Dark Fibre vs MPLS: Everything you need to know | Neos Networks

Dark Fibre vs MPLS

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MPLS vs Dark Fibre


MPLS vs Dark Fibre

MPLS can offer robust and reliable connectivity, yet Dark Fibre offers a level of network future-proofing that other means of connectivity can’t. Here we discuss the pros and cons of both.

What is Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a type of connectivity that is well known for ensuring reliable connectivity for real-time applications and Quality of Service (QoS) to keep critical business information flowing. High-availability MPLS offers support for services such as VoIP, virtual desktops, video conferencing and cloud applications and guarantees no loss of quality.

What are the benefits of using MPLS?

MPLS has been around for a while and has several benefits. For a start MPLS, as the name suggests, is protocol agnostic and can handle any-to-any connectivity which provides flexibility. MPLS was designed before Cloud Computing and would mostly have been used to connect branch offices to HQs – meaning it can scale to multiple sites – but in today’s environment there are easier, more cost-effective ways to connect to the Cloud.

That said, MPLS does provide a level of security as it is a Virtual Private Network and so enables a business to side-step using the Public Internet – protecting sensitive data that you would not want to fall in to the wrong hands. Having a VPN style network also guarantees better performance and scalability.

Are there any downfalls to using MPLS?

However, the robustness of MPLS is also its downfall. Whereby MPLS offers a solid, reliable network and can deliver guaranteed performance, MPLS requires pre-determined A and B points, and once the circuits are up and running, it is difficult to make changes easily. Where previously bandwidth could be quite costly, eroding prices means that MPLS networks are now becoming more appealing for lower-bandwidth users who are unlikely to need to massively scale up and make changes.

It is here that Dark Fibre has a big difference. Dark Fibre is essentially future-proof. As well as bespoke routing, Dark Fibre easily enables bandwidth to be scaled up or down depending on business needs and will enable to support the business as it grows. With a fixed cost, Dark Fibre can actually be a more cost-effective choice than MPLS if you require high capacity services.

The important thing to note with Dark Fibre vs MPLS is that Dark Fibre is an unlit, unmanaged connection. There are no associated SLAs and the business who leases or purchases the fibre is responsible to the equipment used to light the fibre and for the ongoing maintenance. An advantage here is a business can select their own vendors and can take advantage of technologies like Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) whereby the spectrum can be split up in to the various wavelengths to increase capacity across the fibre. Find out more about Dark Fibre and DWDM here.

A newer alternative to MPLS is SD-WAN, a new technology which also ensures reliable connections and real-time information. Also protocol-agnostic it enables users to control the network from a central location. It offers the ability to have greater visibility and flexibility across the entire estate.

What is the typical bandwidth of MPLS?

While some MPLS networks on T1 lines are limited to 1.5 Mbps service, networks with higher capacity can provide significantly improved services: from 10Mbps to 10Gbps. MPLS bandwidth upgrades can be costly, but MPLS does offer scalability, as well solid bandwidth utilisation and reduced network congestion. Since it is a virtual private network, MPLS also gives businesses security.

Offering near limitless capacity, Dark Fibre networks are essentially futureproof. As networks following routes you specify and manage, they also provide flexibility and control.


Dark Fibre



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Ethernet FAQs

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    Simply put, business Ethernet or carrier Ethernet is the most common type of connectivity used today, enabling high-bandwidth connectivity for businesses across the country. It comprises a fibre connection that runs from the network directly to your premise. Before understanding why Ethernet is vital for business bandwidth it's important to know what is Ethernet connectivity.


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    Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has been popular for a number of years now and is very good at providing robust and reliable connectivity as well as ensuring critical business information continues to flow, but it’s flexibility has also become a limiting factor. You can learn more about the differences of MPLS vs SD-WAN here.

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    Ethernet Private Line (EPL) and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) are Ethernet services defined by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and fall under their Ethernet services category ‘E-Line’.

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  • MPLS vs Dark Fibre


    MPLS can offer robust and reliable connectivity, yet Dark Fibre offers a level of network future-proofing that other means of connectivity can’t. MPLS has been around for a while and has several benefits, we discuss the pros and cons of both, MPLS vs Dark Fibre here.


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  • What’s the importance of a point-to-point network?

    A point-to-point network gives organisations secure and private connections, for transmitting internal or sensitive data. They are particularly useful for businesses operating over multiple sites, who have to integrate networks and communications, including such bandwidth-hungry activities as the increasingly popular video-conferencing. While some organisations can achieve this integration via the public internet, larger companies may face issues with security, privacy and bandwidth, as well as the reliability of the network. 

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    As well as providing a reliable, private connection, a point-to-point network will give your business a whole host of benefits. One of the most important is speed, with point-to-point networks taking your data along the most direct route possible. Allied to this, upload and download speeds are guaranteed and you won't have any concerns about bandwidth because the connection is private and dedicated.

    Common applications for point-to-point networks include file sharing, data backup, point-to-point VOIP and video-conferencing, all of which take advantage of the direct, high capacity nature of these networks. These networks are ideal for a range of everyday business needs, helping your organisation to work more efficiently.

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    This type of private data connection links multiple locations. As a closed network data transport service, it doesn’t use the public internet, making it secure enough to not require any data encryption. 

    Another advantage of this type of connection is the high quality of service: private lines always follow the same direct pathway and don’t have any competing connections on the same line. This means they’re completely reliable as well as secure, making them attractive for companies conducting credit card transactions and similarly sensitive operations. They’re also desirable for organisations transmitting large amounts of data, with many providers offering unlimited data usage.

    Point-to-point circuits are available at different speeds and bandwidths. As a result, they’re as flexible as they are reliable.