Unisphere Embraces MPLS

Unisphere Networks Inc. is now supporting Multi-protocol Label Switching in its ERX family of edge switch-routers, enabling IP service providers to deliver guaranteed quality of service.

MPLS support has been added to the ERX-700 and ERX-1400 switch routers, making them capable of either labeling IP traffic so it can be switched on MPLS paths, or switching MPLS traffic that has already been labeled.

The switch-routers would take customer traffic in to a service provider network and move it toward the core. Traffic already labeled with an MPLS tag would be fed onto Layer 2 virtual paths to speed it through the service provider's backbone network.

Alternatively, the ERXs can identify flows of IP traffic from a customer and add MPLS labels to it so it gets faster Layer 2 treatment by other MPLS-enabled routers in the network.

Unisphere says the MPLS capabilities will enable IP VPN services that are as secure as frame relay or ATM networks because they employ virtual paths that are similar to frame relay or ATM virtual circuits. These virtual paths can be engineered to guarantee service quality so service providers can offer VPNs with agreed-upon service levels for latency and packet loss.

Because QoS can be guaranteed, providers can also use the network to support packet voice traffic, which cannot tolerate delay and jitter.

Unisphere, in Chelmsford, Mass., is at: www.unispherenetworks.com.

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