MPLS, RPR and ASON in the Metro A Unified Future

WHITE PAPER Author: Gayathri Manoj, Kandasamy Varadharaj, Shri Krishan and RamNarayan S
Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) are defined as networks spanning distances up to several hundred kilometers, typically serving large, concentrated metropolitan areas. Current metroarea network topologies are largely ring-based. SONET/SDH is the technology used in the metro area, using point-to-point or add-drop multiplexer (ADM) ring topologies. Connections are either permanent or semi-permanent with access rates ranging from OC-3 to OC-48. Metro networks present many engineering challenges, especially as there is a large base of legacy SONET/SDH (Synchronous Optical Network/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) infrastructure prevalent in current metro-area networks. These traditional TDM (time-division multiplexing) networks were originally designed to transport a limited set of traffic types, mainly multiplexed voice and private line services (such as DS-1 and DS-3). Today’s metro market is under pressure to handle the rapidly growing capacity demands and increasingly varying traffic patterns. The increase in long-haul DWDM capacity coupled with the rise of (access) IP bandwidth demand has placed a focus on the metro network to provide additional capacity. This white paper tries to envision a metro network where technologies such as Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), Resilient Packet Ring, (RPR) and Automatically Switched Optical Network (ASON) would work together and remove bottlenecks and streamline network efficiency. The paper begins with a brief description of a typical current metro network, the technologies used and typical metro provider requirements. A brief description of the newer technologies that are being considered follows along with their individual advantages; a unified network where all these technologies co-exist & work in unison and the inherent advantages and disadvantages of such a network.

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............................................................. 5 AUTOMATICALLY SWITCHED OPTICAL NETWORKS (ASON) ........................... 11 REFERENCES .............................................................................. 4 RESILIENT PACKET RINGS (RPR) ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 12 ABOUT WIPRO TECHNOLOGIES .... 10 GLOSSARY ................................. 10 COMPLEXITIES INVOLVED ....................................... 12 ABOUT THE AUTHORS .............................................................................................. 12 WIPRO TELECOM AND INTERNETWORKING ............................................................................................. 10 CONCLUSION ............................................................................... 4 MULTI-PROTOCOL LABEL SWITCHING .................................................................... 3 THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES ........... RPR and ASON in the Metro .................................. 13 Table of: Contents Page ...................................WHITE PAPER MPLS................... 7 THE UNIFIED NETWORK ..................................................................... 8 BENEFITS OF THE UNIFIED SOLUTION ................................A Unified Future Table of Contents INTRODUCTION ........................................................................

A citywide aggregation network that feeds the metro backbone. ATM etc. The backbone typically connects to a long haul network for interconnection between different MANs. Co-existence with existing infrastructure to carry voice as well as data traffic as well as interfacing with existing infrastructure. Ethernet. • A regional/metro core transport ring that is typically SONET/SDH based at bandwidth rates from OC-12 to OC-48 with DWDM being starting to make an appearance. Protection levels take higher precedence. This is also called the metro edge that indicates the interface between the metro and the access network. Class of Service. • The challenges that a metro network provides for service providers are Service Breadth where the providers must be able to offer a variety of offerings like IP. Service Awareness where requirements as Quality of Service. with flexibility for new services without heavy additional cost. Reduction in operational and network costs since the metro network is driven by central office access and transmission equipment costs. 10 Mb/s Ethernet. A typical metro network can be categorized as follows. Service Delivery where the network is optimized for changing access requirements with easy and quick provisioning. This ring is used to connect the cities or large urban concentrations in a larger metropolitan area. DS-3. RPR and ASON in the Metro .WHITE PAPER MPLS. © Wipro Technologies Page : 03 of 13 . Network Reliability where the capability of a SONET network must be maintained with regard to protection and restoration. Newer equipment must offer increased functionality and performance without proportional cost increase.A Unified Future Introduction Metropolitan Area Networks bridge the space between long haul and access networks. This is also called the metro backbone. Scalability where the network capacity should be able to scale much higher than the capital costs for upgrades. Frame Relay. This is typically a TDM or a leased line network that runs at rates from T1 to DS-3. The access network rates span a broad spectrum like T1. Topological flexibility where the equipment must be able to support different physical topologies thereby supporting flexible application traffic flows. interconnecting a full-range of client protocols from enterprise/private customers in access networks to backbone service provider networks. OC-3 and OC-12 that the metro network grooms and uses in intra-metro as well as inter-metro connectivity.

and dispatched to an outgoing interface with a new label value.A Unified Future The New Technologies Multi-Protocol Label Switching Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) was developed as a packet-based technology and is rapidly becoming the key for use in core networks. LSR A is the ingress point into the MPLS network for data from host X. A set of packets that should be labeled with the same label value on entry to the MPLS network. MPLS does not replace IP routing. deduces the LSP to use and adds a label to the packet. and that will therefore follow the same LSP. When it receives packets from X. but works alongside existing and future routing technologies to provide very high-speed data forwarding between Label-Switched Routers (LSRs) together with reservation of bandwidth for traffic flows with differing Quality of Service (QoS) requirements. Such a path is called a Label Switched Path (LSP). MPLS uses a technique known as label switching to forward data through the network.WHITE PAPER MPLS. Since the mapping between labels is constant at each LSR. and to Z. The path that data follows through a network are defined by the transition in label values as the label is swapped at each LSR. LSR A then forwards the packet on the appropriate interface for the LSP. LSR A determines the FEC for each packet. the packet is routed based on the value of the incoming interface and label. A small. RPR and ASON in the Metro . Two LSPs are shown. fixed-format label is inserted in front of each data packet on entry into the MPLS network. is known as a Forwarding Equivalence Class (FEC). LSR D IP Host Z IP IP 21 IP 47 Host X LSR A IP IP 17 LSR B IP 11 IP Host Y LSR C Figure 1: A MPLS Network in action The figure shows how data flows from host X to Y. including converged data and voice networks. At each hop across the network. Page : 04 of 13 . the complete path is determined by the initial label value.

WHITE PAPER MPLS. label value} to decide the pairing {outgoing interface. The egress LSRs strip the labels from the packets and forward them using Layer 3 routing. An LSP can be established that crosses multiple Layer 2 transports such as ATM. Frame Relay or Ethernet. a label could correspond to an ATM VPI/ VCI. LSR C and LSR D act as egress LSRs from the MPLS network. bearing label value 47. along with the swapping of label value and forwarding of the packet. resiliency to faults and reduced equipment and operational costs. These LSRs perform the same lookup as the intermediate LSRs. Thus. label value} with which to forward the packet. For other Layer 2 types (such as Ethernet and PPP) the label is added to the data packet as a MPLS shim header. across any type of transport medium.A Unified Future LSR B is an intermediate LSR in the MPLS network. RPR provides advantage over those protocols by removing the shortcomings of those protocols. or a TDM timeslot. which is placed between the Layer 2 and Layer 3 headers. For example. Packets with label value 17 will be relabeled with value 11 and sent towards LSR C. RPR and ASON in the Metro . but the {outgoing interface. A generalized label has been proposed for extending this concept into optical networks to encompass TDM. a DWDM wavelength. eliminating the need for overlay networks or Layer 2 only control mechanisms. a label could correspond to a fiber. each packet with label value 21 will be dispatched out of the interface towards LSR D. one of the true promises of MPLS is the ability to create end-to-end circuits. The exact format of a label and how it is added to the packet depends on the Layer 2 link technology used in the MPLS network. In a similar way. wavelength switching (lambdas) and spatial switching (at a fiber level) and is called Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) The benefits offered by a MPLS based network are as follows. • • Simplified and fast forwarding Separation of routing and forwarding in IP networks facilitates evolution of routing techniques by fixing the forwarding method new routing functionality can be deployed without changing the forwarding techniques of every router in the Internet Traffic engineering Constraint-based routing Virtual private networks Controllable tunneling mechanism • • Resilient Packet Rings (RPR) Metropolitan and WAN networks are widely deployed on an optical ring network. with specific performance characteristics. These rings use protocols that are neither optimized nor scalable to the demands of packet networks that include speed of deployment. Page : 05 of 13 . This procedure can use a simple lookup table and can be performed in hardware. In the example. a Frame Relay DLCI. bandwidth allocation and throughput. It simply takes each labeled packet and uses the pairing {incoming interface. label value} pair marks the packet as exiting the LSP.

RPR uses a bi-directional ring. congestion intimation will be sent to the upstream node so that node may throttle its rate of packet transmission. resiliency through fault protection. If congestion is experienced in a node. Fiber Cut Wrapped Wrapped Outer Ring Packet Ring Inner Ring Figure 2: RPR protection illustrated Page : 06 of 13 .WHITE PAPER MPLS. multicasting. and bandwidth sharing as compared with a broadcast media as Ethernet.A Unified Future RPR is a Media Access Control protocol providing a scalable LAN/MAN/WAN architecture with a shared access method. Resiliency RPR. scalability across a large number of stations and dynamic topology learning. through Intelligent Protection Switching recovers fully from any disturbance like fiber cut within 50ms of its occurrence by wrapping data packets away from the failed span. A node on a ring needs to do three packet handling operations. adding a packet into the ring. spatial re-use. Fairness RPR uses a fairness algorithm to regulate the bandwidth usage by each node by ensuring fair usage of the ring bandwidth thereby maximizing ring utilization. The following figure shows a typical ring protection in action. The wrapped data can reach the destination by going around the ring in opposite direction. In addition. This can be seen as two symmetric counter-rotating rings. Topology discovery will discover the new topology as soon as a wrap happens so that new optimal path for all nodes in the ring will be learnt. forwarding a packet and taking a packet off the ring. This reduces the amount of work that individual nodes have to do compared to a mesh network where each node has a lot of decisions to make before forwarding. It also provides media independent service interface from MAC to PHY layer. A brief description of the parameters associated with a RPR follows. RPR and ASON in the Metro . viz. the assumption of a ring topology allows better resiliency. This is an easy method of preventing neighboring nodes from acting as ‘bandwidth hogs’. RPR technology is the key for integration of legacy and Ethernet technologies as they interact with existing SONET or DWDM transport deployments.

The growing trend of data traffic is also posing challenges not only in terms of volumes but also related to the burst and asymmetrical nature of such traffic. The transport networks should fulfill new emerging requirements such as fast and automatic end-to-end provisioning. modify connections and status enquiry of connections Neighbor discovery to provide automatic discovery of the physical interfaces and properties of directly connected routers or cross-connects and service discovery to provide automatic discovery of the services available over a UNI Different path computation mechanisms based on service classes with the information from neighbor discovery and service discovery Path restoration mechanisms in case of link failures with localization of faults and application of different restoration mechanisms Client-driven provisioning functionality for addition/deletion of bandwidth. An Automatically Switched Optical Network meets these given requirements. This process is both slow (takes weeks to months) and proves costly to the network providers.A Unified Future RPR will • Support a minimum data rate of 155Mb/s. support of multiple clients. Page : 07 of 13 . scalable to higher speeds • Support dual counter rotating ring over fiber optic • Efficient use of bandwidth by the use of spatial reuse and minimal protocol overhead • Support for three traffic classes • Scalability across a large number of stations attached to a ring • “Plug and play” design without a software based station management transfer (SMT) protocol or ring master negotiation as seen in other ring based MAC protocols • Fairness among nodes using the ring (Each station can be assigned a proportion of the ring bandwidth). deployment of Optical Virtual Private Networks (OVPN) and interworking of IP-based and Optical Transport Networks. RPR and ASON in the Metro .) • Provide media independent service interface from MAC to PHY layer Automatically Switched Optical Networks (ASON) The existing transport networks that provide SONET/SDH and WDM services have connections that are provisioned via network management protocols. delete connections. • Support for ring based redundancy (error detection.WHITE PAPER MPLS. The emergence of enterprise networking and end-user applications causes abrupt fall and rise in bandwidth demand. • Quick and dynamic end-to-end connection management to create end-to-end connections of different connection types and granularity. Upon request. An ASON may be typically realized using a GMPLS based control plane for signaling. automatic provisioning is done without manual intervention • • • The optical transport network (OTN) needs to provide a User-to-Network Interface (UNI) that allows client network devices to request connections across it dynamically. ring wrap etc. optical re-routing and restoration.

For quite some time these two different network architectures will co-exist as they both have advantages and disadvantages. The figure below shows how various technologies that are being discussed will work together to achieve a unified solution for the Metro Networks.Network to Network Interface Figure 3: An architecture diagram of an ASON The Unified Network Metro networks are currently predominantly SONET based rings with mesh networks also making appearance because of their advantages. RPR and ASON in the Metro . which probably would be the architecture of the future considering a proliferation of DWDM into the metro area. It also assumes a mesh-based architecture for the core. Page : 08 of 13 . This network uses existing optical infrastructure that was primarily designed for voice traffic (SONET) and enhances the same for carrying data.WHITE PAPER MPLS.User to Network Interface UNI .A Unified Future The ASON control plane defines a set of interfaces: • User-Network Interface (UNI): UNI runs between the optical client and the network • Internal Node-to-Node Interface (I-NNI): I-NNI defines the interface between the signaling network elements • External Node-to-Node Interface (E-NNI): E-NNI defines the interface between ASON control planes in different administrative domains Signaling and routing within the optical network (could be GMPLS) Optical Network Optical Subnet NNI UNI NNI Optical Subnet UNI End-to-end path (LSP) Optical Subnet Optical Path UNI .

The RPR nodes get input from the MPLS enabled routers connected to the enterprise network. The GMPLS enabled optical network creates an LSP from the source node to the destination for the requested bandwidth and appropriate QoS. RPR and ASON in the Metro . The route through which the RPR traffic is transported over the transport network will be transparent to the RPR nodes. An edge node of a TDM network element connected to the transport network as in the figure can request for bandwidth from the core optical network dynamically when configured as a UNI client.A Unified Future UNI RRR DWDM LONG HAI II MPLS Core router TDM UNI MPLS RRR GMPLS UNI GMPLS GMPLS GMPLS RRR LONG HAUL NETWORK UNI SONET NETWORK Inter metro Connectivity ADJACENT METROPOLITAN AREA MPLS RRR RRR enabled router GMPL enabled OXC / SONET node Client device . RPR will enhance the bandwidth utilization and provides effective protection to deal with any failure or faults occurring in the RPR ring. Page : 09 of 13 . A virtual ring is formed from a setup of LSPs through the network connecting the RPR nodes.WHITE PAPER MPLS. the enterprise router may request a deletion of the connection thereby releasing network bandwidth that may otherwise not be used until the next transfer. An RPR can be configured over this transport network as shown in the figure. When the transfer is complete. The enterprise may configure to backup the data at pre-determined intervals and the enterprise router which is UNI enabled can request the transport network for additional bandwidth to the associated router in the data center for transfer of information. This optical network will provide dynamic and fast provisioning of connections as and when requested.Router Enterprise Network RRR based ring through the network Figure 4: The unified future network The optical transport network is ASON enabled using GMPLS. A typical example of the use of UNI is for connecting a network data center and an enterprise. This is an example of a typical bandwidth-on-demand service that can be realized by using this network.

Integration of DWDM in the metro will provide more value to the provider in terms of increased network utilization for a relatively lower establishment cost. MPLS is already established in the network and RPR and ASON are expected to be in the network in a short span of time.A Unified Future Benefits of the Unified Solution • • • • • • Better utilization of the bandwidth in the network Faster and dynamic connection provisioning because of less manual intervention Rapid fault restoration based on different classes of service and priorities Scalability: The network can be re-organized based on client needs Coexistence with already existing legacy infrastructure Reduction in the operational cost Complexities Involved • • Network management will be complex due to the different technologies. RPR and ASON in the Metro .WHITE PAPER MPLS. their associated architectures and existence of the multiple level control plane RPR doesn’t lend itself to traffic engineering well as it always takes the shortest path available from source to destination irrespective of the traffic load Conclusion The paper is an attempt to project a typical metro network into the future when all the technologies which are under various stages of development come into play. Page : 10 of 13 .

User Network Interface. a device that adds and drops digital/optical signals in a typical ring based network. with each signal carried at the same time on its own separate light wavelength.A Unified Future Glossary ADM Add Drop Multiplexer. Digital Signal Level 3 (44. a scheme in which numerous signals are combined for transmission on a single communications line. Resilient Packet Ring.7 Mbps.WHITE PAPER MPLS. Automatically Switched Optical Network. 672 voice channels).48 Gbps). Synchronous Digital Hierarchy. Dense WDM. Metropolitan Optical Network. Label Distribution Protocol. a protocol to distribute label information between MPLS peer routers Media Access Control is a data link sub-layer which is different for each physical device and controls access to the device. Metropolitan Area Networks. Multi-Protocol Label Switching is a technology for speeding up network traffic flow by switching at Layer 2 rather than looking up and routing at Layer 3 of the OSI stack. Optical Transport Network. Synchronous Optical Network. Network-Network Interface Optical Carrier 3/48 (155 Mbps/2. ASON DS-3 DWDM E-NNI GMPLS I-NNI LDP MAC MAN MON MPLS NNI OC-3/OC-48 OTN RPR SDH SMT SONET TDM UNI Page : 11 of 13 . the interface between a client device and the network device. International standard technology for synchronous data transmission on optical media. a North American based technology for synchronous data transmission on optical media. An optical signal rate typically used in metros. Generic Multi-Protocol Label Switching. interface between two networking subnetwork domains. External NNI. data rate. technology that puts data from different sources together on an optical fiber. RPR and ASON in the Metro . Internal NNI interfaces between networking elements in the same sub network domain. Station Management Transfer. Time Division Multiplexing.

The Cisco SRP (Spatial Reuse Protocol) MAC Layer Protocol)’ 3) ‘MPLS in Optical Networks : An analysis of the features of MPLS and GMPLS and their application to Optical Networks . routers. RPR. Shri Krishan and RamNarayan S are design engineers at Wipro Technologies and they work with various technologies across different domains ranging from voice switching. Wipro provides comprehensive IT solutions and services (including systems integration. Page : 12 of 13 . network management and optical ADMs.WHITE PAPER MPLS. and MPLS work together: The Unified Future of Metro Networking’ By Tim Wu. Kandasamy Varadharaj. RPR and ASON in the Metro .with Reference to the Link Management Protocol and Optical UNI” by Neil Jerram and Adrian Farrel. software application development and maintenance) and Research & Development services (hardware and software design. IS outsourcing.A Unified Future References 1) ‘How Ethernet. About Wipro Technologies Wipro is the first PCMM Level 5 and SEI CMMi Level 5 certified IT Services Company globally. Riverstone Networks 2) ‘RFC 2892 . development and implementation) to corporations globally. Wipro’s unique value proposition is further delivered through our pioneering Offshore Outsourcing Model and stringent Quality Processes of SEI and Six Sigma. About the Authors Gayathri Manoj. Data Connection’ 4) ‘Metropolitan Optical Networks: Overview and Requirements’ by Sorrento Networks. package implementation.

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