Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Packet Design's Route Explorer Offers MPLS VPN Visibility

Packet Design introduced new "VPN-aware" version of its Route Explorer appliance, giving service providers visibility into the layer 3 virtual private network infrastructure. Route Explorer/MPLS VPN incorporates the IETF RFC 2547bis standard, which uses both BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and MPLS. The new system adds support for MP-BGP (Multi-protocol BGP).

By applying layer 3 route analytics to VPNs, Packet Design said its Route Explorer lets service providers visualize -- in real time and without the overhead of polling -- how individual VPNs are overlaid on their network infrastructure. Specifically, they can monitor:

  • reachability within the customer VPN, ensuring that VPN prefixes are being properly distributed between relevant provider edge (PE) routers for each customer site;

  • privacy, guarding against unwanted route "leakage" or mingling of information between customer sites;

  • policies, knowing whether VPN prefixes are distributed in accordance with customer-specific requirements, such as a full-mesh or hub-and-spoke.

A single Route Explorer unit installed in the service provider's backbone network peers with provider edge routers and immediately begins monitoring all customer VPNs. By dynamically tracking VPN routing information -- e.g., all PE routers participating in the VPN and every prefix being "advertised" from every customer site -- the system automatically generates a baseline of each customer's VPN. A graphical "dashboard" then displays any deviations from the baseline


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