Important Facts When Considering MPLS vs. Frame Relay Networking Solutions

If you are in the process of trying to decide between networking options such as MPLS and Frame Relay, what you need to realize is that there is no such thing as the right choice. There is what can be considered the best choice for your needs and that all comes down to what you plan to do with your networking hardware. Although Frame Relay may still be offered by few providers, MPLS has replaced it as the solution that providers support and most businesses have migrated toward this solution.

It is important for potential users and network administrators alike to be aware that every network option that they investigate is going to include a number of advantages and disadvantages. Depending on how you plan to use your network and what you actually need it for, you may find that some options will be a better fit for your exact needs than other. However, there are always times in which you may have to consider that some drawbacks, while unfortunate, must be accepted.

Here is a quick comparison show MPLS vs Frame Relay to help you in your decision making process.


  • Improvements to network infrastructure control
  • Enhancements to areas such as reliability and efficient performance
  • The ability to expand services to include additional network users as needed is relatively easy vs Frame Relay.
  • Carrier has to play a role in the overall configuration of the network
  • A lack of inherent data protection means that your network can be open to outside attacks if it goes to the Internet and the administrator(s) do not implement proper security measures

Frame Relay:

  • Potentially high WAN speeds but costs can be prohibitive (Up to 1.5Mbps)
  • Purchase bandwidth on an as needed basis, although costs significantly more than MPLS service
  • Potentially difficult to configure and manage for less experienced network administrators
  • Users may experience slower speeds at times, due to network congestion
  • The use of variable length packets means that it is sometimes more difficult to ensure a high level Quality of Service

While neither of these options are going to be the perfect solution for every situation, MPLS has become the best option for most business infrastructures.

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