Ethernet VPN Brings Distinct Advantages over Its Predecessor

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Ethernet VPN Brings Distinct Advantages over Its Predecessor

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Ethernet services delivery based on the control plane approach hasn’t changed for proven solutions such as MPLS/VPLS and PBB. Layer 2 flooding and learning as an approach to build the forwarding database is still necessary, but this has inherent limitations.

A new approach has emerged that brings many benefits over the control plane approach in the form of Ethernet VPN (EVPN). With EVPN, the control plane and data planes are abstracted and separated. A multiprotocol BGP (MP-BGP) control plane protocol carries MAC/IP routing information, and there are several data plane encapsulation choices.

EVPN provides several benefits over the control plane approach. These include integrated services, allowing operators to deliver Layer 2 and Layer 3 services over the same interface, and networking efficiency since EVPN allows for multi-homing with all-active forwarding and load balancing between provider edge routers.

As a recent TechZine article by Greg Hankins and Jorge Rabadan, Senior Product Line Managers at Alcatel-Lucent, Ethernet VPN (EVPN) for integrated layer 2-3 services,  noted, EVPN also brings greater control and design flexibility.

“Since the control plane and data plane are separated, several MPLS or IP data plane encapsulation choices are available to meet core network requirements,” explained the authors. “Provisioning and management using a single VPN technology rather than both Layer 2 and Layer 3 is simpler.”

There is greater control because MAC/IP provisioning from a network management system database enables programmatic network control, whole control plane signaling maintains a consistent signaled forwarding database instead of flooding and learning in the data plane.

EVPN technology helps with data center interconnect, cloud and virtualization services, integrated Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN services, and overlay technologies that simplify topologies and tunnels services over IP infrastructure.

“With EVPN, service providers can meet evolving demands for higher speeds, sophisticated QoS and guaranteed SLAs,” the authors noted. “EVPN can support the requirements driven by new applications in a way that existing technologies can’t.”

The days of using a control plane approach and a flooding technique are numbered.

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