Short for Multiprotocol Label Switching, MPLS is the processing of data packet labels. With MPLS labels are examined instead of having to examine the contents of each packet, thus determining the network destination in a more efficient manner. This method can improve data transmission speeds because there is no need to use a routing table to do a look up on where the data packet is being sent.
Due to the virtual paths between network nodes, MPLS is not dependent on an OSI model data link layer. It also virtually eliminates the necessity to use layer 2 networks for different types of network traffic. By including the MPLS header, containing one or more labels, to each data packet, networks gain a much needed improvement in data transmission efficiency, helping to decrease costs in the end.