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Technology for the Next-Generation Internet - Protocols and Carrier Applications for Convergence

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has evolved into a key technology for efficiently operating and managing IP networks, and for facilitating network convergence. Indeed, several carriers today deploy MPLS as an integral part of their network engineering strategy, and most major vendors ship routers with MPLS support.

A major advantage of the MPLS architecture is its clear separation between the data forwarding plane, the signaling (connection control) plane, and the routing (topology discovery/resource status) plane, and its ability to admit various path setup and QoS paradigms with no change in the forwarding mechanisms (which is where it scores over vanilla IP routing).

A thorough understanding of MPLS technology, the issues involved in using it to enhance IP networks, and the protocol and system modifications needed to enable this, is crucial for building and deploying modern converged data networks, and for designing advanced packet or hybrid packet/TDM systems.

With this goal, this workshop focuses on:

  • Introduction to MPLS: initial history, and current provider motivations for MPLS development
  • Fundamental concepts: MPLS control & forwarding, forwarding equivalence class (FEC)
  • System architecture: MPLS node architecture, LSP, LER, LSR .
  • MPLS architecture: detailed operation of the forwarding and control components
  • Frame-mode and cell-mode MPLS: MPLS over Ethernet and ATM respectively.
  • Control protocols: signaling (RSVP-TE) and routing protocol (IGPs): function & operation
  • Advanced concepts: constraint-based routing (CBR), CSPF , Diff-serv and MPLS, Diff-serv aware MPLS: how they fit in, their role in an integrated network engineering strategy
  • Key applications: intra- and inter-domain traffic engineering and network optimization, fast re-route (restoration), and virtual private networks (VPNs)
  • Contemporary issues: introducing MPLS in a provider network - approaches and trade-offs, MPLS equipment - key features, role of MPLS in metro/access networks (discussed throughout the workshop)

Audience: The workshop is targeted at system and network architects, advanced hardware and/or software engineers, strategic marketing, executives, system engineers, application engineers, and network engineers who wish to understand some of the key MPLS issues and technology behind building modern IP networks.

Category: Introductory to Intermediate.

Expected background: This is a beginning to intermediate-level workshop that assumes that the audience has some understanding of IP routing and signaling protocols. The workshop will focus primarily on the operation, protocols, advantages, and uses of MPLS technology, the state of relevant international standards.

Workshop Duration: Expected duration is 2 days (with 6 hours of instruction and Q A each).

Workshop Goals: To enable the attendees to:

  • Acquire sound knowledge of MPLS technology
  • Comprehend the key issues in the applicability of MPLS technology for modernizing the control and management of IP networks
  • Understand its usefulness in IP networks
  • Appreciate what such control entails, and how IP had been enhanced to apply to MPLS
  • Grasp the state of the relevant international standards
  • Cultivate insights into the basic components of MPLS and the key applications of MPLS
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