Difference Between MPLS and VPN

A VPN connects a private network to another public network, which allows users to transmit and receive data as if their computers were connected to the private network physically.

MPLS is a routing technique that is used to improve the speed and control of the network traffic. It speeds up traffic flows by avoiding complex lookups in the routing table at each node as in conventional routing algorithms.

Read through this article to find out more about MPLS and VPN and how they are different from each other.

What is VPN?

VPN stands for virtual private networks. It is a network type that is similar to a private network but is virtual. VPN is a mechanism for managing encryption, integrity protection, and certification or authentication, we may utilize it for accessing any public network as a private network.

  • VPN produces the illusion of a private network on a public network. This allows users to connect to a private network remotely.

  • Unlike Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), in a Virtual Private Network, routing divisions and traffic are processed by the customers.

  • In a Virtual Private Network, all OSI layers are required to make a VPN functional. It establishes a secure and encrypted link over an insecure network. When a user joins a VPN, the network routes all of the user's data and traffic. When you connect to any VPN, your IP address is changed to the server's address. It has servers in several nations across the world.

A VPN is built by using dedicated circuits or tunneling technologies to construct a virtual point-to-point connection over existing networks. Some of the advantages of a wide area network (WAN) can be obtained using a VPN accessible over the public Internet. The resources accessible within the private network can be accessed remotely from the user's perspective.

You can use a VPN to protect your IP address by allowing the network to redirect through a particularly configured remote server run by a VPN host. If you surf online with a VPN, the VPN server becomes the source of your information, which means your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third-parties cannot view the data you send and receive online.

What is Multi-Protocol Label Switching?

Multi-Protocol Label Switching, or MPLS, is a critical data-carrying technology. Its capabilities are alike to those of packet-switched networks and circuit-switched-switched networks, in that it shows some of the characteristics of circuit-switched networks in a packet-switched network.

The label switching mechanism is used in MPLS to issue a number or label to each packet. Each package's label or number plays an important role in the packet forwarding process.

MPLS directs the data from one node to the next node based on short path labels. Instead of being routed using long network addresses, the data packets are routed through path labels that identify virtual paths between the nodes rather than endpoints.

MPLS is based on the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model's layers 2 and 3. MPLS is a more dependable technology since it ensures quality of service (QoS).

MPLS is a scalable and protocol-independent routing technique. It works with Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet, Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transport Mode (ATM).

Difference between MPLS and VPN

The following table highlights the major differences between MPLS and VPN.

The multi-point method is supported by MPLS.VPN, on the other hand, enables both multi-point and point-to-point techniques.
MPLS is expensive as compared to VPN.VPN is less expensive.
There is no encryption in MPLS.VPN makes use of encryption.
Layer 2 and 3 of the OSI model are used by MPLS.To make a VPN work, all of the OSI layers must be involved.
MPLS is a high-reliability technology because it ensures quality of service.VPN, on the other hand, is a trustworthy technique for time-sensitive traffic.
In MPLS, the service provider is in charge of routing divisions and traffic.Customers are in charge of the route division and traffic.
Cloud-based services are not widely accessible in MPLS.While using a VPN, a large selection of cloud-based services is available.
A blocked site can be unblocked in MPLS.Not all blocked sites can be unlocked using a VPN.


VPN is basically a mechanism to simulate a private network over a public network. It establishes a secure connection between the end-users and provides high level of security.

MPLS is a routing technique that speeds up the network traffic. The most notable advantage of MPLS is that it is not restricted to any one protocol or mode of transport. It supports transmission across IP, Ethernet, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), and frame relay. However, MPLS does not support encryption, so any attacker intercepting packets over MPLS lines can read them in plaintext.

Updated on: 22-Aug-2022

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