Please congratulate me, and here, accept a cigar. As I'm a proud new owner of an MPLS network. As with any new dad with their first born, there's nothing but endless questions and over analyzing everything. I'm no different with this MPLS network. I need someone to clear my head, and tell me it’s going to be okay! Really, I'm sure new borns are harder than MPLS!
Everything I read on the internet, tells me information about MPLS, from the point of view of a provider. What’s in the provider’s cloud. How it works. What MPLS services/applications exist and how to use them. Although all this information is great, and is good reading. I have been looking for information from a customer only (CE) router configuration point of view. A checklist of things I need to know from the provider, things that need to be configured on my CE routers, and/or the configuration of the PE-CE link.
This is where I stand today. We currently have a network that uses IPsec VPN’s to connect remote sites to a hub network. To improve services and a host of other objectives we are moving to an MPLS solution. Most of the network, mainly the remote sites will be connecting over T1 circuits, and one of the two hubs resides in a CoLo and will have an Ethernet handoff. What has been done so far (and before me joining the team) was the provisioning of these circuits with a provider, and purchase of the routers. So in other words, a completely brand new MPLS network needs to be configured.
So here are some of my questions thus far (some questions are specific to this project, others are just for self education, like, how most of the world does it):
- I assume the most used MPLS application is MPLS VPN?
- Normally when customers go to providers for MPLS services, when is the type of service to be used talked about? E.g. To use MPLS VPN or to use VPLS, or something else? Currently, I have nothing from my provider telling me what we are getting. The only thing I see as for “Product” = “DS1 Private Port”.
- Along with the Product information from the provider, the only other info I have at the moment, is serial IP’s. One being the “customer serial IP” which looks like an internet IP address.
- Is this IP for the CE router or the PE router?
- If it is for the CE router. Then I’m lost. How does that work? I would assume that my serial interface on my CE router would have a Private IP that we configure? A link for how this configuration would/should look like would be great.
- What MPLS services require that the provider and the customer work together on configuration tasks? (Sorry, if this sound noobish)
- In MPLS VPN, is the configuration of CE routers completely independent of the provider’s knowledge? Because I read things like this, “In MPLS VPN, PE routers participate in customer routing, providing optimum routing between sites and easy provisioning of sites.” From this link. And I get all confused!
- I’m really at lost with this one. If we wanted to used QoS and/or/with MPLS Traffic Engineering? Does the provider and the customer have to work together to share some information to make this work? For example, I think question 5 is the case, but I can be wrong.
- I have heard that some providers block dynamic routing updates, is this true? If so, WHY? It seems if MPLS VPN = kinda like a Private PtP, then why block anything?
- I’m assuming we are getting a MPLS VPN solution provided to us. Does this normally come fully meshed? Or do we dictate this or Hub/spoke to the provider?
- Or do we configure topology via routing?
As you may have figured it out, there is not much coming from our provider at the moment. To give them an excuse, most circuits are not even fully installed at the moment. But I would have just assumed a conversation took place that would answer most of these questions.
Thanks for your time and help,