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MPLS - MultiProtocol Label Switching

MPLS - MultiProtocol Label Switching

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Published by Peter R. Egli
Overview of the MPLS backbone transmission technology.

MPLS (MultiProtocol Layer Switching) is a layer 2.5 technology that combines the virtues of IP routing and fast layer 2 packet switching.
IP packet forwarding is not suited for high-speed forwarding due to the need to evaluate multiple routes for each IP packet in order to find the optimal route, i.e. the route with the longest prefix match.
However, Internet Protocol routing provides global reachability through the IP address and through IP routing protocols like BGP or OSPF.
Layer 2 packet switching has complementary characteristics in that it does not provide global reachability through globally unique addresses but allows fast packet forwarding in hardware through the use of small and direct layer 2 lookup addresses.
MPLS combines IP routing and layer 2 switching by establishing layer 2 forwarding paths based on routes received through IP routing protocols like BGP or OSPF.
Thus the control plane of an MPLS capable device establishes layer 2 forwarding paths while the data plane then performs packet forwarding, often in hardware.
MPLS is not a layer 2 technology itself, i.e. it does not define a layer 2 protocol but rather makes use of existing layer 2 technologies like Ethernet, ATM or Frame Relay.
Overview of the MPLS backbone transmission technology.

MPLS (MultiProtocol Layer Switching) is a layer 2.5 technology that combines the virtues of IP routing and fast layer 2 packet switching.
IP packet forwarding is not suited for high-speed forwarding due to the need to evaluate multiple routes for each IP packet in order to find the optimal route, i.e. the route with the longest prefix match.
However, Internet Protocol routing provides global reachability through the IP address and through IP routing protocols like BGP or OSPF.
Layer 2 packet switching has complementary characteristics in that it does not provide global reachability through globally unique addresses but allows fast packet forwarding in hardware through the use of small and direct layer 2 lookup addresses.
MPLS combines IP routing and layer 2 switching by establishing layer 2 forwarding paths based on routes received through IP routing protocols like BGP or OSPF.
Thus the control plane of an MPLS capable device establishes layer 2 forwarding paths while the data plane then performs packet forwarding, often in hardware.
MPLS is not a layer 2 technology itself, i.e. it does not define a layer 2 protocol but rather makes use of existing layer 2 technologies like Ethernet, ATM or Frame Relay.

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Categories:Types, Presentations
Published by: Peter R. Egli on Dec 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/01/2015

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© Peter R. Egli 2015 1/21 Rev. 1.50
MPLS
 –
 Multiprotocol Label Switching
indigoo.com
 
Peter R. Egli INDIGOO.COM
OVERVIEW OF MPLS, A TECHNOLOGY THAT COMBINES LAYER 3 ROUTING WITH LAYER 2 SWITCHING FOR OPTIMIZED NETWORK USAGE
MPLS
MULTI PROTOCOL LABEL SWITCHING
 
© Peter R. Egli 2015 3/21 Rev. 1.50
MPLS
 –
 Multiprotocol Label Switching
indigoo.com
1. Why MPLS (1/2)?
Why not ATM? ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) as a backbone transmission technology has a scalability problen.
ATM is connection-oriented:
Between any pair of switches / routers, a separate PVC (Permanent Virtual Connection) must be set up. If optimal routing is required a full mesh of PVCs needs to be established (O(n^2) complexity). In large networks this becomes unfeasible.
ATM does not have powerful routing protocols:
ATM does not provide such powerful routing protocols as IP (OSPF, BGP).
ATM is dying:
ATM is slowly but steadily being replaced by other, simpler technologies. Why not simple IP routing?
QoS is difficult to meet with traditional routers: 
 Traditional routers have become the bottleneck in the backbone.
Routing is costly: 
 Routing is costly ($) since it needs a lot of performance and memory. (@ 2014 ca.
300‘000
BGP routes in Internet backbone; requires 60-120Mb memory to hold these routes)

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