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Paragon Pathfinder Overview


As more content and applications migrate to the cloud and as new services are delivered over the network, network operators are expanding their networks to meet the increase in bandwidth demand. This expansion and the growing number of features in the network are increasing the complexity of traffic management. Therefore, network operators need to find a way to manage this complexity and deliver increased speed and agility in their networks.

The high bandwidth demand and the increase in the number of latency-sensitive applications also means that network operators must meet stringent service-level agreements (SLAs). Furthermore, to ensure that they reduce costs (CapEx and OpEx) and maximize revenue, network operators must run their networks hotter and more efficiently to make greater use of network bandwidth, potentially eliminating the need for redundant paths. Network operators must also design, implement, and operate their networks to make them operationally efficient. To achieve these outcomes, network operators are using automation.

Software-defined networking (SDN) controllers help network operators to visualize, monitor, and automate their network by using closed loop automation. In addition, segment routing (SR) simplifies traffic management of IP-MPLS networks, while integrating application awareness into the network control plane, thus providing best possible application quality of experience (AppQoE) without increasing network complexity.

Juniper's Paragon Pathfinder (formerly NorthStar Controller) is a standards-based, stateful SDN and segment routing controller, which enables granular visibility and control of IP-MPLS and segment routing traffic flows in large service provider, cloud provider, and enterprise networks. Paragon Pathfinder collects topology and performance statistics and provides the operator with a view of the network through real-time topology view and events, traffic and latency graphs, and traffic reports.

Table 1 displays the key functions of Paragon Pathfinder.

Table 1: Key Functions of Paragon Pathfinder




Discovers the network topology by gathering data using routing protocols like BGP, OSPF, etc.


Computes the path for services by using topology and user-defined constraints and analyzing data to take intelligent decisions, thereby ensuring that applications follow the most efficient path across network and meet SLA requirements.


Installs the path by using protocols such as Path Computation Element Protocol (PCEP), BGP segment routing traffic engineering (SR-TE), NETCONF, or Yang.

Key Features

The following are key features of Paragon Pathfinder:

  • Provides real-time topology view and view of events in the network by using BGP Link State (BGP-LS), PCEP, gRPC, and NETCONF.

  • Enables centralized discovery and provisioning, monitoring, and management of label-switched paths (LSPs).

  • Enables complex, inter-domain path computation by using sophisticated algorithms.

  • Facilitates the archival of network data, which can then be used for network planning (by using Paragon Planner).

  • Integrates tightly with Paragon Insights to monitor and manage device and network health.

  • Provides open southbound (PCEP, BGP-LS, NETCONF, etc.) and northbound interfaces (for example, REST, YANG, etc.)

Key Use Cases

The following are key use cases of Paragon Pathfinder:

  • Visualization: Use Pathfinder to visualize and monitor MPLS networks running RSVP traffic engineering (RSVP-TE), LDP, or SR-TE.

  • Path diversity: Use traffic engineering to achieve a diverse path through the network. For example, if you have a critical service and want to guarantee SLAs on that service, you can specify a diverse path through the network, so that if one path fails, the traffic can move to a different path as quickly as possible.

  • Rerouting LSPs based on different criteria:

    • End-to-end utilization threshold violation: Pathfinder tracks the threshold for each interface and if the thresholds are violated (compared to user-defined global threshold values), the LSPs are rerouted based on priority, bandwidth, and so on.

    • Delay threshold violation: Pathfinder collects the measured delay and reroutes LSPs that are transiting on links that violate a configured maximum delay.

    • Packet loss threshold violation: Pathfinder collects packet loss data and compares it with the user defined global threshold values. Any link violating the packet loss threshold is placed in maintenance mode for an hour and LSPs transiting the link are rerouted based on priority, bandwidth, etc.

    • Node maintenance: If a user puts a node in maintenance (thereby triggering a maintenance event), Pathfinder excludes all nodes placed under maintenance from path computations and automatically reroutes the affected LSPs.

  • Bandwidth calendaring, which is used to schedule future bandwidth needs.

Benefits of Paragon Pathfinder

  • Provides a better service experience by enabling network operators to monitor their networks for real-time topology and bandwidth changes, and optimizes network services to deliver a high-quality customer experience.

  • Simplifies the operational experience because network operators can see their entire MPLS or segment routed networks through a single pane of glass and then drill down to view the detailed state of a path, a link or a node.

  • Enables the network to operate more autonomously by giving MPLS and segment routed networks the ability to self-learn changes in topology, bandwidth usage, and traffic patterns and then take appropriate action to maintain SLAs.

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