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LDP Overview

The Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) is a protocol for distributing labels in non-traffic-engineered applications. LDP allows routers to establish label-switched paths (LSPs) through a network by mapping network-layer routing information directly to data link layer-switched paths.

These LSPs might have an endpoint at a directly attached neighbor (comparable to IP hop-by-hop forwarding), or at a network egress node, enabling switching through all intermediary nodes. LSPs established by LDP can also traverse traffic-engineered LSPs created by RSVP.

LDP associates a forwarding equivalence class (FEC) with each LSP it creates. The FEC associated with an LSP specifies which packets are mapped to that LSP. LSPs are extended through a network as each router chooses the label advertised by the next hop for the FEC and splices it to the label it advertises to all other routers. This process forms a tree of LSPs that converge on the egress router.

Published: 2014-11-17