Multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is a technique for speeding up network connections that was first developed in the 1990s. The public Internet functions by forwarding packets from one router to the next until the packets reach their destination. MLPS, on the other hand, sends packets along predetermined network paths. Ideally, the result is that routers spend less time deciding where to forward each packet, and packets take the same path every time.
Consider the process of planning a long drive. Instead of identifying which towns and cities one must drive through in order to reach the destination, it is usually more efficient to identify the roads that go in the correct direction. Similarly, MPLS identifies paths — network "roads" — rather than a series of intermediary destinations.