Multi-Protocol Label Switching over satellite networks

ETSI Headquarters, Sophia Antipolis, France – 21 October 2011                

Recently published ETSI TC SES specification TS 102 856 Parts 1 and 2 describes how to support transport of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) data and signalling flows over a Broadband Satellite Multimedia (BSM) network.

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is widely employed today as a solution for delivering reliable Quality of Service (QoS) on IP-based networks by providing QoS-based routing of IP traffic and other advanced capabilities. As a result, MPLS compatibility between satellite networks and terrestrial networks is an essential feature, for example to provide extensions and interconnectivity to terrestrial MPLS networks or to provide a satellite back-up for terrestrial MPLS networks.

A new technical specification has been issued by ETSI's Technical Committee for Satellite Earth Stations and Systems (TC SES) that explores the technical challenges for satellite networks to provide interworking and interoperability with standard terrestrial LSRs (label switching routers). This new specification defines the functional adaptations that are needed to enable satellite networks to support MPLS efficiently and in a standardized manner.

One of the main motives for using MPLS is to provide end-to-end quality-of-service guarantees over IP-based networks. Successful integration and interworking of satellite networks requires taking into account the specific features of satellite networks compared to terrestrial networks.

The new specification is in two parts. Part 1 defines the main architectural concepts, including the network architecture and the protocol stacks, and outlines the key QoS, traffic engineering and resiliency provisions. Several architecture variants are defined and their main characteristics are analysed, also taking into account three different broadband satellite multimedia network architectures. Part 2 of the specification defines the detailed procedures and the related signalling issues, with a particular focus on the fully integrated MPLS architecture defined in Part 1.

This 2-part specification, ETSI TS 102 856, 'Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) interworking over satellite', was developed by the TC SES Working Group on Broadband Satellite Multimedia (BSM) with funding provided by the EC and EFTA.

The Vice-Chairman of TC SES and chair of the BSM working group, Rupert Goodings, commented:

'Guaranteed Quality-of-Service (QoS) remains a major challenge for satellite network operators, and this specification is the latest in a series of ETSI specifications which focus on this challenge. This new work on MPLS is an important addition to the earlier published QoS specifications by defining a standardized framework that can be used to plan new satellite MPLS deployments.

I would like to thank the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association for their support of the project team experts that were responsible for this work."

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Notes for Editors

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