June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Computing & Information Technology
26.1164.1 - 26.1164.16
Modeling Multi-Protocol Label Switching Networks in the LaboratoryThe advantage of multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) over other wide-area network (WAN)technologies has led to its recent growth and adoption in enterprise and service providernetworks. Giving students opportunities to study and build MPLS networks either as part of aninstructional lab course or for research applications can be beneficial in their future careers.However it is challenging to build an appropriate lab network. Simulators such as OPNET canmodel complex MPLS networks, but routers are modeled at high level. Designing, researchingand implementing a low cost network solution with actual routers gives students invaluablepractical experience.This paper describes a simple, small-scale, lab network that allows students to experiment withkey capabilities of MPLS. The network was used to model a basic MPLS configuration, anytransport over MPLS (AToM) and MPLS Layer 3 VPNs and it provides a foundation for furtheradvanced MPLS configurations such as virtual private LAN service (VPLS), Ethernet VPN(EVPN) and MPLS traffic engineering. The lab network was implemented with open-shortest-path-first (OSPF) and border gateway protocol (BGP) but other routing protocols may be used.Laboratory experiments based on the MPLS network with associated learning objectives arediscussed.MPLS is a WAN technology that is normally implemented on core and distribution routers. Itcan be challenging to find a suitable, low-cost router for academic lab networks. Our lab hadsome Cisco 2851 access routers available and recently Cisco began supporting MPLS in itsinternet operating system (IOS) on these smaller platforms. Other router and IOS selections arepossible and some alternatives are discussed.
Cole, J. E., & Thain, W. E., & Fallon, T. (2015, June), Modeling Multi-protocol Label Switching Networks in the Laboratory Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24501
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