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Optical/IP

MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost

DENVER, Colo. -- Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is being touted as the protocol of choice for next-generation core networking. But incumbent carriers are reluctant to leave their old Sonet networks behind.

That is the mindset the current crop of MPLS technology vendors are facing. Currently, several technical drafts that aim to solve this problem are being debated in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). One is MPLS Fast Reroute, a mechanism that routes traffic around network outages using a predetermined path and provides telecommunications networks the same 50 millisecond protection as Sonet. One of the hits against this approach, however, is that it doesn’t scale well in large networks.

Yesterday, here at MPLScon, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) added momentum to the movement, announcing a new product called Tunnel Builder Pro that enhances MPLS Fast Reroute and makes it much easier for large carriers to implement the technology.

In some ways, this is a simple product enhancement to existing Cisco capabilities. But it could also be viewed as a significant development in the MPLS Fast Reroute technology, particularly for carriers with large networks, because it provides them with a tool that will calculate alternative network paths.

“The success of MPLS in the ILEC market hinges on whether or not vendors can really make Fast Reroute work as effectively as Sonet,” says Irwin Lazar, practice manager with the Burton Group and conference director for MPLScon.

Cisco, Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) support this specification in their products. But Cisco, which actually wrote the first version of Fast Reroute, is the only one that has developed a separate software application, one that runs separately on a Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) Solaris server. It automatically calculates the best routes offline and uploads that information to Cisco routers throughout the network, so that when an outage occurs, the routers know which alternative to use.

A small software management company called Cariden Technologies has developed a similar tool that can be used with third-party routers. In a multivendor environment, Cariden will likely work just as well as Cisco’s solution, says the Burton Group’s Lazar.

Even Cisco competitors say this advance is important. “Anything that can be done to improve Fast Reroute is a good thing,” says Gary Leonard, director of solutions marketing for Riverstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTN) and an MPLS Forum representative. “The more developments in this area, the better.”

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com
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skeptic 12/4/2012 | 9:35:55 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost
But Cisco, which actually wrote the first version of Fast Reroute, is the only one that has developed a separate software application, one that runs separately on a Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW - message board) Solaris server.
---------------------

Can anyone back up the claim that cisco wrote
the first version of fast reroute? What I
remember is that Juniper organated it and
made it a real product.

The cisco stepped in and created an alternate
version of fast reroute that nobody really
seemed to have wanted.

And then at the beginning of this year, the
two fast reroutes were combined into one
ietf draft (which still contained two different
methods).

Anyway, this is not an important advance. Its
not like cisco was the first company to come
up with offline traffic engineering tools.



Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 9:35:53 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost Its not like cisco was the first company to come up with offline traffic engineering tools.


That's correct, offline calculation tools have been around for a while.

I don't get what this article is about, it seems to pimp Cisco's offline calculation tool, but it makes it seem like this tool is a new way of doing fast-reroute... without saying what's actually new about Cisco's fast reroute itself, if anything.

Fast reroute is done by the routers when they setup LSPs. Offline calculation is done by the software on the SUN box. The article doesn't explain at all how the software helps fast reroute.

Come on, do some more work here LR.
beltway_light 12/4/2012 | 9:35:50 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost >Can anyone back up the claim that cisco wrote
>the first version of fast reroute? What I
>remember is that Juniper organated it and
>made it a real product.

I would say cisco and juniper came about two
different ways of doing FRR about at the same
time. it really depends on the network, either
solution has advantages over the other.

>Anyway, this is not an important advance. Its
>not like cisco was the first company to come
>up with offline traffic engineering tools.

both cisco and juniper ways of FRR are very
messy if the network has lots of LSPs and
links to protect. Automatic backup LSPs are
usually not optimized. To have a tool to
compute and optimize the backup LSPs is not
a bad idea. I guess this is not a generic
TE tools, but it's a more specialized to
relieve the burden of figuring out all the
backup LSPs for FRR in the network.


lob 12/4/2012 | 9:35:49 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost This industry never had any ethics in regard to giving credit where it is due.
drewsmith 12/4/2012 | 9:35:48 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost Great. I now have a Sun box figuring how to route my phone calls. Why does IP (layer 3) have to replace SONET (layer 1)?

Answer: IT DOESN'T and never will.

imref 12/4/2012 | 9:35:40 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost the cisco tool not only does off-line calculation, but also handles provisioning, it would be worth your time to read the release and background info before commenting.

there are a couple of advantages to MPLS FRR over SONET protection:
- rather than reserving unused capacity for link protection, you can load share over all links - thus improving network efficiency (e.g. saving money)

- with MPLS FRR you can do node protection rather than link protection, FRR allows you concentrate on protecting paths between end points instead of protecting each and every link

there is a pretty good business case here that by using FRR you can reduce bandwidth needs, provide highlly resilient services at a lower cost, and maximize investments in existing capacity.

ref
Multicriteria 12/4/2012 | 9:35:39 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost "Why does IP (layer 3) have to replace SONET (layer 1)?"

---

1. SONET protection is more expensive
2. SONET protection does not protect against node failure
3. SONET protection results in much more unused network capacity
jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 9:35:35 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost imref wrote:

"there are a couple of advantages to MPLS FRR over SONET protection:
- rather than reserving unused capacity for link protection, you can load share over all links - thus improving network efficiency (e.g. saving money)"

>>> You can run "low priority" traffic over
the protected link. OR you can have the same
link on protected paths of multiple connections.


- with MPLS FRR you can do node protection rather than link protection, FRR allows you concentrate on protecting paths between end points instead of protecting each and every link

>>> This could be true ONLY if a node goes
down in a way that leaves the physical interfaces
in up state i.e. controller card software
went down. This can be detected through loss
of heartbeat/keepalive/RSVP refresh etc messages.

I am still not getting it -- why MPLS? The core
is usually ATM and you can run voice and IP over
your ATM cloud. Mind you I am not advocating ATM.
What is the pain that carriers are trying to
look the medicine for?
myoptic 12/4/2012 | 9:35:35 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost To be precise, Cisco was the first to submit a Fast Reroute/MPLS Local Protection draft to the IETF but Juniper was the first to actually release software support FRR.

Cisco introduced the first FRR draft in Oct '99 using the bypass object (draft-swallow-rsvp-bypass-label-00.txt) This draft was criticized for the inability to control backup paths & LSPs.

Juniper followed in April '01 with their FRR (draft-gan-fast-reroute-00.txt) which used the detour object. It enabled control of backup paths and LSPs but was criticized for poor manageability due to the lack of "make-before-break", inability to share bandwidth on backup tunnels, and lack of interoperability with Cisco's draft.

In Dec '01, Avici introduced a third draft (draft-atlas-rsvp-local-protect-interop-01.txt) which addressed many shortcomings of the 2 previous drafts and enabled interoperability.

The latest IETF draft borrows from and replaces all three previous drafts.
myoptic 12/4/2012 | 9:35:34 PM
re: MPLS Fast Reroute Gets a Boost >> I am still not getting it -- why MPLS? The core
is usually ATM and you can run voice and IP over
your ATM cloud. Mind you I am not advocating ATM.
What is the pain that carriers are trying to
look the medicine for?


- In a nutshell, MPLS provides more selective protection than SONET because protection can be applied on a per-LSP basis. With SONET APS you're protecting everything - even the best-efforts traffic with no SLA. With FRR, you only protect the premium traffic you need to.

Yes, it adds complexity but as the config tools evolve the business case is compelling.
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