Segment Routing Proof of Concept for Business Services (2019)

By Elaine Yeo, Charter Communications

Segment Routing is a source based routing methodology that uses a list of unique segment IDs stacked in an order of arrival along a traffic path. It leverages the existing MPLS data plane by encoding a segment ID in each MPLS label, thus creating a stack of labels in the packet header which instructs each node along the path to execute the information within the labels upon receipt and forwards it along to the next node. This technology can be used to simplify and optimize the network, meeting key performance objectives such as latency and at the same time enhance operational efficiencies around capacity reporting, change control management via automation with the use of a controller. The interest lies in whether can Segment Routing be beneficial to business services, how does this simplify and affect a large service provider consisting of multiple network types, various vendor platforms and software. This technology has been chosen as a proof of concept that focuses on interoperability of existing multiple vendors within a service provider network, working together with a controller to maximize the benefits of segment routing, particularly the traffic engineering aspect. During the proof of concept, some observations were made and several key points were brought to attention where cascading effects from a system event were seen to have a potential impact that affects CAPEX, OPEX, and architectural processes. These findings from the proof of concept also provides information that can influence business decisions to move forward with Segment Routing or retain the existing mechanisms used today in the network.

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