MPLS Line vs Leased Line: Which Is Better for Business?

MPLS Line vs Leased Line: Which Is Better for Business? | Neos Networks

Businesses today are nothing without connectivity. Connectivity is the fuel of commerce, powering corporate engines and allowing companies to accelerate forward. Choosing the right connectivity solution is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make. And if you’re currently weighing up the difference between leased line and MPLS options, here’s the detail that will help inform your decision.

In this blog post we’ll:

  • Explain what MPLS is and how it works
  • Explain what a leased line is
  • Explore the differences between MPLS and leased lines
  • Compare the benefits of MPLS vs leased lines
  • Evaluate which option may be best for your business

What is MPLS and how does it work?

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a networking technology. It is typically used by businesses and service providers to deliver private networks over shared infrastructure. Unlike other network protocols, which route traffic based on the source and destination addresses, MPLS uses predetermined routes which the network obtains from labels that are attached to the data packets by the network infrastructure.

These labels control the path that each packet follows. Instead of examining the packet itself, decisions are made based on the label, guiding data across a network without having to use complex lookups or find network addresses.

This results in higher traffic speeds and lower latency, which improves performance for applications that are sensitive to data speed or latency changes. Typically, MPLS services, as they are business focused, are also offered with speed guarantees and enhanced SLAs.

MPLS provides dependable connectivity for business-critical applications. It’s a highly reliable method of data transfer, and can use a full mesh network architecture, so there are multiple pathways to every node. This is a sophisticated and comparatively expensive way to build a network, but ensures reliability, even if one pathway fails.

Put simply, MPLS lets users control the network routing, creating paths that work like point-to-point connections while still maintaining flexibility.

What is a leased line?

A leased line, also known as a private connection, provides dedicated internet access between two points, supplied by a provider directly to the customer. Each leased line is exclusive, and there is no sharing of lines between different customers. This ensures a built-in physical separation between every connection.

The main benefit of a leased line is that it is private, so it has a higher level of security. It’s also fast, reliable and resilient, and your speeds won’t be affected by other organisations’ network usage. You’ll enjoy a dedicated, fixed-bandwidth data connection, with guaranteed and identical upload and download speeds.

What is the difference between an MPLS and a leased line?

There are many differences between an MPLS and a leased line, some are subtle and some are considerable. The main fundamental difference is a leased line is a dedicated point to point connection, while an MPLS is a complex private network built across a shared network infrastructure.

Here are the key differences that you need to be aware of when choosing between an MPLS and a leased line.

  • Security is higher with a leased line, as there is physical separation of traffic. MPLS relies on shared infrastructure.
  • Reliability is higher with a leased line, as they often use fibre cable, come with high-grade hardware and are usually governed by demanding SLAs. With an MPLS, the service reliability is dependent on traffic routing, though network availability is ensured.
  • Scalability is faster and easier with MPLS, without expensive hardware requirements. Leased lines are difficult to scale up, due to high cost and longer timescales associated with a dedicated fixed-bandwidth data connection.
  • High complexity businesses with operations distributed across many locations, will find that MPLS is better suited to them. The technology provides point-to-point and one-to-many connectivity, whereas leased lines are limited to point-to-point only.
  • Costs are typically lower with MPLS than leased lines. That’s because, with a leased line you’re getting a dedicated connection that can only be used by your organisation.

Which is best for my business, an MPLS or a leased line?

When you’re comparing the differences between MPLS vs leased line and wondering what’s right for you, the differences that we’ve highlighted above will help.

If your business is a large enterprise with multiple sites spread across a large area, then you should consider MPLS. Furthermore, if you’re operating within a fast-growing organisation and you expect to open new sites in the future, MPLS will give you the flexibility you’ll require. Despite having a high level of security, due to logical separation of traffic, MPLS is still less secure than a leased line.

As a leased line is installed directly between two points, it’s a reliable way to transfer data between sites at speed. There’s also less of a security risk when compared with MPLS, as you never have to share your connection with anyone else, and your bandwidth is guaranteed, too.

So, if your business is unlikely to rapidly scale up across multiple sites over the mid-term, a leased line is your best option. It provides fast, reliable and secure connectivity both on site and to homeworking employees, and it’s very unlikely to let you down.

Seeking a leased line solution?

Every business has its own individual needs and requirements. If a leased line seems like the right solution for you, contact our experts to explore your options in more detail. If you’re still unsure whether your business requires MPLS or leased line connectivity, get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss.

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Ethernet FAQs

Take a look at our FAQs for Ethernet

  • What is Ethernet connectivity?


    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.


  • What is Ethernet over FTTx?


    Ethernet over FTTx is a hybrid Ethernet connectivity solution. It enables businesses not yet ready to make the leap to Full Fibre Ethernet to take advantage of its benefits but at more manageable capacities.

    Learn more about our Ethernet over FTTx service and see related content here.

  • What is Ethernet First Mile?


    Ethernet First Mile (EFM) is a popular and affordable way for businesses to get easy, dedicated connectivity that delivers fibre-like connectivity using copper cables already in place and can enable speeds up to 30Mbps – dependent on the length of copper cable needed and how many pairs are used. We provide a breakdown on what Ethernet First Mile is and highlight its top three advantages.

  • MPLS vs SD-WAN


    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.

  • EPL vs EVPL


    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’.

    Both EPL and EVPL Ethernet provide the simplicity of private connections combined with the flexibility and scalability of MPLS technology across a range of bandwidths, but the main difference for businesses is the configuration they would require.

  • 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.


  • Ethernet vs Dark Fibre


    Ethernet for business is where the bandwidth required is leased from a connectivity provider who manages the network where as Dark Fibre is as it sounds and refers to fibre that is unlit and unmanaged but owned or leased wholly by the business purchasing it. We explore the differences between Ethernet vs Dark Fibre here.

  • 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. 

    A leased line can provide a solution to these issues, but you may find a point-to-point network is more suitable and, possibly, more economical than a leased line. These networks are available in various bandwidth speeds.

    If your company needs a high capacity, private network to do business, the importance of a point-to-point network cannot be overestimated. Choose the right provider and you’ll get a reliable, high-speed connection perfectly suited to your organisation, at speeds from 10Mbps to 10Gbps.

  • What is the benefit of a point-to-point leased line?

    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.

  • What is a point-to-point circuit?

    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.

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