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Re: What frame relay switch is causing MCI/Worldcom such grief?
The traffic-engineering reason for L2 "routing" is only valid for complex-topology networks. In simple topologies, the penalty for suboptimal paths effectively cancels gains from spreading traffic around. Physical fiber plants do have rather simple topologies (the rich topologies are usually "optical illusions" created by SONET layer). >From a customer's point of view performance of the network is _not_ measured as available bandwidth; but rather as performance of his TCP streams; which depends heavily on latencies and loss. Increasing latency while there's a lossy component in the path (which is increasingly found not in backbone but at ingress tail circuits, and outside of the ISP control) downgrades performance apporximately inversely proportionally to the latency. In other words: excluding grossly overloaded circuits, you want the path with least latency! This is because your performance is limited by the tail-circuit (or exchange point) loss _and_ the backbone latency. MPLS does nothing to help avoid these lossy places (avoiding IXP loss would require propagation of interior routing information into peer backbones). Additionally, suboptimal paths as a rule involve more hops, which increase latency variance proportionally. Now, no matter how one jumps, most congestions only last seconds. Expecting any traffic engineering mechanism to take care of these is unrealistic. A useful time scale for traffic engineering is therefore at least days - which can be perfectly accomodated by capacity planning in fixed topology. At these time scales traffic matrices do not change rapidly. In fact, as long as there are more than three backbones, one can safely assume that most traffic goes from customers (proportionally to size of their pipes) to the nearest exchange point; and from exchange points randomly to all customers (again proportionally to their access pipe sizes). Backbones which neglect the capacity planning because they can "reroute" traffic at L2 level simply cheat their customers. If they _do not_ neglect capacity planning, they do not particularly need the L2 traffic engineering facilities. Anyway, the simplest solution (having enough capacity, and physical topology matching L3 topology) appears to be the sanest way to build a stable and manageable network. Raw capacity is getting cheap fast; engineers aren't. And there is no magic recipe for writing complex _and_ reliable software. The simpler it is, the better it works. --vadim