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UBC Theses and Dissertations

IP multicast in MPLS networks Chan, Fustina

Abstract

The Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is an advanced technology that enables IP networks to support traffic engineering efficiently. It speeds up packet forwarding by combining layer 3 routing with layer 2 switching. In MPLS, a label in the packet is used for making forwarding decisions and a path is pre-established to switch labeled packets at layer 2. Unfortunately, MPLS was originally designed for unicast IP traffic and there is as yet no complete definition for the support of multicast IP traffic. In this thesis, a new mechanism for MPLS to support IP multicast traffic is presented. It is motivated by the idea of a data-driven upstream label allocation scheme. The dense mode of the Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM-DM) is used as the signalling protocol to support multicast label switching. Multicast labels are allocated by upstream routers and distributed towards downstream routers. This process is triggered by the arrival of multicast traffic and no explicit control message is required to piggyback the label advertisement. The key objective is to improve the network scalability by using multicast label switching to forward IP multicast packets at layer 2 with minimal forwarding at layer 3. The support of multicast IP traffic in the MPLS network has been implemented under the Network Simulator (NS) from UC Berkeley. Our performance results show significant improvement on the network scalability in terms of the setup time for multicast label switching and the use of the label space. MPLS with IP multicast support plays an important role in the next-generation network.

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