Extreme unveils Ethernet/MPLS

Extreme is shipping MPLS Ethernet solutions which it says will offer profound advantages to metropolitan area networks.

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By  Jon Tullett Published  May 2, 2001

Extreme is pushing harder to get Ethernet into metro networks with its recent announcement of MPLS-based Ethernet solutions.

MPLS (Multi-protocol Label Switching_ is an IETF initiative that integrates Layer 2 information about network links (bandwidth, latency, utilisation) into Layer 3 (IP), in order to simplify and improve IP-packet exchange. MPLS gives network operators extra flexibility to divert and route traffic around link failures, congestion, and bottlenecks, as well as improve QoS.

When packets enter a MPLS-based network, Label Edge Routers (LERs) give them a label (identifier). These labels not only contain information based on the routing table entry (i.e., destination, bandwidth, delay, and other metrics), but also refer to the IP header field (source IP address), Layer 4 socket number information, and differentiated service. Once this classification is complete and mapped, different packets are assigned to corresponding Labelled Switch Paths (LSPs), where Label Switch Routers (LSRs) place outgoing labels on the packets.

The first release of Extreme Networks' MPLS solution includes Ethernet over MPLS based on Draft-Martini, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) working draft describing methods for transporting the Protocol Data Units (PDUs) of Layer 2 protocols across MPLS networks.

Extreme’s MPLS solution provides transparent tunnelling of Ethernet and SONET based services, combined with per-packet and network-wide QoS capabilities. In addition, it offers traffic engineering and fast path restoration. This creates a carrier class and readily interoperable network infrastructure spanning the geographic reach of metro and wide-area networks, the vendor claimed.

Extreme Networks' MPLS solution, shipping in June, consists of an extensible network processor and software-based module integrated with Extreme Networks' BlackDiamond core switching solution.

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