WorkshopsElucidating Complex Networking Technologies

Modern IP-based Virtual Private Networks (VPNs):
Technology, Operation, Implementation, and Design Considerations

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become a key area of expansion for both new and incumbent service providers worldwide, from North America to Europe to countries like India, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, and a host of others. They allow providers to offer advanced revenue-generating services over a common IP backbone and are an equally attractive solution for enterprises seeking to derive economies by migrating their voice and data services on to a shared infrastructure. VPNs provide a way to utilize a common infrastructure for multiple clients and services, and so require sophisticated network protocols and equipment that drive advances in software, systems, and chip design.

Thus, understanding the major components, principal technologies, and operation of modern IP-based VPNs, gaining insights into the network- and deployment-level issues that influence their selection in carrier or enterprise networks, and exploring some key considerations in the design of software and equipment for VPNs is crucial for building both advanced networking software, systems, and chips, and the networks themselves.

 With this goal, this workshop covers:

  • What are VPNs: basic VPN operation; Intranets, Extranets, site-to-site, remote access
  • Building blocks: discovery, reachability, routing/topology, tunnels/paths
  • VPN networking requirements: QoS, security, privacy, reliability
  • VPN types: Peer-to-peer or overlay; CPE- and network-based; Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs:
    • L3 VPNs: operation, BGP/MPLS based, IP-only based, benefits
    • L2 VPNs: "classic" L2 VPNs (ATM/FR), IP-based L2 VPNs: working, benefits
  • QoS in VPNs: service models - hose, pipe; diffserv, queue management, traffic conditioning
  • Considerations in VPN design & deployment: implications for network architecture, routing, forwarding, & management planes, enterprise network migration; analysis of scalability, interoperability, manageability, configurability, and security
  • Implications for chip, system, & software design: hardware; system & protocol software
  • VPNs in context: how do IP/MPLS VPNs fit in with the new wave of networking systems and protocols, what market trends will influence their viability and adoption, what are some of the practical problems providers/enterprises face, and a look at the latest developments - these are discussed throughout the workshop.

The workshop adds value by providing not only a deep technical understanding of IP/MPLS VPN solutions but also some of the major considerations influencing the design and deployment of VPNs and their associated software and systems. It is useful for software or protocol vendors, and hardware or system vendors that have to design protocols or systems optimized for running or managing VPNs, and for provider network engineering and planning organizations seeking to use new techniques to design, build, and deploy IP-based VPNs.

Audience: The workshop is targeted at system and network architects, advanced hardware and/or software development, system engineers, application engineers, executives, and strategic marketing. The workshop will be useful for companies involved in providing systems, software, or chips for edge/core equipment used by service providers, and/or the management and configuration software needed to operate VPNs, and for operations, planning, and marketing staff at service provider organizations.

Category: Intermediate to Advanced.

Expected background: Basic understanding of data networking, and a basic knowledge of IP routing and IP routing protocols, BGP, and MPLS. The workshop will focus primarily on the components of a VPN, techniques for providing VPNs, the protocol enhancements needed to do so, and an analysis of VPN design considerations.

Workshop Duration: Expected duration is 2 days (with 6 hours of instruction/discussion each).

Workshop Goals: The aim of the workshop is to enable the attendees to:

  • Understand VPN taxonomy and emerging standards for L2 and L3 IP VPNs
  • Grasp VPN technology fundamentals & operation of modern IP-based L2 and L3 VPNs
  • Comprehend the VPN operational processes in the network and on a switch/router
  • Focus on the applicability of, and trade-offs incurrred when, using a given VPN
  • Appreciate key considerations in VPN design and deployment, market trends, issues in current and upcoming systems
  • Develop insights into requirements VPNs impose on software, systems, and chips
  • Apply their learning to products and networking problems that they are working on


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