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M10i Routing Engine Architecture Overview


The Routing Engine is an Intel-based PCI platform running the Junos OS, which Juniper Networks has developed and optimized to handle large numbers of network interfaces and routes. The software consists of a set of system processes running in protected memory modules on top of an independent operating system. The Junos kernel supports Junos system processes, which handle system management processes, routing protocols, and control functions (see Figure 1).

The Routing Engine has a dedicated 100-Mbps internal connection to the Packet Forwarding Engine.

Figure 1: Routing Engine Architecture
Routing Engine Architecture

Routing Engine Functions

The Routing Engine handles all routing protocol processes, as well as the software processes that control the router's interfaces, the chassis components, system management, and user access to the router. These routing and software processes run on top of a kernel that interacts with the Packet Forwarding Engine. For more information about the processes, see the CLI Explorer.

The Routing Engine includes the following functions and features:

  • Processing of routing protocol packets—The Routing Engine handles all packets that concern routing protocols, freeing the Packet Forwarding Engine to handle only packets that represent Internet traffic.

  • Software modularity—Because each software process is devoted to a different function and uses a separate process space, the failure of one process has little or no effect on the others.

  • In-depth Internet functionality—Each routing protocol is implemented with a complete set of Internet features and provides full flexibility for advertising, filtering, and modifying routes. Routing policies are set according to route parameters (for example, prefix, prefix lengths, and Border Gateway Protocol [BGP] attributes).

  • Scalability—The Junos routing tables have been designed to hold all the routes in current networks with ample capacity for expansion. Additionally, the Junos OS can efficiently support large numbers of interfaces and virtual circuits.

  • Management interface—Different levels of system management tools are provided, including the Junos OS command-line interface (CLI), the Junos XML management protocol, the craft interface, and SNMP.

  • Storage and change management—Configuration files, system images, and microcode can be held and maintained in primary and secondary storage systems, permitting local or remote upgrades.

  • Monitoring efficiency and flexibility—The router supports functions such as alarm handling and packet counting on every port, without degrading packet-forwarding performance.

The Routing Engine constructs and maintains one or more routing tables (see Figure 2). From the routing tables, the Routing Engine derives a table of active routes, called the forwarding table, which is then copied into the Packet Forwarding Engine. The design of the ASICs allow the forwarding table in the Packet Forwarding Engine to be updated without interrupting forwarding performance.

Figure 2: Control Packet Handling for Routing and Forwarding Table Updates
Control Packet
Handling for Routing and Forwarding Table Updates