Virtual private LAN service (VPLS) enables one to connect local area networks (LANs) over the Internet, so that they appear to subscribers like a single Ethernet LAN. A VPLS uses MPLS to create the appearance of a virtual private network (VPN) at each subscriber location.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have evolved conciderably. Today, VPLS based VPNs enable service providers to offer enterprise customers the operational cost benefits of Ethernet with the predictible Quality of Service characteristics of MPLS.
What is VPLS and how are enterprises using it to extend their LAN?
A VPLS is a private multi-site network for voice and data services. VPLS stands for Virtual Private LAN Service. It allows enterprises to manage the routing in their network for security reasons and it utilizes an MPLS backbone. This allows for geographically dispursed sites to be on the same Ethernet broadcast domain.
With VPLS, the provider simulates a switch to connect all WANs into a single bridged WAN. It supports multi-point to multi-point connectivity and a utilizes a shared broadcast domain. VPLS allows your locations to have the look and feel to be in the same office and on the same network. It provides a higher performance networking solution that is scalable and very cost effective.
VPLS and Ethernet VPLS are most commonly used to connect to datacenters, storage area networks, contact centers and media centers. It supports special applications like VoIP and video broadcasting. It can carry non-IP applications and allows for easy separation of private networking or private application domains. VPLS is also utilized to connect other networks like MPLS based VPNs or internet access.
What is the difference between MPLS and VPLS ?
The largest difference between VPLS and MPLS is how the service provider handles the customer’s traffic. With MPLS the providers MPLS core is used but with a VPLS, the VPLS service provider actually simulates a switch so that all customer locations can have the same “look and feel” by combining their WANs where MPLS traffic is routed based on the packet labels. VPLS also allows for IP and non-IP traffic on the same network.
One isn’t better than the other though, and many enterprises utilize both MPLS and VPLS in their network. VPLS is typically used for non-ip applications as well as locations applications or departmental domains that require greater security. IP-VPNs are typically used to connect IP applications or to connect multiple smaller sites.
One thing to consider when considering VPLS is the level of security that is required, which is often driven by regulatory requirements. An enterprise may choose VPLS because they don’t want the service provider to have any visibility in the routing and addressing of data packets while having complete control of the network. VPLS provides privacy that can be compared to ATM, frame relay and private line.
VPLS network design & Pricing
If you would like to learn more about VPLS, discuss your network, request budgetary VPLS pricing, or talk to one of our engineers – please use the form on this page or contact us. We are able to advise you on VPLS solutions from all major carriers and compare their services. With our carrier fiber databases we can compare and design a WAN combining multiple carriers MPLS and VPLS solutions.
A VPLS capable network consists of three main components:
- Customer Edges (CE)
- Provider Edges (PE)
- a core MPLS network
The CE device is a router or switch, located at the customer's premises. The PE device is where all the VPN intelligence resides. It is also where the VPLS originates and terminates, and where all the nessesary tunnels are set up to connect to all the other Provider Edges.
The IP MPLS core network interconnects the PEs. It does not really participate in the VPN functionality; traffic is simply switched based on the MPLS labels.
The basis of a multipoint VPN service such as VPLS is the full mesh of MPLS tunnels that are set up between all the PEs participating in the VPN service. For every VPLS instance, this full mesh of inner tunnels (called pseudo wires), is created between all the PEs that participate in the VPLS instance.