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Day One: This Week: Deploying MPLS

While there are many books and papers available that cover network architecture, MPLS services, and MPLS cores, none put all these subjects together in a ‘beginning-to-end’ walk-through methodology using myriad configuration examples for Juniper routers, with explanations for each configuration. This Week: Deploying MPLS is a seminar-in-a-book on the process of designing and standing up a MPLS core, as well as provisioning MPLS services such as L3VPN, VPLS, and Layer 2 circuits.

“If you’re thinking about adding MPLS to your Junos network, this book is perfect. Not only will you find MPLS concepts explained but many real-world Junos configuration examples, too. In short, the book provides the necessary knowledge for an MPLS deployment in a matter of days because you’re never more than a step away from configuring the concepts you’ve just learned.”

Nicholas Harland, Senior Network Engineer, Constant Contact, Inc.

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About the Author(s)

Tim Fiola is a Senior Network Consultant in Juniper Networks’ Professional Services Organization, specializing in the design, implementation, and operations of MPLS networks. He is JNCIE-M/T #419, is JNCIS-SEC certified, and has over 7 years experience working with Junos devices.

Jamie Panagos is a Senior Network Consultant in Juniper Networks’ Professional Services Organization and specializes in the design, implementation and operation of datacenter, enterprise and service provider networks. Jamie has over 10 years of experience on some of the largest networks in the world and has participated in several influential industry communities including NANOG, ARIN and RIPE. He holds JNCIE-M/T #445 and JNCIE-ER #50.

Author Q & A

After reading this book, what’s the take away?

Jamie: I had a very good experience with my first Day One book (Monitoring and Troubleshooting) and thought a longer format which allowed for more detail and examples would be a fun project. Additionally, Tim and I had been looking for a project to collaborate on and it was a topic we were both very interested in. It was also a topic that had not yet been covered in the Day One series and was important one to cover.

Tim: I took a look at Juniper’s Day One offerings and realized that there wasn’t a book for MPLS or MPLS services, both of which are core Juniper technologies. Jamie and I had been looking for a project to do together, and this was it. Due to the advanced nature of the topic, it became a “First Week” book.

After reading this book, what’s the take away?

Jamie: One of the best things about this book is that it speaks to an audience ranging from engineers investigating MPLS for the first time to seasoned architects with MPLS experience looking to evolve their network. The book clearly explains the fundamentals of the protocols, discusses use cases and architecture options and builds on those fundamentals to detail a variety of example designs and situations.

Tim: This book is for a wide range of people. If you are new to MPLS, this book walks you through the basics and builds up to very advanced topics, hopefully explained in a way that is easy to understand; this book is written in a format with techniques that I would have preferred when I was learning MPLS. If you are more advanced in knowledge, this book can serve as a reference for a step-by-step implementation of MPLS in a production network, from specific features you can implement to meet a certain requirement to full configs for entire networks.

After reading this book, what’s the take away?

Jamie: In my opinion, the major take away from the book is that MPLS is an important tool in the engineer’s toolbox to meet network requirements and provide enhanced services that cannot be effectively delivered through other means. I also hope that readers will gain a level of comfort and confidence when designing and deploying their own MPLS networks.

Tim: MPLS is a powerful technology with an array of benefits; this book can go a long way in getting you to a place where you are familiar with it and comfortable enough to start implementing.

What are you hoping that people will learn from this book?

Jamie: I hope the readers will learn three concepts from this book. First, it is critical that engineers understand the protocols, how they work and their limitations and this book does a great job explaining the operation of the different MPLS protocols and features. Second, an understanding of the different MPLS architectures and how design decisions are made is very important. Finally, turning a design into an implementation can be a difficult task and this book offers many examples to make that process easier by arming the reader with an understanding of the steps required to implement MPLS on Junos devices.

Tim: The mechanics of MPLS and how to effectively leverage MPLS and MPLS services.

What do you recommend as the next item to read after this book?

Jamie: Without question, “MPLS-Enabled Applications: Emerging Developments and New Technologies” by Ina Minei and Julian Lucek is the right choice to dive even deeper into the various MPLS topics.

Tim: I’d recommend “Network Mergers and Migrations” (Gonzalo Gomez Herrero and Jan Anton Bernal Van Der Ven), as it follows up with other practical examples and further displays the power of Junos . . . . . or if you need a break for a bit, “Ender’s Game”.

What’s your inspiration?

Jamie: My inspiration for this book was the desire to consolidate and communicate my experience in different MPLS environments to assist readers in approaching, designing and implementing MPLS in their networks. MPLS can seem like a scary topic, and a practical guide to a successful deployment was an intriguing idea and one that I would have appreciated many times during my career.

Tim: This may sound kind of corny, but I remember when I was first attempting to understand MPLS back in 2004. Seeing the RRO output from the “show mpls lsp name detail” command, displaying the LSP’s path through the network, blew my mind (as much as Halo2 did at the time . . . well, okay, maybe not quite that much, but a LOT); I started to realize the potential that MPLS provided. Also, I wanted to help people understand, once and for all, the difference between the route-distinguisher and route-target in MPLS VPNs by presenting actual examples; I find that there’s still a lot of confusion about that out there.

What’s your favorite bit/part in the book?

Jamie: I like the last chapter which provides real world examples of MPLS networks, complete with descriptions of the network requirements and how those requirements will be met, router role descriptions and most importantly, complete configurations. This provides the reader an easy path to customized configurations for their network based on known working configurations.

Tim: The parts and illustrations that deal with the MPLS label operations for LSPs, RSVP fast failover, and MPLS services. I believe that understanding those mechanics goes a long way in becoming comfortable and confident with this technology.