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RSVP Operation Overview


A Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) label-switched path (LSP) tunnel enables you to send RSVP LSPs inside other RSVP LSPs. This enables a network administrator to provide traffic engineering from one end of the network to the other. A useful application for this feature is to connect customer edge (CE) routers with provider edge (PE) routers by using an RSVP LSP, and then tunnel this edge LSP inside a second RSVP LSP traveling across the network core.

You should have a general understanding of MPLS and label switching concepts. For more information about MPLS, see the Junos MPLS Applications Configuration Guide.

An RSVP LSP tunnel adds the concept of a forwarding adjacency, similar to the one used for generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching (GMPLS).

The forwarding adjacency creates a tunneled path for sending data between peer devices in an RSVP LSP network. Once a forwarding adjacency LSP (FA-LSP) has been established, other LSPs can be sent over the FA-LSP by using Constrained Shortest Path First (CSPF), Link Management Protocol (LMP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), and RSVP.

To enable an RSVP LSP tunnel, the Junos OS uses the following mechanisms:

  • LMP—Originally designed for GMPLS, LMP establishes forwarding adjacencies between RSVP LSP tunnel peers, and maintains and allocates resources for traffic engineering links.

  • OSPF extensions—OSPF was designed to route packets to physical and logical interfaces related to a Physical Interface Card (PIC). This protocol has been extended to route packets to virtual peer interfaces defined in an LMP configuration.

  • RSVP-TE extensions—RSVP-TE was designed to signal the setup of packet LSPs to physical interfaces. The protocol has been extended to request path setup for packet LSPs traveling to virtual peer interfaces defined in an LMP configuration.

The following limitations exist for LSP hierarchies:

  • Circuit cross-connect (CCC)-based LSPs are not supported.

  • Graceful restart is not supported.

  • Link protection is not available for FA-LSPs or at the egress point of the forwarding adjacency.

  • Point-to-multipoint LSPs are not supported across FA-LSPs.

RSVP creates independent sessions to handle each data flow. A session is identified by a combination of the destination address, an optional destination port, and a protocol. Within a session, there can be one or more senders. Each sender is identified by a combination of its source address and source port. An out-of-band mechanism, such as a session announcement protocol or human communication, is used to communicate the session identifier to all senders and receivers.

A typical RSVP session involves the following sequence of events:

  1. A potential sender starts sending RSVP path messages to the session address.

  2. A receiver, wanting to join the session, registers itself if necessary. For example, a receiver in a multicast application would register itself with IGMP.

  3. The receiver receives the path messages.

  4. The receiver sends appropriate Resv messages toward the sender. These messages carry a flow descriptor, which is used by routers along the path to make reservations in their link-layer media.

  5. The sender receives the Resv message and then starts sending application data.

This sequence of events is not necessarily strictly synchronized. For example, receivers can register themselves before receiving path messages from the sender, and application data can flow before the sender receives Resv messages. Application data that is delivered before the actual reservation contained in the Resv message typically is treated as best-effort, non-real-time traffic with no CoS guarantee.

RSVP Hello Packets and Timers

RSVP monitors the status of the interior gateway protocol (IGP) (IS-IS or OSPF) neighbors and relies on the IGP protocols to detect when a node fails. If an IGP protocol declares a neighbor down (because hello packets are no longer being received), RSVP also brings down that neighbor. However, the IGP protocols and RSVP still act independently when bringing a neighbor up.

In the Junos OS, RSVP typically relies on IGP hello packet detection to check for node failures. RSVP sessions are kept up even if RSVP hello packets are no longer being received, so long as the router continues to receive IGP hello packets. RSVP sessions are maintained until either the router stops receiving IGP hello packets or the RSVP Path and Resv messages time out. Configuring a short time for the IS-IS or OSPF hello timers allows these protocols to detect node failures quickly.

RSVP hellos can be relied on when the IGP does not recognize a particular neighbor (for example, if IGP is not enabled on the interface) or if the IGP is RIP (not IS-IS or OSPF). Also, the equipment of other vendors might be configured to monitor RSVP sessions based on RSVP hello packets. This equipment might also take an RSVP session down due to a loss of RSVP hello packets.

We do not recommend configuring a short RSVP hello timer. If quick discovery of a failed neighbor is needed, configure short IGP (OSPF or IS-IS) hello timers.

OSPF and IS-IS have infrastructure to manage rapid hello message sending and receiving reliably, even if the routing protocols or some other process are straining the processing capability of the router. Under the same circumstances, RSVP hellos might time out prematurely even though the neighbor is functioning normally.

RSVP Message Types

RSVP uses the following types of messages to establish and remove paths for data flows, establish and remove reservation information, confirm the establishment of reservations, and report errors:

Path Messages

Each sender host transmits path messages downstream along the routes provided by the unicast and multicast routing protocols. Path messages follow the exact paths of application data, creating path states in the routers along the way, thus enabling routers to learn the previous-hop and next-hop node for the session. Path messages are sent periodically to refresh path states.

The refresh interval is controlled by a variable called the refresh-time, which is the periodical refresh timer expressed in seconds. A path state times out if a router does not receive a specified number of consecutive path messages. This number is specified by a variable called keep-multiplier. Path states are kept for ( (keep-multiplier + 0.5) x 1.5 x refresh-time ) seconds.

Resv Messages

Each receiver host sends reservation request (Resv) messages upstream toward senders and sender applications. Resv messages must follow exactly the reverse path of path messages. Resv messages create and maintain a reservation state in each router along the way.

Resv messages are sent periodically to refresh reservation states. The refresh interval is controlled by the same refresh time variable, and reservation states are kept for ( (keep-multiplier + 0.5) x 1.5 x refresh-time ) seconds.

PathTear Messages

PathTear messages remove (tear down) path states as well as dependent reservation states in any routers along a path. PathTear messages follow the same path as path messages. A PathTear typically is initiated by a sender application or by a router when its path state times out.

PathTear messages are not required, but they enhance network performance because they release network resources quickly. If PathTear messages are lost or not generated, path states eventually time out when they are not refreshed, and the resources associated with the path are released.

ResvTear Messages

ResvTear messages remove reservation states along a path. These messages travel upstream toward senders of the session. In a sense, ResvTear messages are the reverse of Resv messages. ResvTear messages typically are initiated by a receiver application or by a router when its reservation state times out.

ResvTear messages are not required, but they enhance network performance because they release network resources quickly. If ResvTear messages are lost or not generated, reservation states eventually time out when they are not refreshed, and the resources associated with the reservation are released.

PathErr Messages

When path errors occur (usually because of parameter problems in a path message), the router sends a unicast PathErr message to the sender that issued the path message. PathErr messages are advisory; these messages do not alter any path state along the way.

ResvErr Messages

When a reservation request fails, a ResvErr error message is delivered to all the receivers involved. ResvErr messages are advisory; these messages do not alter any reservation state along the way.

ResvConfirm Messages

Receivers can request confirmation of a reservation request, and this confirmation is sent with a ResvConfirm message. Because of the complex RSVP flow-merging rules, a confirmation message does not necessarily provide end-to-end confirmation of the entire path. Therefore, ResvConfirm messages are an indication, not a guarantee, of potential success.

Juniper Networks routers never request confirmation using the ResvConfirm message; however, a Juniper Networks router can send a ResvConfirm message if it receives a request from another vendor's equipment.

MTU Signaling in RSVP

The maximum transmission unit (MTU) is the largest size packet or frame, in bytes, that can be sent in a network. An MTU that is too large might cause retransmissions. Too small an MTU might cause the router to send and handle relatively more header overhead and acknowledgments. There are default values for MTUs associated with various protocols. You can also explicitly configure an MTU on an interface.

When an LSP is created across a set of links with different MTU sizes, the ingress router does not know what the smallest MTU is on the LSP path. By default, the MTU for an LSP is 1,500 bytes.

If this MTU is larger than the MTU of one of the intermediate links, traffic might be dropped, because MPLS packets cannot be fragmented. Also, the ingress router is not aware of this type of traffic loss, because the control plane for the LSP would still function normally.

To prevent this type of packet loss in MPLS LSPs, you can configure MTU signaling in RSVP. This feature is described in RFC 3209. Juniper Networks supports the Integrated Services object for MTU signaling in RSVP. The Integrated Services object is described in RFCs 2210 and 2215. MTU signaling in RSVP is disabled by default.

To avoid packet loss due to MTU mismatches, the ingress router needs to do the following:

  • Signal the MTU on the RSVP LSP—To prevent packet loss from an MTU mismatch, the ingress router needs to know what the smallest MTU value is along the path taken by the LSP. Once this MTU value is obtained, the ingress router can assign it to the LSP.

  • Fragment packets—Using the assigned MTU value, packets that exceed the size of the MTU can be fragmented into smaller packets on the ingress router before they are encapsulated in MPLS and sent over the RSVP-signaled LSP.

Once both MTU signaling and packet fragmentation have been enabled on an ingress router, any route resolving to an RSVP LSP on this router uses the signaled MTU value.

The following are limitations to MTU signaling in RSVP:

  • Changes in the MTU value might cause a temporary loss of traffic in the following situations:

    • For link protection and node protection, the MTU of the bypass is only signaled at the time the bypass becomes active. During the time it takes for the new path MTU to be propagated, packet loss might occur because of an MTU mismatch.

    • For fast reroute, the MTU of the path is updated only after the detour becomes active, causing a delay in an update to the MTU at the ingress router. Until the MTU is updated, packet loss might occur if there is an MTU mismatch.

      In both cases, only packets that are larger than the detour or bypass MTU are lost.

  • When an MTU is updated, it triggers a change in the next hop. Any change in the next hop causes the route statistics to be lost.

  • The minimum MTU supported for MTU signaling in RSVP is 1,488 bytes. This value prevents a false or incorrectly configured value from being used.

  • For single-hop LSPs, the MTU value displayed by the show commands is the RSVP-signaled value. However, this MPLS value is ignored and the correct IP value is used.