Forum Meets to Speed Web Traffic

FRAMINGHAM (03/24/2000) - A group hoping to bring speedier data-handling capabilities to networks based on Internet protocols will hold its first technical meetings next week.

The MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) Forum (www.mplsforum.org), which was formed earlier this month in Fremont, California, by a group of network and communications companies, hopes to agree on standards for creating labels for IP data packets, which will make it easier for routers and switches to speed traffic to its destination.

The association, which will hold its first committee meetings April 3 and 4 in San Jose, said the MPLS protocol is a "critical component for extending best-effort IP networks to include support for traffic engineering, quality of service and virtual private networks" through integration of traffic engineering and routing functions.

MPLS promises to facilitate more rapid network customization to accommodate converging applications such as video and voice. The group hasn't said when products using the protocol will be available.

David Drury, vice president of technology strategy at London-based Marconi PLC, one of the association's founding companies, has been appointed president and chairman of the organization.

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