Washington Mutual turned to\u00a0Multi-protocol Label Switching\u00a0because it would easily handle the firm's growing data traffic requirements while letting it offer bandwidth priority and guaranteed service levels to specific users, applications or IP addresses.In order to do so, MPLS switches and routers assign labels to packets entering the network. These labels contain information describing the packet's origin, destination, required bandwidth, delay sensitivity and IP headers, among other characteristics. The MPLS switches then build a path for the label, sending it on its way. The switch then either tears down the path or retains it for any anticipated traffic exchange, flagged by the label.Routing by label, rather than packet, makes its possible for MPLS switches to steer IP traffic onto a variety of routes rather than the single path allowed in traditional switched and routed networks. The switches use this label system to avoid congested or failed paths, and to meet guaranteed service levels.Click\u00a0here\u00a0for more information on MPLS, including a step-by-step diagram.