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VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service)

VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) is basically a Multipoint-to-Multiponit Layer 2 VPN Service delivered over a Service Provider MPLS Network. In other words, in VPLS, customer locations are connected over the Service Provider MPLS Network.

You can see the logical view of VPLS below:

Alcatel-Lucent, Logical View of VPLS

Logical View of VPLS

From the customer perspective, with VPLS the sites of customer are like, connected to an Ethernet Switch in its own LAN. So, in this L2VPN Service, Switching is the main point.

You can see VPLS from the customer perspective below:

Alcatel-Lucent, Customer View of VPLS

Customer View of VPLS

By using VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service), there can be many private LANs in the Service Provider MPLS Network. Each of these LANs (VPLSes) are unaware eachother.

Every process is like in an Ethernet Switch in VPLS architecture. Like ethernet switches, MAC addresses are important because of the fact that VPLS works on Layer 2. MAC address learning and the forwarding process is done according to the tables in which MAC-address and port information is kept. This table is Forwarding Database(FDB). The traffic is switched according to the Forwarding Databases(FDB).

MAC learning is done like the same mechanism of swithces, by storing the source MAC address of the packets. Think about this, a mini switch in the main Servis Router. If the MAC address is not known, like Ethernet Switch, the traffic forwarded to all ports (flooding).

Alcatel-Lucent, Customer View of VPLS

FDB(MAC Table) of VPLS

In VPLS, architecture, all the nodes are connected via pseudowires as fully mesh. Each VPLS has a specific VC-ID or Pseudowire ID and this differentiate the VPLS from the other VPLSes.

For each VPLS n * (n-1) / 2 pseudowire is required for full mesh connection.

Full mesh requirement is for normal VPLS architecture. For Hierarchical VPLS (H-VPLS) there is no such requirement.We will talk about H-VPLS, in other article.

In Alcatel-Lucent devices SDP(Service Distribution Point) is needs to be configured as Pseudowires (PW). And VPLS needs full mesh connectivity with SDPs.

Tunnel Label and Service Label (VC Label)

As you know, in MPLS there are two different labels. One of them is Tunnel Label and the other is Service Label. In VPLS the customer packets transfered over MPLS and so the customer frames transfered with two different labels. One is the Tunnel Label, this is outer MPLS Label. The other is Service Label or VC Label, this label is the Inner Label. With this Service Label (VC Label), VPLSes are diferentiated in the Service Provider Network. In other words, the customer specific VC-ID is writen in VC label.

VPLS is the L2 VPN Service used by all vendors. In this article series, we will talk about Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Juniper L2 VPN Service, VPLS. In the following articles, we will focus the configuration of VPLS on different vendors. We will also talk about different VPLS type, h-VPLS (Hierarchical VPLS).

Other VPLS Articles…

VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 1
VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 2 (Alcatel-Lucent VPLS Configuration)
VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 3 (h-VPLS)
VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 4 (VPLS versus h-VPLS)
VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 5 (Cisco VPLS Configuration)

Alcatel-Lucent L2 VPN and L3 VPN Articles…

Alcatel-Lucent L2 VPN and L3 VPN Services – Part 1 (Service Terms and Service Creation Steps)
Alcatel-Lucent L2 VPN and L3 VPN Services – Part 2 (Service Types)
Alcatel-Lucent L2 VPN and L3 VPN Services – Part 3 (Network Preparation)
Alcatel-Lucent L2 VPN and L3 VPN Services – Part 4 (Tunnel Structure)

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About the Author
Gokhan Kosem is a telecommunation and network engineer. His ambition to IP networks and end-to-end system installation made him to prepare this web-site. By sharing his experiences about various networking protocols beside different system installation experiences and Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent devices configurations, he is aimed to be helpful for his collegues in all over the world. He is currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

7 comments for “VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) – Part 1”

Amardeep Singh

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June 6th, 2012 at 10:37

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June 7th, 2012 at 10:37
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October 8th, 2012 at 23:52

Everything is explained so simple and plain. Cisco docs and juniper we can find in google. but alcatel, you have to rely on there internal site. I am working in ALU but always found very hard to set topology using internal docs. This is simply the best.

June 8th, 2015 at 09:46

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