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Software Defined networking (SDN) – Segment routing

In the IP NGN part of the networking world, service providers, large enterprise, public customers running MPLS networks today are striving towards cost reduction while increasing service velocity.

Two domains come to the surface in order to achieve these goals :

  • network simplification
  • creation of flexible service infrastructure

There are various components which come into play in each domain, and some have hooks in both.  We will cover multiple components in the upcoming SP technical blogs.

The one innovative piece we’ll cover in this blog is called segment routing.  Segment routing (SR) is coming to a conclusion in the IETF and is clearly playing in the ‘network simplification’ domain, however, segment routing also opens up opportunities to benefit from Cisco’s SDN orchestration technology which is also known as ‘Open Network Environment’ (ONE).

To quote the IETF draft :

segment routing

segment routing

It is simple to deploy and operate as it removes the need for any signalling state in the network (i.e. RSVP-TE)  for explicit paths (i.e. for traffic engineering).  The state is no longer in the network, but in the packet.

The forwarding state (aka segment) is established by the IGP, which can be ISIS or OSPF and is agnostic to forwarding dataplane ; which can be IPv6 or MPLS.

The benefits of SR include :

  • automated and guaranteed Fast ReRoute (FRR)
  • An SR core router scales much better than with RSVP-TE
    – The state is not in the router but in the packet
    – N+A vs N^2 (N= #nodes ; A= #adjacencies)
  • CoS based TE
  • full control and OAM
  • The network is simple, highly programmable and responsive to rapid changes
    – perfect support for centralized optimization efficiency, if required

In the following video, Clarence provides some more info on SR :

And the following SP360 blog also covers segment routing :


Cisco Live Update: Belgacom ICS (BICS) customer testimonial on Cisco Active Network Abstraction (ANA)

This afternoon in London, Wim De Hul from BICS delivered a very enthusiastic speech on their use of the Active Network Abstraction (ANA) management solution in the BICS network.

Wim started by explaining the challenge facing BICS at the beginning of the project: their environment had grown from a few dozens to a few hundreds of devices to manage on their network.  At the same time, the range of services offered by BICS on the infrastructure was extended from IP transit to applications such as Voice over IP, GRX, SMS and carrier Ethernet.  In order to allow their operations department to cope with their growth, while still maintaining their excellent service to their customers on a 24×7 basis, they needed to find a solution.

The power and flexibility provided by ANA allowed BICS to automate the troubleshooting process to the maximum: in just one click the operator is able to see the path taken by the traffic, the admin statistics of the interfaces etc…  They also integrated ANA with their performance management tool, and are using ANA as a gateway for their alarm systems: they aggregate and do a first level of correlation of the alarms, or even filter some alarms before sending it towards the Netcool application.  Automated provisioning, finding all relevant network information based on customer name, all this allows the BICS operations staff to optimally serve their customers.

The practical experience of BICS with ANA was of great interest to the audience, as demonstrated by the number of questions raised at the end of the presentation.  Great presentation from Wim !

IPv6 – the next generation challenge for Service Providers

John Chambers on IPv6 at Google Conference :

As we near 2012 when the last IPv4 address is assigned to a new subscriber, SPs must maintain and continue to accelerate growth. Billions of new devices such as mobile phones, portable multimedia devices, sensors, and controllers will demand Internet connectivity in the next five years. SPs need a solution that supports unconstrained global accessibility.

CGv6 is designed to help SPs deal with these challenges. With CGv6, SPs can:

  • Preserve investments in IPv4 infrastructure, assets, and delivery models through the use of Large-Scale Network Address Translation, along with private IP addressing.
  • Prepare for the smooth, incremental transition to IPv6 services that are interoperable with IPv4 using high-performance Tunneling technologies, combined with Large-Scale Address Family Translation.
  • Prosper through accelerated subscriber, device, and service growth enabled by private IP and IPv6.

CGv6 extends the already wide array of IPv6 platforms, solutions, and services. We’re introducing a Carrier-Grade Services Engine (CGSE) for the CRS-1 family, as well as supporting new features for the ASR family. Cisco CGv6 helps you build a bridge to the future of the Internet with IPv6.

For more IPv6 related information, make sure to visit :


John Chambers on IPv6 at Google Conference

New Addition to Cisco’s Carrier Ethernet System

Some hot news in our Carrier Ethernet portfolio: we recently introduced the ME3600X and ME3800X platforms (a.k.a. “Whales”), designed for the next Generation Carrier Ethernet access and aggregation.

The Metro Ethernet switches have earned a reputation of being robust, cost efficient and highly manageable products.  Now with these latest additions, you can enjoy a fully carrier Ethernet capable switch in a compact 1 RU format.  The products support full MPLS functionality (L2VPN and L3VPN, TE, FRR, …), Ethernet VC infrastructure, E-OAM.  It is extremely scalable for its compact size (256k Mac Address, 8000 Bridge Domain, 16,000 Pseudowires, 32,000 queues), and is also ready for mobile backhaul thanks to its support for SyncE.  Uplinks can be 1 GE or 10GE.  Finally the power consumption is very efficient (1.5W/Gbps typical).

Based on the interest we already see from various customers, this platform will likely be a major hit.  It indeed allows to extend carrier Ethernet functionality to smaller remote sites, in a cost efficient manner.

Cisco’s overall architecture for Carrier Ethernet System is explained in the following video.

For more product information, feel free to consult the links below, or to get in contact with us.

Cisco announces agreement to acquire Core optics

Cisco announces agreement to acquire Core optics :

Acquisition Reinforces Cisco’s Commitment to Deliver High-Speed Networking and Enable Service Providers to Meet Growing Network Demands

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