific requirements and budget.

For more clarity, we at CarrierBid can help you assess your current and future network requirements to arrive at a more informed decision. You can contact us directly or fill in the form below and our experts will get in touch with you for an initial consultation.

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