September 20, 2010

Cross-Domain VPLS Deployment Strategies

There are several methods for using BGP virtual private LAN service (VPLS) to scale VPLS in an existing LDP-VPLS network. These methods do not require any changes on LDP-VPLS provider edge (PE) routers, but rather enable VPLS to scale by using BGP VPLS and using LDP-BGP VPLS interworking. BGP VPLS can also be used to extend the reach of VPLS from a single LDP-VPLS metro domain to the intermetro WAN. This scheme allows service providers to offer regional or national VPLS in an economical, efficient, and scalable manner.

VPLS is a key technology in the delivery of multipoint Ethernet service. Service providers are using VPLS to offer transparent LAN service to enterprise customers. With the emergence of metro Ethernet networks, VPLS is also being used as an infrastructure technology. Service providers have shown significant interest in this technology, as measured by real VPLS deployments, including interprovider offerings. In general, the MPLS VPN market has seen explosive growth, and is forecast to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8 percent to US$6.4 billion by 2011.1 This growth will be further fueled by the efforts of major multiple service operators (MSOs), such as Comcast, and large service providers, such as Verizon (with its fiber optic service, FiOS), to target small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Most major service providers already employ an IP/MPLS backbone and offer Layer 3 MPLS VPN services, and they are beginning to offer Layer 2 VPN services to both SMBs and large enterprises. VPLS appeals to enterprises in particular because it allows them to extend their reach beyond their LANs with the same Layer 2 Ethernet connectivity paradigm.

This increasing demand for VPLS requires a highly scalable VPLS network that supports many VPLS customers having multiple sites spread across geographically dispersed regions. A critical factor in growing a VPLS network is how well the underlying VPLS control plane scales. There are two standards for VPLS control planes: one uses BGP for autodiscovery and signaling of pseudowires (RFC 4761), and the other uses LDP for signaling of pseudowires (RFC 4762). The scaling characteristics of these two types of control plane differ vastly. BGP-VPLS signaling offers scaling advantages over LDP-VPLS signaling, and the BGP-VPLS autodiscovery feature offers superior operational scaling as well. These benefits have been confirmed in production deployments of BGP VPLS.

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1 Comment

This is a great, relatively technical overview paper - just what our community loves.

Even though some of the information is specific to Juniper, it's a great tutorial regardless of you exact choice supplier(s).

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