Both large and small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) constantly face the challenges
of adapting their networks to support rapid growth and customer demand for more
reliable and differentiated services. Moreover, many carriers found it cost-effective
to multiplex Internet traffic as one of many services carried over an ATM core.
Recently, the growth of Internet services and Wavelength Division Multiplexing
(WDM) technology at the fiber level have provided a viable alternative to ATM
for multiplexing multiple services over individual circuits. In addition, the
once faster and higher bandwidth ATM switches are being out-performed by Internet
backbone routers. Equally important, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) offers
simpler mechanisms for packet-oriented traffic engineering and multiservice functionality
with the added benefit of greater scalability. MPLS emerged from the IETF's effort
to standardize a number of proprietary multilayer switching solutions that were
initially proposed in the mid-1990s. To help you appreciate the importance of
MPLS and its impact on the Internet core, the first half of this paper describes
the forces that motivated the development and evolution of these different solutions,
focusing on the common features and design considerations shared by the different
solutions-the complete separation of the control component from the forwarding
component and the use of a label-swapping forwarding paradigm.
Over the past few years, a number of new technologies have been designed to support
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as they try to keep a step ahead of the Internet's
explosive growth. The latest technological advances include Internet backbone
routers, new queuing and scheduling algorithms, IPSEC, web-caching services, directory
services, and integrated routing/forwarding solutions. While all these technologies
are critical for the successful operation and continued growth of the Internet,
the evolution of routing functionality is essential if ISPs want to provide support
for a new class of revenue-generating customer services.
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is the latest step in the evolution of routing/forwarding
technology for the core of the Internet. MPLS delivers a solution that seamlessly
integrates the control of IP routing with the simplicity of Layer 2 switching.
Furthermore, MPLS provides a foundation that supports the deployment of advanced
routing services because it solves a number of complex problems:
MPLS addresses the scalability issues associated with the currently deployed IP-over-ATM
" MPLS significantly reduces the complexity of network
" MPLS facilitates the delivery of new routing capabilities
that enhance conventional IP routing techniques.
" MPLS offers a standards-based
solution that promotes multivendor interoperability.
MPLS emerged from the IETF's effort to standardize a set of proprietary multilayer
switching solutions that were originally developed in the mid-1990s.
understand the essence of MPLS and its role in the Internet, it is valuable to
look back and examine the forces that stimulated the development of these proprietary
multilayer switching approaches and how they were ultimately integrated into MPLS
Equivalence Class (FEC):- A group of IP packets which are forwarded in the same
manner (e.g. over the same path, with the same forwarding treatment)
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