Dr. Yaakov Stein, CTO at RAD Data Communications, recently made a presentation at the Multi Protocol Label Switching and Ethernet World Congress comparing MPLS and Ethernet technologies in the Access Network.  

Dr. Stein used the following categories:

  • Fault Management Functionality
  • Performance Management Functionality
  • Automatic Protection Switching Mechanisms
  • Quality of Service Mechanisms
  • Traffic – Handling Diverse Client Types
  • Timing – High Accuracy Time and Frequency Distribution
  • Integration with Surrounding Networks
  • Capital Expenditure
  • Operational Expenditure
  • Security

He measured the two technologies on Suitability, Coverage and Maturity, in each category listed above.

Dr Stein had this to say about the category of Maturity:

“It should come as no surprise that in a comparison like this Ethernet comes out ahead of MPLS-TP,” Dr. Stein comments. “Obviously, MPLS-TP loses quite a few points on maturity,” he notes. “While the Ethernet community has gone through years of interop trials and the Metro Ethernet Forum has established certification programs, none of this has been done yet for MPLS-TP.” 

Dr Stein concluded that Ethernet was more suitable and provided better coverage for Fault Management.

In the category of Performance Management, Ethernet and Multi Protocol Label Switching were considered equals, but Ethernet scored points for Maturity, so it was given an advantage.

In Automatic Protection Switching, Ethernet was deemed to have better Coverage and Maturity, where MPLS had better Suitability.

Ethernet was declared superior in Suitability, Coverage and Maturity, in the category of Quality of Service.

MPLS showed a small advantage in the category of handling diverse client types of Traffic.

Ethernet was clearly superior in accuracy time and frequency distribution.

In regards to Integration with other networks, Ethernet was given the edge over MPLS.

In the category of Capital Expenditure (CapEx) Multi Protocol Label Switching was deemed more Suitable and was equal to Ethernet in Coverage, but lost points in Maturity.

In the category of Operation Expenditure (OpEx) MPLS and Ethernet were equal in Suitability and Coverage but, once again, MPLS lost points in the category of Maturity.

In the category of Security, Ethernet won in all three measurements, Suitability, Coverage and Maturity.

Overall Ethernet was deemed superior, but mostly due to the Maturity measurement. Multi Protocol Label Switching scored an eleven out of a possible forty points in the Maturity measurement.  Ethernet scored thirty-eight.  The other two measurements, Suitability and Coverage, were much closer, with a total point difference of ten.  Over time, MPLS will become more utilized and tested, so that disparity will decrease.   

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