Ethernet VPN (EVPN) - Networks for Ethernet Services

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Ethernet VPN (EVPN) - Networks for Ethernet Services

By: Greg Hankins, Senior Product Line Manager, Alcatel-Lucent

I’ve been talking a lot about EVPN recently at network operator conferences around the world, because I’m really excited about this new technology.  EVPN offers an alternative to VPLS that integrates both Layer 2 and Layer 3 services, and can run over simple IP networks with ECMP for resiliency and load balancing.  EVPN is an interesting new technology if you are providing a Layer 2 infrastructure over multiple sites, delivering integrated Layer 2/Layer 3 services, or providing cloud services.


In EVPN the control plane and data plane are separated.  Instead of using Layer 2 flooding and learning to build the forwarding database, the control plane uses MP-BGP to distribute MAC/IP routing information in the same way that we’ve been using BGP to distribute IP routing information for many years.  Multiple data planes are available, EVPN can use MPLS or IP as its data plane encapsulation.

EVPN has several key benefits that enable you to offer advanced Ethernet services over an existing MPLS or IP network.

  • Integrated Services: EVPN can deliver Layer 2 and Layer 3 services over the same interface to your customers using an L3VPN-like operation for more scalability and control over learning and flooding.
  • Network Efficiency: Multihoming with all-active forwarding and load balancing provides redundant and efficient services.  All-active forwarding means that all links are active and used in the network without wasted idle capacity for standby links.
  • Design Flexibility: An MPLS or IP data plane gives you flexibility in your network architecture, and provisioning and management using a single VPN technology is simpler.
  • Greater Control: MAC/IP provisioning from a network management system database enables programmatic network control, which also gives you greater security.

I just gave an overview presentation about EVPN at the NANOG 61 conference earlier this week.  You can download the presentation for more details on how EVPN works and the type of services that you can provide.  

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