MPLS vs. Leased Line - A Comparison

  • Published on - Jan 10, 2022
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When you will look at the difference between mpls line vs leased line, you will understand that the Businesses today have multiple options when they need to establish connectivity between different offices. MPLS and Internet leased lines are two major alternatives evaluated against each other for such WAN connectivity in this article. While MPLS is deployed as a full mesh and is a unified data carrying solution, a leased line links two sites and is an end-user connection with predetermined bandwidth.

Wide Area Network (WAN) is an important component of corporate infrastructure for most businesses today. There are several technologies to connect multiple, geographically distant sites using WAN technologies. These include Ethernet, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), frame relay and fibre broadband.

All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses, which primarily depend on the kind of traffic transmitted through them and the need for latency, security and reliability.

Leased lines, another common way to establish a symmetric telecommunication link between two sites, can be used for voice, data and Internet services. It offers a guaranteed and predetermined bandwidth between physically distant sites. The connectivity provided by a leased line is not shared with any other subscriber and the speed is therefore symmetric for both downloads and uploads.

MPLS line is a full mesh technology, providing point-to-point connection between multiple sites. It is highly secure and provides Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure that priority applications like VoIP are not affected by other lower priority applications. MPLS also allows for dynamic routing which makes it an ideal solution for traffic engineering.

While most of the older technologies including legacy leased lines had similar objectives, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) emerged as a sound alternative to bring all of them into one cluster. It played to the strengths and negated the limitations of each of these technologies.

MPLS is essentially a packet switched data transmitting network technology that can transport numerous variations of traffic such as IP packets, as also native ATM and Ethernet frames. It is a better substitute for many other protocols and has a solution that calls for fewer overheads while delivering connection-oriented services for variable-length frames.

Replacing older connectivity methods at a fast pace, MPLS dispenses the signalling protocol and cell-switching gear of ATM. It also emphasises that we do not need ATM cells anymore in the hub of modern networks. This is because the networks used today are so quick that even full-length packets (measuring up to 1500 bytes) do not lead to real-time queuing impediments.

The type of connectivity acts as the key difference between MPLS and leased lines. When it comes to the MPLS process, the connection is established as a vast mess ensuring connection to various places.

However, when it comes to the leased line, a private connection is established between the user and the provider. The term ‘point-to-point connectivity’ fits best for the leased line.

MPLS full form is Multi-Protocol Label Switching. It is a full-mesh distribution system that functions as a type of a WAN (Wide-Area Network). It comprises data packets, which are sent from one node to another. Each node is assigned labels to enable the router’s accustomed to the route until it finishes reaching the destination.

It’s imperative to say that a leased line is a well-established private network. The telecommunication path that ensures leased line connectivity is MLLN. The MLLN full form stands for Managed Leased Line Network.

The leased line involves point-to-point data transfer under the secured private connection between the user and the provider. Due to its physical separation between all connections, it’s considered highly secure. The specific distribution among all the customers and not among different users make the leased line more efficient. Continue reading to learn about the leased line vs MPLS.

Below is a comparison table for MPLS vs. leased line:

Comparision Parameters MPLS Leased Line
Security Logical separation ensures dedicated lines of high-security Physical separation makes it most secured
Distribution Shared between multiple customers Shared with individual users
Type of Connectivity Point-point of multipoint Point-point
Performance Enhanced performance, especially spoke to spoke Poor performance, especially for spoke-to-spoke communications
Set Up Skill Setup requires high skill resource Setup requires moderate to less skill

MPLS vs. Leased Line

When enterprises establish connectivity between network elements or different offices, they enjoy multiple options. When discussing MPLS vs. Leased Line, it’s convenient to know that one of these solutions is recommended by the majority of internet service providers to their clients.

However, it’s often confusing to decide between one of them. Thus, it’s crucial to know the difference between MPLS and internet leased lines to understand the right option. It’s advisable to explore the benefits and functionality of both technologies to know the right one for your business.

Along with this, when you have complete understanding of the mpls vs internet leased line, you won't have to take any inappropriate decisions.

What Is MPLS?

Start with its full form when looking for the exact answer to ‘MPLS meaning. MPLS is abbreviated for Multiprotocol Label Switching. MPLS in networking is considered one of the most effective routing techniques used to ensure availability and scalability by various enterprise networks. This technology is popular for ensuring high-performance traffic forwarding and traffic engineering in IP-only networks.

In the 1990s, the upsurge demand for faster packet routing led to the establishment of MPLS. The entire network layer grouping in addition to short and long labels can now be encapsulated through the MPLS protocol. MPLS has lost its initial purpose even after ensuring improvements and developments in hardware technology. However, several other features of the MPLS technology have made sure it remains an important and popular option for enterprises that need trustworthy network access.

MPLS and Internet Leased Line (ILL) are two of the most popular options when it comes to internet access services. Therefore, it is better to understand the difference between MPLS and Internet Leased Line before making a decision.The importance of differences between MPLS and ILL is paramount when it comes to providing high-speed internet access for businesses.

How Does MPLs Work?

When it comes to MPLS vs. leased lines, knowing the functionality becomes crucial. Every data packet in the MPLS set up is assigned a label. Also, this label is the basis of all packet forwarding decisions, and it alleviates all the need to evaluate the packet contents.

Moreover, users can establish extensive circuits across various types of transports consisting of any protocol. However, the feature also diminishes the network dependency. It won’t depend on one particular data link layer technology, such as SONET (synchronous optical networking), ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), or Ethernet.

The layer in which MPLS operates falls between the data link layer or layer 2 and layer 3. This is why it’s known as the network layer and is often termed the layer 2.5 protocol. A predetermined path is often associated with the packet labels extending across the network. These paths can be defined by the users concerning different priorities and QoS features.

In simple terms, MPLS enables network routing control to the users. It develops paths that work within your networks like point-to-point connections while remaining flexible simultaneously.

MPLS Networking Technology: Key Benefits

When discussing the difference between MPLS and internet leased lines, it's crucial to understand both of their benefits. With the MPLS network technology's way of functioning, it's quite evident that this technology is designed to reduce cost and increase efficiency. Keeping these basic benefits aside, other significant advantages of MPLS includes the following:

  • Enhanced Uptime With Traffic Management: MPLS enables a user to choose a predefined route that is used to send data packets over various alternative paths. All these data packets are distinctly prioritized. This ensures the system operates like clockwork and users enjoy the best possible uptime guarantees for critical service deliveries.
  • Scalability:In the business world, MPLS is considered highly scalable. It enables business enterprises to incorporate additional locations into the VPN. Most interestingly, users won't have to invest in any expensive hardware infrastructure to leverage this scalability. MPLS networks are capable of scaling up quickly, connecting multiple locations at short notice and providing the same performance as dedicated lines.
  • Cost-efficiency: One of the main advantages of MPLS is that it offers a more cost-effective solution to enterprise networking needs when compared to other technologies like internet leased lines. It requires fewer routers and switches since most routing decisions occur in the core network, thus reducing the overall cost needed for deploying an MPLS network. Additionally, bandwidth control enables businesses to save costs by allocating resources only to specific applications or users within their organization.
  • Reliability & security: With an MPLS VPN, users can rest assured that their data will be transferred reliably due to its dedicated lines. This is especially beneficial for mission-critical applications since network traffic will not be shared with other users. Moreover, MPLS VPNs provide a high degree of security by utilizing encryption and authentication protocols to ensure that only authorized users can access the network. This makes them ideal for businesses who are concerned about their data security.
  • Privacy: MPLS is quite different from an internet connection. It is a private network that users won’t access over the internet. A closed user group or CUG is used by MPLS to ensure that only the traffic surpasses the network.
  • Optimum Bandwidth Utilization: MPLS allows to put different types of traffic onto the same link. It ensures that high-priority traffic like SIP becomes capable of borrowing volume from one of the low-priority traffic streams when required. It ensures optimum bandwidth usage.

Other than these benefits, there are also various MPLS benefits for business that you must consider.

Can MPLS deliver virtual leased lines?

A strong attribute of MPLS networks is that they can also be used to create virtual leased lines and offer connectivity irrespective of the physical connections available at each location. An MPLS subscriber can potentially link to the network with a frame relay at one location and Ethernet at another.

MPLS is largely like an Internet leased line and serves businesses that need a private, reliable and secure network over which bandwidth-hungry applications can be deployed. It is good for mission-critical VPNs, VoIP and enterprise applications that need huge bandwidth and high connection speeds.

It is dynamic as regards the granularity of the bandwidth provided and this is not the case with legacy leased lines. When a subscriber has an MPLS leased line, they can get an incremental increase in their bandwidth according to the changing requirements simply by calling the subscriber provider.

Just like other managed services, MPLS VPNs and MPLS-based leased lines come with a range of benefits known as value-added services. These include on-site services by specialist personnel, round-the-clock support and guaranteed deliverables through a service-level agreement (SLA).

MPLS is becoming a preferred and standard technology to deploy large-scale IP networks across WAN. And this is because of the multiple advantages it brings – simplifying packet forwarding, regulating traffic and enabling network scalability. Businesses can also have more cost savings and ensure enterprise-grade security when they opt for MPLS over legacy connectivity technologies.

What Is ILL?

ILL or internet leased lines connectivity is best known as a private leased telecommunication circuit. As defined in any commercial contract between the service provider and the customer,ILL in telecomis established between two or more locations. 

Businesses having distant geographical offices use the leased linesfor establishing internet connectivity. That’s because ILL is capable of traversing long and short distances. Enterprises often collaborate with international carriers that ensure dedicated leased lines to acquire IPLC services. IPLC full form is International Private Leased Circuit. 

In the 1970s, the leased line circuits got digitized for the first time. It evolved from analog to digital circuits. This enabled service providers such as AT&T to provide digital data services. These are the same services that initiate the onset of T1 lines and ISDN. For connecting the customer locations to the different frame relay networks or ATM networks, enterprises used leased lines in the 1980s. However, in the following decade, the ISP’s point of presence was connected with the client locations using this technology. 

How Does It Work?

Now, to better understand MPLS vs. leased lines, get insight into how ILL works. As the name suggests, the internet leased lines are ‘leased’ by the business enterprises, thus, enabling bandwidth availability to the users. 

Clients essentially rent these plans for enabling high-speed internet connectivity between the different locations. The internet leased lines are made of pure fiber optics, which helps them in delivering high-speed internet service. They function by sending across strokes of light via these cables. These transmitted data possess the capability to travel at the speed of light. Moreover, this leased line connectivity is not shared by someone else but only with the customer. 

When it comes to the difference between MLPS and internet leased lines, the leased line connection gets the upper hand in terms of functionality due to its two portions - the bearer speed and the line speed. When using the fiber optic line, the maximum reachable speed is known as the bearer speed. On the other hand, the line speed is simultaneous upload and download speeds that are typically considered symmetric in nature. With the growth and increase in business requirements, this ability enables an increase in bandwidth. 

Typically, a point-to-point leased line diagram or plan charges a fixed fee on a monthly basis and the end customer requirements. As it’s an over-the-budget or expensive proposition, many business enterprises that are not too dependent on high-speed internet end up picking more budget-friendly options such as DSL or internet broadband over coax. 

Internet Leased Line Connectivity: Key Benefits

Regardless of the size, it's next to impossible for business organizations to work without any access to an internet connection in this era of rapid digitization. The best way to acquire this is using the internet leased lines, and its three significant benefits include the following:

  • Dedicated Connectivity: One of the most prominent advantages of leased line connectivity is the dedicated internet connection, which is inaccessible by a third party. This is extremely beneficial, especially when enterprises tend to experience fluctuations in internet connections during peak times.
  • Service Level Agreements: SLAs or service level agreements are yet another benefit of using internet leased lines. These involve getting the minimum service level that your service provider will give. It also involves the penalties incurred during an outage by the service provider.
  • High Upload Speeds: Businesses mostly overlook upload speeds when determining their internet connectivity requirements. The majority of enterprises primarily and solely focus on the download speeds, which are amiably provided by networks. More specifically, the upload speed with internet leased line connectivity is the same as the download speed. Moreover, it can be partially beneficial for managing the traffic of business organizations that are highly dependent on SIP/VoIP calls or involved in uploading data regularly for their business operations.

    However, mpls dedicated lines offer the same (if not more) benefits as the internet leased line connectivity. But, when compared to the latter, they are slightly more expensive. Nonetheless, organizations can still enjoy a wide array of advantages while using internet leased lines. From limitless scalability and flexible bandwidths to superior latency and speed capabilities, businesses that avail this service will be able to reap its many rewards in no time.

Difference Between MPLS And Internet Leased Line

When determining the key difference between MPLS and internet leased line connectivity, it's crucial to understand the five key factors for consideration. These five factors include business requirements, scalability, security, reliability, and cost. To each of these points, both MPLS and internet leased line technologies serve differently. Below are the five crucial differences and factors to consider when deciding between both technologies.

Business Requirements

Dedicated point-to-point internet connectivity is offered by the leased line’s design. Thus, it can be said that they’re not ideally designed for complex network requirements. On the other hand, MPLS offers both point-to-point and one-to-many connectivity, thus, catering to the multiple needs of a business. 

Furthermore, MPLS can be configured for various types of IP networks and it is easier to manage them compared to leased lines. Additionally, if the business expands its network reach, MPLS can be expanded in a very short span of time as compared to Leased Line which can take up to weeks depending upon the provider.


It's crucial to know that MPLS is more scalable than leased lines. The capability of leased lines to scale up is limited due to its highly expensive cost and time-consumption when it comes to implementation. On the other hand, as a highly efficient technology, MPLS can be scaled up without any expensive hardware or much time. This makes MPLS ideal for businesses that need to scale their operations quickly and affordably.

Additionally, leased lines require dedicated physical connections between each site which can be a hassle to install and maintain, whereas with MPLS, traffic is routed through the same network regardless of its source or destination. That way, scalability can be achieved without having to worry about any extra hardware installation or maintenance work.


When it comes to security, the internet leased line network connectivity is way more secure than the leased lines. The reason is that leased lines explicitly cater to the traffic generated from a single customer while avoiding sharing with anyone else. Meanwhile, the MPLS depends on shared networking. In fact, there are no in-built encryption capabilities present in the MPLS technology. However, there are certain measures that can be taken to ensure the MPLS network remains secure. This includes traffic segmentation and encryption, access control lists, and authentication protocols. The internet leased line may also be secured by adding firewall solutions to it.


There's no doubt that the internet leased lines are more reliable than the MPLS technology. Leased lines ensure high-availability services due to their reliable operations, which are all governed by SLAs. On the other hand, the way of routing traffic by MPLS is how reliable their services are. MPLS also ensures network availability, but it is not as reliable as the internet leased lines.


One of the major factors that you can look for in the difference between mpls and ill is the speed. Internet leased lines are much faster than MPLS as it provides dedicated bandwidth which guarantees uninterrupted and seamless data transfer. MPLS, on the other hand, relies on routing of traffic in the network headers and therefore, its speed varies depending on the congestion in any part of the network. This is one of the main drawbacks of MPLS.


When comparing MPLS vs. leased lines, it's crucial to know that MPLS is cheaper than internet leased line connectivity. In terms of network communication, leased lines are more expensive than the MPLS. That’s because leased line connectivity ensures dedicated internet networks to users.

Which Network Can Carry Dedicated Lines With High Data Security?

Whenever business enterprises ask "which network can carry dedicated lines with high data security", they get one simple answer - the internet leased line connectivity. As a matter of fact, MPLS can be used to provide connectivity to users by creating virtual leased lines irrespective of the availability of the connection types at the two different locations.

However, the MPLS model cannot get emulated by the internet leased line networks. When discussing the difference between MPLS and internet leased line networks, this flexibility appears to be a significant point. The internet leased lines are better than MPLS when it comes to the business requirement for a dedicated connection with high security and high-speed upload and downloads. This is because they use dedicated circuits that cannot be shared with other users, thus providing a high level of security for data transfers over the network. Moreover, internet leased lines are also known to offer faster speeds than MPLS due to their direct connection. This makes them perfect for businesses that require fast uploads and downloads over large distances in order to meet their needs.

Furthermore, internet leased line networks are also more reliable when compared to MPLS networks since they provide a fail-safe mechanism that ensures data can still be transferred even if one component fails or there is some disruption in the network. So, even if there's a major difference between the MPLS and the internet leased line diagrams, you must determine your specific budget and requirement for the selection procedure.

What is the Cost of MPLS vs Leased Line?

The cost difference between an MPLS connection against a leased line connection is one of the most critical differentiating factors. This is because when it comes to an MPLS network, many users share the same network. And thus, they also share the internet bandwidth costs they use. But this is different in an MLLN (MLLN full form is managed leased line network).

In an ILL, the user gets a dedicated network and is also the sole owner of the internet bandwidth. Because of this, the internet leased line network user must pay more to the internet service provider. Because of this, an MPLS is comparatively more pocket-friendly than leased lines. In terms of cost, the difference between MPLS and internet leased line is quite clear, and one has to prioritise based on the price against value.

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An ILL(ILL full form in telecom is an Internet leased line) can carry dedicated lines and comes with high data security. Unlike broadband, ILL is not shared among multiple users. Because of this, you get the best performance as promised without any reduction in the bandwidth. Moreover, as there is no sharing with other users, and you have a dedicated connection, the uptime will be much higher.

Furthermore, as you do not have to share the network with multiple users, the security is much better and higher. However, if you share the same network with many users, there is a chance that your security can get compromised.

There are several types of leased lines, as highlighted below.

  • Fibre-leased lines are dedicated connections that send links over fibre cables. Fibre is a common element in almost all internet-leased line networks. If given an option, always go for a fibre connection, as it will have better speed.
  • DSL is another type of leased line that is used for low-bandwidth connections. It is asymmetric and also non-contended. But you can use a symmetric upgraded alternative to DSL, the SDSL. It provides a better upload speed than the typical DSL, allowing a better symmetric connection.
  • MPLS leased lines are also becoming popular. It is a technology that moves data from one point to another by encapsulating it and then sticking labels. The full form of MPLS is multi-protocol label switching. After labelling the data, it decides where the stuff has to be sent based on the highlighted labels.

A WAN connection type uses a closed network and direct connectivity through a fibre or copper connection. With a legacy point to point leased line diagram, the equipment comes with a dedicated line from an internet service provider. Moreover, it also has two different end nodes that help in transmitting network speeds between 1 GBPS to 10 GBPS. The modern solutions have fibre or ethernet provisions that enable them to speed up to 100 GBPS.

An IPLC (IPLC full form is an international private leased circuit) is a p2p private network that organisations primarily use for communication. It is used among officers that are present across the world. It can be used for accessing the internet, exchanging data, conferencing or calling over video and voice, and any other type of communication. It enables users with a private connection that helps them communicate across locations.

An IPLC allows you to exchange time-sensitive and confidential information between two points regularly. And all of it can be done by avoiding many challenges one can face while using a public network.

Both ILL and MPLS come with their own set of advantages and restrictions. Because of this, the final decision to use and choose one between ILL and MPLS should depend on different factors like cost, scalability requirement, security, and others.

While MPLS is better suited to a larger enterprise requiring a private and secure network to meet their needs, it is better suited. Moreover, it is ideal for enterprises with different sites spread across sizeable geographical locations. It is best suited for a diverse business that requires efficient and secure communication transfer between locations. MPLS is also ideal for rapidly growing organisations with an inorganic growth of their sites.

ILL or internet leased lines are ideal if you require a dedicated and guaranteed bandwidth across the usage period. Moreover, it is better suited to transfer large data reliably. And also want to ensure that the data transfer is fast. The upload speed of a leased line network is higher, thus enabling better cloud synchronisation and sharing of assets.

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