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VPLS Supports Operational Management

As Figure 1 shows, the PE and CE devices implement the Ethernet-based multisite LAN service. Operating in conjunction with a high-speed network core, the PE nodes forward Ethernet frames from the CEs into VFIs. From there, MPLS-encapsulated frames are pushed into LSPs that span the network core.

Clearly, the VFIs are a crucial element in the VPLS. Each must be explicitly associated with a PE node interface. The attached LSP then forms a logical link to the associated VFIs on the peer PE nodes. Each PE node and VFI combination then "serves" a block of attached Ethernet MAC addresses.

Configuring the network devices is decidedly nontrivial. Following are some of the required management tasks:

  • Deploying software on the CE, PE, and P nodes

  • Configuring routing protocols—OSPF, IS-IS, BGP

  • Configuring MPLS protocols—RSVP-TE, LDP

  • Configuring traffic engineering

  • Configuring QoS—DiffServ, IntServ

Figure 1 features a tiny network. A real network could contain thousands of nodes, so it's easy to see that the number of nodes, interfaces, and links can grow to large numbers. The latter must all be configured; in many cases, on a regular basis. In addition, network changes (such as new devices or extra links) can cause disruption.

The provision of feature-rich, carrier-class network management system technology is in many ways more important than the deployed devices. This situation will be seen more often as the density of network devices and the deployed services grows. For more on these and related topics, see my book Network Management, MIBs and MPLS: Principles, Design and Implementation (Prentice Hall, 2003, ISBN 0131011138).

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