MPLS vs VPN- Which One Works Better For You?

  • Last updated February 28, 2023
  • written by

Data security has become an equally daunting task for both individuals and enterprises. When you have to protect your data from various online threats, you are bound to take various precautionary measures.

In this scenario, you take help either from MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) or from VPN to keep your data integrity intact.

These days, users are opting both MPLS and VPNs according to their privacy needs.

However, the concept of MPLS is still new for different netizens and needs some more explanation.

Therefore, I have come up with an exclusive MPLS vs VPN comparison that would help you in making a right decision about your privacy.

What is MPLS?

MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) is a data-carrying mechanism that transmits and directs data between network nodes.

It helps in developing virtual links among various nodes that do not depend on distance and location. Likewise, the said protocol uses labels in place of IP addresses to route packets.

Furthermore, MPLS does not rely on protocol and data too. Hence, users can develop end-to-end circuits through any medium and protocol hassle-free.

MPLS Overview

Like reliable VPN, it delivers different benefits to users but has some demerits as well. Here is the list of pros and cons that consists of:


  • Enhances up time by offering an alternate network path
  • Improves bandwidth by enabling multiple traffic types
  • It helps in decreasing network congestion by using discretionary paths


  • The carrier has to work while configuring the whole network
  • It does not have a built-in data protection mechanism

Need for MPLS

In packet–switched networks, data packets manage their route across the network. However, they are dynamic in nature still they are unpredictable.

For instance, wires along with T1 lines in circuit-switched telecom networks transfer the data and voice traffic. It means, they are predictable but they are highly expensive as well. IP Multicast routing has several acronyms and terms that apply to rooting devices and networks.

Thus, users have to face difficulties when it comes to scaling circuit-switched networks.

Without developing the infrastructure, they cannot achieve their scaling mission.

In these situations, the role of MPLS becomes crucial because this mechanism provides more control over the networks routing.

It creates a path that you can assume in the shape of a point-to-point connection throughout the network.

How MPLS Works

Multiprotocol label switching ensures trustworthy connections for real-time applications. What makes MPLS different from other mechanisms is its independent nature.

Yes, you have read that correctly.

It was developed as an overlay technique to improve the performance that relates to multi-protocol part.

Despite being an expensive protocol, large multinational organizations opt MPLS mechanism in their branch offices.

Similarly, metro Ethernet services that rely on quality of service (QoS) deploy MPLS for their real time applications.

MPLS Advantages

The working methodology of MPLS revolves around the notion of labeling and coupling. In addition, enterprise owners have to use MPLS when they need to exploit optical networks significantly.

In case, you are an enterprise owner and want to secure your business communication through next level protection, you should consider using MPLS Private Network Service.

When it comes to wide area networks (WANs), MPLS turns out to be a go-to option.

Here is the list of key advantages MPLS offers:

  • Built-in support for quality of service
  • Outsourced routing
  • Any-to-any connectivity
  • Service-level agreements along with delivery guarantees

MPLS Cost, Use-Cases and Disadvantages

If you consider using MPLS for your organizational needs, you must contemplate different factors before making a final decision. You can assume these factors in the form of cost, used and disadvantages too.

Once you have analyzed these attributes in detail, you can embrace the concept of MPLS in the right way.

What is MPLS?

Source Credit: Mushroom Networks

What is a VPN?

For newbies, VPN is a complete package that offers next level anonymity and protection to its subscribers.

When you connect to a VPN server of your choice, you can spoof your online locations from ISPs, online hackers and other unwanted people.

A VPN is surely a blessing in disguise for users those who want to access their desired native content from different locations.

After adding a VPN service in their armory, they can combat with region blocking hassles a great deal.


Source Credit: Daily Infographic

VPN Overview

VPNs offer a comprehensive list of exciting benefits to its users. Conversely, it delivers some disadvantages too. Here is the list of major pros and cons that includes:


  • Offers 256-bit military grade encryption
  • Provides budget friendly pricing plans
  • has an efficient customer support function


  • Users can anticipate connectivity issues while selecting their preferred servers

MPLS vs VPN Key Differences

MPLS works like a neutral protocol that assists numerous network protocols. On the other hand, VPN is a software-defined network that describes the boundaries of a network with the help of IP schema.

Here is the list of some other major attributes that differentiate both MPLS and VPN with each other to certain degree:

Parameters MPLS VPN
Type of technology Multipoint technology Point to point and multipoint technology
Encryption Do not use encryption Uses encryption
OSI layer Works between layer 2 and layer 3 Works up to layer 7
Cost High Low
Traffic management Possible Not possible
Multicast Support Support multicast traffic Does not offer support on IPsec VPN, Need to implement GRE over IPsec which incurs additional configuration and overhead
Target Customers Suitable for large-size enterprises Suitable for small to medium sized enterprises
Provisioning and Management Service provider is responsible for providing and maintaining MPLS connectivity, which relieves customers from burden of configuring the devices Customer needs to perform configuration and provisioning of VPN setup over IPsec supported box
Traffic Control and Routing Decision Service provider has more traffic control and its routing Customer has the control over traffic routing

MPLS and VPN as per Reddit

Reddit allows you to obtain relevant information about MPLS (multiprotocol label switching). At times, MPLS works much better than SD-WAN (Software defined WAN).

Likewise, both MPLS and VPN are completely two different things.

Wrapping Up

I expect you would have understood the basic differences between these two facets of digital privacy after reading my MPLS vs VPN detailed analysis.

If you ask my opinion, I would rate VPN as a clear winner instead of MPLS.

You might be wondering how it is possible.

Based on encryption factor, VPN has beaten MPLS by a long distance.

Moreover, other factor like cost has contributed to its downfall against a VPN.

Tell me why you would prefer MPLS over VPN or vice versa in the comments section below.


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