An MPLS Network is formed by connecting each location with a single link to a service provider MPLS network. An MPLS network stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching and any packet coming to the Label edge routers (from individual locations – source, to the service provider MPLS network) are encapsulated with an MPLS label which is used to identify it and route it through the MPLS network. This label is discarded when the packet comes out of the MPLS network back to individual locations – destination.
A point to point Leased Line is formed by connecting every site to every other site using leased lines provided by the service provider network (Or in very large organizations, their own network). This is a private network and is used primarily for site-to-site communications. So for an organization having branches in five locations, four links need to connect each location to all other locations to complete the leased line network. For ‘n’ locations, the number of links required in each location would be ‘n-1’.
MPLS based VPNs reduce customer networking complexity, costs. Rather than setting up and managing individual point-to-point circuits between each office using pair of leased lines, MPLS VPN customers need to provide only one connection from their office to all other affiliated campuses.
A wide variety of physical hardware is used to carry the information including fiber, copper circuits, wireless connectivity, satellite connectivity etc. The MPLS core service provider network also use high-capacity MPLS routers in addition to the MPLS edge routers which send and receive data from the routers located in the individual locations.