Cisco enhances inter-provider MPLS

Cisco this week improved its MPLS software with features designed to foster greater interoperability among service provider networks.

The vendor's MPLS inter-provider features allow service providers to combine the capabilities of their individual networks to offer enterprises a new set of optimized services. Cisco says service providers that take full advantage of the inter-provider software will increase network resiliency, deliver multicast-based services such as streaming video and extend VPN capabilities.

The new inter-provider features include Inter-AS multicast VPN, which allows service providers to deliver Layer 3 multicast services on an IP network that shares resources, on one or more physical networks. Another new feature is Inter-AS Traffic Engineering, which allows service providers to engineer traffic between networks and regions by configuring a single tunnel at the head-end, as opposed to switching tunnels across each area that must be crossed. 

Other enhancements include Interprovider MPLS VPN over IP, which allows traditional MPLS-based Layer 3 VPN services to be delivered across multiple transit IP networks. Cisco's MPLS VPN Inter-AS/CsC load-balancing software has also been enhanced to allow service providers to balance traffic loads across two or more links between boundary routers.

Previously, service providers could only fully utilize one link between peering routers, Cisco says.

Cisco has also extended its IP Solution Center, Info Center, CiscoWorks LAN Management, and IOS NetFlow reporting and IP SLA network management software to support the inter-provider capabilities.

The inter-provider capabilities are shipping now in Cisco IOS software releases 12.0(29)S and 12.0(30)S.

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