MPLS and VPN Architectures

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A practical guide to understanding, designing, and deploying MPLS and MPLS-enabled VPNs

  • In-depth analysis of the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) architecture
  • Detailed discussion of the mechanisms and features that constitute the architecture
  • Learn how MPLS scales to support tens of thousands of VPNs
  • Extensive case studies guide you through the design and deployment of real-world MPLS/VPN networks
  • Configuration examples and guidelines assist in configuring MPLS on Cisco┬« devices
  • Design and implementation options help you build various VPN topologies

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is an innovative technique for high-performance packet forwarding. There are many uses for this new technology, both within a service-provider environment and within the enterprise network, and the most widely deployed usage today is the enabling of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). With the introduction of MPLS-enabled VPNs, network designers are able to better scale their networks than with the methods available in the past.

Network engineers and administrators need quick, effective education on this technology to efficiently deploy MPLS-enabled VPNs within their networks. With that goal in mind, MPLS and VPN Architectures provides an in-depth discussion particular to Cisco's MPLS architecture. This book covers MPLS theory and configuration, network design issues, and case studies as well as one major MPLS application: MPLS-based VPNs. The MPLS/VPN architecture and all its mechanisms are explained with configuration examples, suggested design and deployment guidelines, and extensive case studies.

MPLS and VPN Architectures is your practical guide to understanding, designing, and deploying MPLS and MPLS-based VPNs.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
MPLS is moving rapidly from standards bodies to interoperability labs to real-world enterprise, service provider, and carrier environments. The growing buzz over optical IP positions MPLS as a "holy grail" technology for finally unifying network configuration, management, and real-time provisioning. Even now, real organizations are saving money and maximizing flexibility with MPLS-based VPNs. Want to know how to make MPLS work for you? Then you want MPLS and VPN Architectures.

The authors, both CCIEs, start by reviewing the scalability and flexibility limitations that led to MPLS, and explaining how MPLS overcomes them. Next, you'll find detailed coverage of both frame-mode and cell-mode MPLS operation; practical approaches to deploying MPLS in intranet and extranet environments; and a detailed migration case study.

Part II -- two-thirds of the book -- focuses specifically on MPLS-based VPNs. You'll consider both approaches to MPLS VPNs, overlay and peer-to-peer. You'll review options for connecting providers and customers; master sophisticated techniques such as route reflector hierarchies and BGP confederations; and learn how MPLS can be used in "carrier's carrier" and inter-provider environments. Whatever your application, MPLS and VPN Architectures can help you implement MPLS with minimum hassle -- and maximum benefit.(Bill Camarda)

--Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jersey-based marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000.

From The Critics
An overview of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) architecture and configuration, as well as MPLS based virtual private networks (VPNs). Topics include frame- and cell-mode MPLS operation, running frame-mode MPLS across switched WAN media, VPN implementation options, architecture operation, provider edge to customer edge connectivity options, advanced topologies, guidelines for MPLS/VPN deployment, and an IP tunneling to MPLS/VPN migration case study. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587050022
  • Publisher: Cisco Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: Networking Technology Series
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE #1354, is the Executive Director of the technical division at NIL, Cisco's gold partner, training partner, and professional services provider. Ivan has more than 10 years of experience in designing, installing, troubleshooting, and operating large corporate and service provider networks, many of them based on the EIGRP routing protocol. He is also the creator of several advanced IP routing protocol courses, including the advanced EIGRP configuration and troubleshooting course that is offered by Cisco and NIL to their European customers.

Jim Guichard, CCIE #2069, is a Network Design Consultant at Cisco Systems who has extensive experience with designing, migrating, and deploying large-scale IP networks. Jim has used his practical knowledge to assist many of Cisco's largest customers with their network rollouts. He has worked closely with Cisco development and has spent much time researching and testing MPLS-VPN functionality, both within the lab environment and within multiple customer deployments throughout Europe.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Multiprotocol Label Switching(MPLS) Architecture Overview

Traditional IP packet forwarding analyzes the destination IP address contained in the network layer header of each packet as the packet travels from its source to its final destination. A muter analyzes the destination IP address independently at each hop in the network. Dynamic routing protocols or static configuration builds the database needed to analyze the destination IP address (the routing table). The process of implementing traditional IP routing also is called hop-by-hop destination-based unicast routing.

Although successful, and obviously widely deployed, certain restrictions, which have been realized for some time, exist for this method of packet forwarding that diminish its flexibility. New techniques are therefore required to address and expand the functionality of an IP-based network infrastructure.

This first chapter concentrates on identifying these restrictions and presents a new architecture, known as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), that provides solutions to some of these restrictions. The following chapters focus first on the details of the MPLS architecture in a pure muter environment, and then in a mixed muter/ATM switch environment.

Scalability and Flexibility of IP-based Forwarding

To understand all the issues that affect the scalability and the flexibility of traditional IP packet forwarding networks, you must start with a review of some of the basic IP forwarding mechanisms and their interaction with the underlying infrastructure (local- or wide-area networks). With this information, you can identify any drawbacks to the existing approach and perhaps provide alternative ideas on how this could be improved.

Network Layer Routing Paradigm

Traditional network layer packet forwarding (for example, forwarding of IP packets across the Internet) relies on the information provided by network layer routing protocols (for example, Open Shortest Path First [OSPF] or Border Gateway Protocol [BGP]), or static routing, to make an independent forwarding decision at each hop (muter) within the network. The forwarding decision is based solely on the destination unicast IP address. All packets for the same destination follow the same path across the network if no other equal-cost paths exist. Whenever a muter has two equal-cost paths toward a destination, the packets toward the destination might take one or both of them, resulting in some degree of load sharing.

Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) also supports non-equal-cost load sharing although the default behavior of this protocol is equal-cost. You must configure EIGRP variance for non-equal-cost load balancing. Please see EIGRP Network Design Solutions (ISBN 1-57870-165-1), from Cisco Press for more details on EIGRP.

Load sharing in Cisco IOS can be performed on a packet-by-packet or source-destinationpair basis (with Cisco Express Forwarding [CEF] switching) or on a destination basis (most of the other switching methods).

Routers perform the decision process that selects what path a packet takes. These network layer devices participate in the collection and distribution of network-layer information, and perform Layer 3 switching based on the contents of the network layer header of each packet. You can connect the routers directly by point-to-point links or local-area networks (for example, shared hub or MAU), or you can connect them by LAN or WAN switches (for example, Frame Relay or ATM switches). These Layer 2 (LAN or WAN) switches unfortunately do not have the capability to hold Layer 3 routing information or to select the path taken by a packet through analysis of its Layer 3 destination address. Thus, Layer 2 (LAN or WAN) switches cannot be involved in the Layer 3 packet forwarding decision process. In the case of the WAN environment, the network designer has to establish Layer 2 paths manually across the WAN network. These paths then forward Layer 3 packets between the routers that are connected physically to the Layer 2 network.

LAN Layer 2 paths are simple to establish-all LAN switches are transparent to the devices connected to them. The WAN Layer 2 path establishment is more complex. WAN Layer 2 paths usually are based on a point-to-point paradigm (for example, virtual circuits in most WAN networks) and are established only on request through manual configuration. Any routing device (ingress muter) at the edge of the Layer 2 network that wants to forward Layer 3 packets to any other routing device (egress muter) therefore needs to either establish a direct connection across the network to the egress device or send its data to a different device for transmission to the final destination. Consider, for example, the network shown in Figure 1-1...

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Table of Contents

Pt. I MPLS Technology and Configuration 3
Ch. 1 Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Architecture Overview 5
Ch. 2 Frame-mode MPLS Operation 23
Ch. 3 Cell-mode MPLS Operation 49
Ch. 4 Running Frame-mode MPLS Across Switched WAN Media 65
Ch. 5 Advanced MPLS Topics 73
Ch. 6 MPLS Migration and Configuration Case Study 97
Pt. II MPLS-based Virtual Private Networks 113
Ch. 7 MPLS Troubleshooting 115
Ch. 8 Virtual Private Network (VPN) Implementation Options 129
Ch. 9 MPLS/VPN Architecture Overview 161
Ch. 10 MPLS/VPN Architecture Operation 183
Ch. 11 Provider Edge (PE) to Customer Edge (CE) Connectivity Options 225
Ch. 12 Advanced MPLS/VPN Topologies 255
Ch. 13 Advanced MPLS/VPN Topics 269
Ch. 14 Guidelines for the Deployment of MPLS/VPN 339
Ch. 15 Carrier's Carrier and Inter-provider VPN Solutions 377
Ch. 16 IP Tunneling to MPLS/VPN Migration Case Study 407
Ch. 17 MPLS VPN Troubleshooting 425
App. A: Answers to Review Questions 443
App. B Tag-switching and MPLS Command Reference 461
Index 465
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