Advanced IP Network Design (CCIE Professional Development)


CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design provides the solutions network engineers and managers need to grow and stabilize large IP networks. Technology advancements and corporate growth inevitably lead to the necessity for network expansion. This book presents design concepts and techniques that enable networks to evolve into supporting larger, more complex applications while maintaining critical stability. CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design provides you with a basic ...
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CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design provides the solutions network engineers and managers need to grow and stabilize large IP networks. Technology advancements and corporate growth inevitably lead to the necessity for network expansion. This book presents design concepts and techniques that enable networks to evolve into supporting larger, more complex applications while maintaining critical stability. CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design provides you with a basic foundation to understand and implement the most efficient network design around the network core, distribution and access layers, and the common and edge network services. After establishing an efficient hierarchical network design, you will learn to apply OSPF, IS-IS, EIGRP, BGP, NHRP, and MPLS. Case studies support each protocol to provide you with valuable solutions to common stumbling blocks encountered when implementing an IGP- or EGP-based network.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alvaro Retana, ME #1609, is currently a Development Test Engineer in the Large Scale Switching and Routing Team, where he works first hand on advanced features in routing protocols. Formerly, Alvaro was a technical lead for both the Internet Service Provider Support Team and the Routing Protocols Team at the Technical Assistance Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He is an acknowledged expert in BGP and Internet architecture.

Don Slice, ME #1929, is an Escalation Engineer at RTP, North Carolina, and was formerly a Senior Engineer on the Routing Protocols Team in the RTP TAC. He is an acknowledged expert in EIGRP, OSPF, and general IP routing issues and is well-known for his knowledge of DECnet, CLNS/ISIS, DNS, among other things. Don provides escalation support to Cisco engineers worldwide.

Russ White, ME #2635, is an Escalation Engineer focusing on Routing Protocols and Architecture that supports Cisco engineers worldwide. Russ is well-known within Cisco for his knowledge of EIGRP, BGP, and other IP routing issues.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 7: EIGRP Network Design

...Analyzing Routes to the Common Services Area

The common services are connected to the core through two distribution routers and are also connected via multiple, parallel Ethernet links (or Fast Ethernet links), as illustrated in Figure 7-8. Whether these are truly separate physical links or VLANs connected through switches, to EIGRP they present the appearance of multiple parallel paths connecting the "back side" of the two distribution routers. One of the more typical errors made by network designers is to include all of these parallel paths as alternative paths for routes to reach much of the rest of the network. This section addresses how to avoid this condition.

Ideally, the servers on these segments point their default gateway to a Hot Standby Routing Protocol (HSRP) address shared by the two distribution routers. This design allows the servers on these segments to adapt to a router failure almost immediately.

Figure 7-8 Common Service Connections

These networks are not designed for transit traffic; that is, traffic is not expected to enter the common services distribution router from the core, go through one of the Fast Ethernet links used by the common services, and then exit through the other distribution router back to the core. EIGRP, however, won't know this by default. It will treat each of these links as an alternate path, storing information about them in the topology table, and propagating queries through them. These alternate paths complicate EIGRP's convergence.

To eliminate the possibility of these networks being used for transit traffic, the network manager shouldn't run EIGRP on any of these parallel Ethernet links. (Well, one or two should run EIGRP, but this is discussed following Figure 7-9.) Configuring passive-interface {interface} for an interface or subinterface will remove EIGRP from these interfaces.

To prevent the rest of the routers in the network from going active on individual segments supporting these servers, you should use the same strategy that is used everywhere else in the network. Summarize the subnets that reside on the common service Ethernet connections in both distribution layer routers so that they will send only a single summary route out to the core.

If a single Ethernet connection goes down in the common services area, the remainder of the network will not start the query process to find an alternative path. The query will stop at the first router that doesn't have knowledge of the specific subnet that has failed, which will be a core router.

There is one problem with this strategy though--it can create routing black holes in the same way that dual-homed remotes can. To understand why, examine Figure 7-9, which has all but two of the common services networks removed.

Figure 7-9 Simplified Common Services

Router A and Router B will both be advertising a summary of, which covers the entire address range but doesn't overlap with any other addresses in the network. (See Chapter 4 for more details.)

If Router A's interface on the network fails, Router A will continue advertising the summary toward the core. If, however, one of the core routers forwards a packet destined to the network toward Router A, Router A will drop it because it has no route for this destination--or even worse, it will send the packet back toward the core along its default route.

To resolve this situation, Router A must know that is reachable through Router B. This is why EIGRP should be run over at least one of these parallel Ethernet links. In order to do this, a passive-interface statement should NOT be put into the configuration for at least one Ethernet link. It would be even better if there were one or two links between these routers dedicated to redundancy (with no servers or other devices on them) to account for just this situation.

Analyzing Routes to Dial-in Clients

There are a number of issues and complications that dial-in access creates. This section discusses host routes created by the dial process and EIGRP bandwidth concerns.

Host Routes

Typically, dial in is handled through the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). When a PPP session is initiated, a host route (/32) is created on the access server for the remote site, and the host route is removed when the call is dropped. If there is a large number of dial-in clients, this can create a significant amount of network activity as the network reacts to these host routes appearing and disappearing.

There are two methods of eliminating this influx of network activity in EIGRP. First, you can define the command no ip peer host-route on the interface(s) of the access server, which will stop the host route from being created in the first place.

The second method you can use to eliminate the host routes is to summarize the host routes learned via the dial interfaces and allow only this summary route to be advertised toward the core. This summarization can be done by either configuring an ip summary-address autonomous system eigrp statement, or by using a distribute-list out statement, as discussed in "Case Study: Summarization Methods" later in the chapter.

If the client dialing in is normally included as part of a summary elsewhere in the network (for instance, a PC with an address that is normally part of one of the remote sites that dials into the access server), the more specific component that dialed in will need to be sent out nonsummarized.

It's impossible to get around advertising this host route because the access server can't advertise the same summary that the remote site router (or some router between the access layer and the core) is advertising without causing other routing problems.

If hosts will be dialing in using addresses that are summarized elsewhere in the network, the only way to resolve this is to place an access server for each region behind the summary point. An example of this technique is shown in Figure 7-10; the addresses for the dial-in clients will fall into the summaries that the distribution layer routers are already advertising. Some network administrators use this strategy to minimize components being advertised in the network, but many of them are content with the components being advertised.

Bandwidth Issues

Bandwidth can be an issue when routers are dialing into an access server (rather than individual hosts). EIGRP uses the bandwidth configured on the interface (using the bandwidth command) to determine the rate to pace EIGRP packets. EIGRP paces its packets so that it won't overwhelm the link by using 50% of the defined bandwidth by default. Because EIGRP relies on the bandwidth configured on the interface for packet pacing, it's very important for the interface to be configured correctly. (It should reflect the real bandwidth available on the link.)

If EIGRP believes that the interface has more bandwidth than is really available, it can dominate the link and not allow other traffic to flow. If EIGRP believes that the interface has much less bandwidth than it actually does, it may not be able to successfully send all of the updates, queries, or replies across the link due to the extended pacing interval.

To make things more complicated, the bandwidth is divided by the total number of remote peers on ISDN Primary Rate Interface (PRI) and dialer interfaces in an attempt to fairly distribute the available bandwidth between the neighbors that are reachable through that interface.

With Frame Relay multipoint interfaces, this works fine. With ISDN or dialer interfaces, however, you never know how many neighbors will be dialed in. If there is only one Basic Rate Interface (BRI) dialed in, the bandwidth should be defined as 64 K. If 23 BRIs are dialed in, then the bandwidth should be 1.544 M. Because the defined bandwidth doesn't change with the number of neighbors dialed in, you should set the bandwidth to make it work for both extremes by doing the following:

  • Define the dial-in interfaces as dialer profiles instead of dialer groups or dialer interfaces; this allows you to set the bandwidth per dialed-in peer. However, this is a very intense administrative approach.
  • Summarize the EIGRP updates out of the dial link to make the amount of traffic so insignificant that it can fit across the link regardless of how much bandwidth is actually available...
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Table of Contents


1. Hierarchical Design Principles.
2. Addressing & Summarization.
3. Redundancy.
4. Applying the Principles of Network Design.


5. OSPF Network Design.
6. IS-IS Network Design.
7. EIGRP Network Design.


8. BGP Cores and Network Scalability.
9. Other Large Scale Cores.

IV. Appendixes.

A. OSPF Fundamentals.
B. IS-IS Fundamentals.
C. EIGRP Fundamentals.
D. BGP Fundamentals.
E. Answers to the Review Questions.
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The inevitable law of networks seems to be the following: Anything that is small will grow large, anything that is large will grow into something huge, and anything that is huge will grow into a multinational juggernaut. The corollary to this law seems to be as follows: Once a network has become a multinational juggernaut, someone will come along and decide to switch from one routing protocol to another. They will add one more application, or a major core link will flap, and it will melt (during dinner, of course).

In CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design, we intend to present the basic concepts necessary to build a scalable network. Because we work in the "it's broken, fix it (yesterday!)" side of the industry, these basics will be covered through case studies as well as theoretical discussion. This book covers good ways to design things, some bad ways to design things, and general design principles. When it seems appropriate, we'll even throw in some troubleshooting tips for good measure. You will find the foundation that is necessary for scaling your network into whatever size it needs to be (huge is preferred, of course).

What Is Covered

CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design is targeted to networking professionals who already understand the basics of routing and routing protocols and want to move to the next step. A list of what's not covered in this book follows:

  • Anything other than Cisco routers--You wouldn't expect Cisco Press to publish a book with sample configurations from some other vendor, would you?
  • Router configuration--You won't learn how to configure a Cisco routerin CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design. The primary focus is on architecture and principles. We expect that everyone who reads this book will be able to find the configuration information that they need in the standard Cisco manuals.
  • Routing protocol operation--The appendixes cover the basic operation of the protocols used in the case studies, but this isn't the primary focus of our work.
  • Routing protocol choice--All advanced routing protocols have strengths and weaknesses. Our intent isn't to help you decide which one is the best, but we might help you decide which one is the best fit for your network. (Static routes have always been a favorite, though.)
  • RIP and IGRP--These are older protocols that we don't think are well suited to large scale network design. They may be mentioned here, but there isn't any extensive treatment of them.
  • Router sizing, choosing the right router for a given traffic load, and so forth--These are specific implementation details that are best left to another book. There are plenty of books on these topics that are readily available.
  • LAN or WAN media choice, circuit speeds, or other physical layer requirements--While these are important to scalability, they are not related to IP network design directly and are covered in various other books on building networks from a Layer 1 and 2 perspective.

OSPF, IS-IS, EIGRP, and BGP are included because they are advanced protocols, each with various strengths and weaknesses that are widely deployed in large-scale networks today. We don't doubt that other protocols will be designed in the future.

Good design is focused on in this book because the foundations of good design remain the same regardless of the link speeds, physical technologies, switching technology, switching speed, or routing protocol used. You won't get network stability by installing shiny, new Layer 2 switches or shiny, new super-fast routers.

You won't get network stability by switching from one advanced routing protocol to another (unless your network design just doesn't work well with the one you are using). Network stability doesn't even come from making certain that no one touches any of the routers (although, sometimes it helps).

You will get long nights of good sleep by putting together a well-designed network that is built on solid principles proven with time and experience.

Motivation for the Book

The main reason that we wrote this book is because we couldn't find any other books we liked that covered these topics. We also wrote it because we believe that Layer 3 network design is one of the most important and least covered topics in the networking field. We hope you enjoy reading CCIE Professional Development: Advanced IP Network Design and will use it as a reference for years to come.

So, sit back in your favorite easy chair and peruse the pages. You can tell your boss that you're scaling the network!

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