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RFC 3034 - Use of Label Switching on Frame Relay Networks Specif


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Network Working Group                                           A. Conta
Request for Comments: 3034                        Transwitch Corporation
Category: Standards Track                                      P. Doolan
                                                                Ennovate
                                                                A. Malis
                                                   Vivace Networks, Inc.
                                                            January 2001

             Use of Label Switching on Frame Relay Networks
                             Specification

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document defines the model and generic mechanisms for
   Multiprotocol Label Switching on Frame Relay networks.  Furthermore,
   it extends and clarifies portions of the Multiprotocol Label
   Switching Architecture described in [ARCH] and the Label Distribution
   Protocol (LDP) described in [LDP] relative to Frame Relay Networks.
   MPLS enables the use of Frame Relay Switches as Label Switching
   Routers (LSRs).

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction................................................2
   2. Terminology.................................................3
   3. Special Characteristics of Frame Relay Switches.............4
   4. Label Encapsulation.........................................5
   5. Frame Relay Label Switching Processing......................6
   5.1  Use of DLCIs..............................................6
   5.2  Homogeneous LSPs..........................................7
   5.3  Heterogeneous LSPs........................................7
   5.4  Frame Relay Label Switching Loop Prevention and Control...7
   5.4.1   FR-LSRs Loop Control - MPLS TTL Processing.............7
   5.4.2   Performing MPLS TTL calculations.......................8
   5.5  Label Processing by Ingress FR-LSRs......................12

   5.6  Label Processing by Core FR-LSRs.........................12
   5.7  Label Processing by Egress FR-LSRs.......................13
   6.  Label Switching Control Component for Frame Relay.........13
   6.1  Hybrid Switches (Ships in the Night)  ...................14
   7.  Label Allocation and Maintenance Procedures ..............15
   7.1  Edge LSR Behavior........................................15
   7.2  Efficient use of label space-Merging FR-LSRs.............18
   7.3  LDP message fields specific to Frame Relay...............19
   8.  Security Considerations  .................................21
   9.  Acknowledgments  .........................................21
   10. References  ..............................................22
   11. Authors' Addresses  ......................................23
   12. Full Copyright Statement  ................................24

1. Introduction

   The Multiprotocol Label Switching Architecture is described in
   [ARCH].  It is possible to use Frame Relay switches as Label
   Switching Routers.  Such Frame Relay switches run network layer
   routing algorithms (such as OSPF, IS-IS, etc.), and their forwarding
   is based on the results of these routing algorithms.  No specific
   Frame Relay routing is needed.

   When a Frame Relay switch is used for label switching, the top
   (current) label, on which forwarding decisions are based, is carried
   in the DLCI field of the Frame Relay data link layer header of a
   frame.  Additional information carried along with the top (current)
   label, but not processed by Frame Relay switching, along with other
   labels, if the packet is multiply labeled, are carried in the generic
   MPLS encapsulation defined in [STACK].

   Frame Relay permanent virtual circuits (PVCs) could be configured to
   carry label switching based traffic.  The DLCIs would be used as MPLS
   Labels and the Frame Relay switches would become Frame Relay Label
   Switching Routers, while the MPLS traffic would be encapsulated
   according to this specification, and would be forwarded based on
   network layer routing information.

   The keywords MUST, MUST NOT, MAY, OPTIONAL, REQUIRED, RECOMMENDED,
   SHALL, SHALL NOT, SHOULD, SHOULD NOT are to be interpreted as defined
   in RFC 2119.

   This document is a companion document to [STACK] and [ATM].

2. Terminology

   LSR

      A Label Switching Router (LSR) is a device which implements the
      label switching control and forwarding components described in
      [ARCH].

   LC-FR

      A label switching controlled Frame Relay (LC-FR) interface is a
      Frame Relay interface controlled by the label switching control
      component.  Packets traversing such an interface carry labels in
      the DLCI field.

   FR-LSR

      A FR-LSR is an LSR with one or more LC-FR interfaces which
      forwards frames between two such interfaces using labels carried
      in the DLCI field.

   FR-LSR domain

      A FR-LSR domain is a set of FR-LSRs, which are mutually
      interconnected by LC-FR interfaces.

   Edge Set

      The Edge Set of an FR-LSR domain is the set of LSRs, which are
      connected to the domain by LC-FR interfaces.

   Forwarding Encapsulation

      The Forwarding Encapsulation is the type of MPLS encapsulation
      (Frame Relay, ATM, Generic) of a packet that determines the
      packet's MPLS forwarding, or the network layer encapsulation if
      that packet is forwarded based on the network layer (IP,
      etc...)header.

   Input Encapsulation

      The Input Encapsulation is the type of MPLS encapsulation (Frame
      Relay, ATM, Generic) of a packet when that packet is received on
      an LSR's interface, or the network layer (IP, etc...)encapsulation
      if that packet has no MPLS encapsulation.

   Output Encapsulation

      The Output Encapsulation is the type of MPLS encapsulation (Frame
      Relay, ATM, Generic) of a packet when that packet is transmitted
      on an LSR's interface, or the network layer (IP,
      etc...)encapsulation if that packet has no MPLS encapsulation.

   Input TTL

      The Input TTL is the MPLS TTL of the top of the stack when a
      labeled packet is received on an LSR interface, or the network
      layer (IP) TTL if the packet is not labeled.

   Output TTL

      The Output TTL is the MPLS TTL of the top of the stack when a
      labeled packet is transmitted on an LSR interface, or the network
      layer (IP) TTL if the packet is not labeled.

   Additionally, this document uses terminology from [ARCH].

3. Special characteristics of Frame Relay Switches

   While the label switching architecture permits considerable
   flexibility in LSR implementation, a FR-LSR is constrained by the
   capabilities of the (possibly pre-existing) hardware and the
   restrictions on such matters as frame format imposed by the
   Multiprotocol Interconnect over Frame Relay [MIFR], or Frame Relay
   standards [FRF], etc.... Because of these constraints, some special
   procedures are required for FR-LSRs.

   Some of the key features of Frame Relay switches that affect their
   behavior as LSRs are:

   -  the label swapping function is performed on fields (DLCI) in the
      frame's Frame Relay data link header; this dictates the size and
      placement of the label(s) in a packet.  The size of the DLCI field
      can be 10 (default) or 23 bits, and it can span two or four bytes
      in the header.

   -  there is generally no capability to perform a 'TTL-decrement'
      function as is performed on IP headers in routers.

   -  congestion control is performed by each node based on parameters
      that are passed at circuit creation.  Flags in the frame headers
      may be set as a consequence of congestion, or exceeding the
      contractual parameters of the circuit.

   -  although in a standard switch it may be possible to configure
      multiple input DLCIs to one output DLCI resulting in a
      multipoint-to-point circuit, multipoint-to-multipoint VCs are
      generally not fully supported.

   This document describes ways of applying label switching to Frame
   Relay switches, which work within these constraints.

4. Label Encapsulation

   By default, all labeled packets should be transmitted with the
   generic label encapsulation as defined in [STACK], using the frame
   relay null encapsulation mechanism:

               0                       1                       (Octets)
              +-----------------------+-----------------------+
   (Octets)0  |                                               |
              /                 Q.922 Address                 /
              /             (length 'n' equals 2 or 4)        /
              |                                               |
              +-----------------------+-----------------------+
           n  |                       .                       |
              /                       .                       /
              /                  MPLS packet                  /
              |                       .                       |
              +-----------------------+-----------------------+

      "n" is the length of the Q.922 Address which can be 2 or 4 octets.

      The Q.922 [ITU] representation of a DLCI (in canonical order  -
      the first bit is stored in the least significant, i.e., the
      right-most bit of a byte in memory) [CANON] is the following:

            7     6     5     4     3     2     1     0      (bit order)
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
(octet) 0  |            DLCI(high order)       |  0  |  0  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
        1  |  DLCI(low order)      |  0  |  0  |  0  |  1  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

              10 bits DLCI

            7     6     5     4     3     2     1     0      (bit order)
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----00
(octet) 0  |            DLCI(high order)       |  0  |  0  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----
        1  |  DLCI                 |  0  |  0  |  0  |  0  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
        2  |             DLCI                        |  0  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
        3  |       DLCI (low order)            |  0  |  1  |
           +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

              23 bits DLCI

   The use of the frame relay null encapsulation implies that labels
   implicitly encode the network protocol type.

   Rules regarding the construction of the label stack, and error
   messages returned to the frame source are also described in [STACK].

   The generic encapsulation contains "n" labels for a label stack of
   depth "n" [STACK], where the top stack entry carries significant
   values for the EXP, S , and TTL fields [STACK] but not for the label,
   which is rather carried in the DLCI field of the Frame Relay data
   link header encoded in Q.922 [ITU] address format.

5. Frame Relay Label Switching Processing

5.1  Use of DLCIs

   Label switching is accomplished by associating labels with routes and
   using the label value to forward packets, including determining the
   value of any replacement label.  See [ARCH] for further details.  In
   a FR-LSR, the top (current) MPLS label is carried in the DLCI field
   of the Frame Relay data link layer header of the frame.  The top
   label carries implicitly information about the network protocol type.

   For two connected FR-LSRs, a full-duplex connection must be available
   for LDP.  The DLCI for the LDP VC is assigned a value by way of
   configuration, similar to configuring the DLCI used to run IP routing
   protocols between the switches.

   With the exception of this configured value, the DLCI values used for
   MPLS in the two directions of the link may be treated as belonging to
   two independent spaces, i.e., VCs may be half-duplex, each direction
   with its own DLCI.

   The allowable ranges of DLCIs, the size of DLCIs, and the support for
   VC merging MUST be communicated through LDP messages.  Note that the
   range of DLCIs used for labels depends on the size of the DLCI field.

5.2  Homogeneous LSPs

   If <LSR1, LSR2, LSR3> is an LSP, it is possible that LSR1, LSR2, and
   LSR3 will use the same encoding of the label stack when transmitting
   packet P from LSR1, to LSR2, and then to LSR3.  Such an LSP is
   homogeneous.

5.3  Heterogeneous LSPs

   If <LSR1, LSR2, LSR3> is an LSP, it is possible that LSR1 will use
   one encoding of the label stack when transmitting packet P to LSR2,
   but LSR2 will use a different encoding when transmitting a packet P
   to LSR3.  In general, the MPLS architecture supports LSPs with
   different label stack encodings on different hops.  When a labeled
   packet is received, the LSR must decode it to determine the current
   value of the label stack, then must operate on the label stack to
   determine the new label value of the stack, and then encode the new
   value appropriately before transmitting the labeled packet to its
   next hop.

   Naturally there will be MPLS networks which contain a combination of
   Frame Relay switches operating as LSRs, and other LSRs, which operate
   using other MPLS encapsulations, such as the Generic (MPLS shim
   header), or ATM encapsulation.  In such networks there may be some
   LSRs, which have Frame Relay interfaces as well as MPLS Generic
   ("MPLS Shim") interfaces.  This is one example of an LSR with
   different label stack encodings on different hops of the same LSP.
   Such an LSR may swap off a Frame Relay encoded label on an incoming
   interface and replace it with a label encoded into a Generic MPLS
   (MPLS shim) header on the outgoing interface.

5.4  Frame Relay Label Switching Loop Prevention and Control

   FR-LSRs SHOULD operate on loop free FR-LSPs or LSP Frame Relay
   segments.  Therefore, FR-LSRs SHOULD use loop detection and MAY use
   loop prevention mechanisms as described in [ARCH], and [LDP].

5.4.1  FR-LSRs Loop Control - MPLS TTL processing

   The MPLS TTL encoded in the MPLS label stack is a mechanism used to:

   (a) suppress loops;

   (b) limit the scope of a packet.

   When a packet travels along an LSP, it should emerge with the same
   TTL value that it would have had if it had traversed the same
   sequence of routers without having been label switched.  If the
   packet travels along a hierarchy of LSPs, the total number of LSR-
   hops traversed should be reflected in its TTL value when it emerges
   from the hierarchy of LSPs [ARCH].

   The initial value of the MPLS TTL is loaded into a newly pushed label
   stack entry from the previous TTL value, whether that is from the
   network layer header when no previous label stack existed, or from a
   pre-existent lower level label stack entry.

   A FR-LSR switching same level labeled packets does not decrement the
   MPLS TTL.  A sequence of such FR-LSR is a "non-TTL segment".

   When a packet emerges from a "non-TTL LSP segment", it should however
   reflect in the TTL the number of LSR-hops it traversed.  In the
   unicast case, this can be achieved by propagating a meaningful LSP
   length or LSP Frame Relay segment length to the FR-LSR ingress nodes,
   enabling the ingress to decrement the TTL value before forwarding
   packets into a non-TTL LSP segment [ARCH].

   When an ingress FR-LSR determines upon decrementing the MPLS TTL that
   a particular packet's TTL will expire before the packet reaches the
   egress of the "non-TTL LSP segment", the FR-LSR MUST not label switch
   the packet, but rather follow the specifications in [STACK] in an
   attempt to return an error message to the packet's source:

      -  it treats the packet as an expired packet and return an ICMP
         message to its source.

      -  it forwards the packet, as an unlabeled packet, with a TTL that
         reflects the IP (network layer) forwarding.

   If the incoming TTL is 1, only the first option applies.

   In the multicast case, a meaningful LSP length or LSP segment length
   is propagated to the FR-LSR egress node, enabling the egress to
   decrement the TTL value before forwarding packets out of the non-TTL
   LSP segment.

5.4.2  Performing MPLS TTL calculations

   The calculation applied to the "input TTL" that yields the "output
   TTL" depends on (i)the "input encapsulation", (ii)the "forwarding
   encapsulation", and (iii)the "output encapsulation".  The
   relationship among (i),(ii), and (iii), can be defined as a function

   "D" of "input encapsulation" (ie), "forwarding encapsulation" (fe),
   and "output encapsulation" (oe).  Subsequently the calculation
   applied to the "input TTL" to yield the "output TTL" can be described
   as:

     output TTL = input TTL - D(ie, fe, oe)

   or in a brief notation:

     output TTL = input TTL - d

   where "d" has three possible values: "0","1", or "the number of hops
   of the LSP segment":

   For unicast transmission:

+================+=================+=================+=================+
|                |     Type of     |     Type of     |     Type of     |
|       d        |      Input      |    Forwarding   |     Output      |
|                |  Encapsulation  |  Encapsulation  |  Encapsulation  |
+================+=================+=================+=================+
|       0        |   Frame Relay   |   Frame Relay   |   Frame Relay   |
+----------------+-----------------+-----------------+-----------------+
|       1        |       any       |  Generic MPLS   |  Generic MPLS   |
+----------------+-----------------+-----------------+-----------------+
| number of hops |                 |  Generic MPLS   |                 |
|      of        |       any       |      or         |   Frame Relay   |
|  LSP segment   |                 |IP(network layer)|                 |
+================+=================+=================+=================+

   The "number of hops of the LSP segment" is the value of the "hop
   count" that is attached with the label used when the packet is
   forwarded, if LDP [LDP] has provided such a "hop count" value when it
   distributed the label for the LSP, that is the LDP message had a "hop
   count object".  If LDP didn't provide a "hop count", or it provided
   an "unknown" value, the default value of the "number of hops of the
   segment" is 1.

   When sending a label binding upstream, the "hop count" associated
   with the corresponding binding from downstream, if different than the
   "unknown" value, MUST be incremented by 1, and the result transmitted
   upstream as the hop count associated with the new binding (the
   "unknown" value is transmitted unchanged).  If the new "hop count"
   value exceeds the "maximum" value, the FR-LSR MUST NOT pass the
   binding upstream, but instead MUST send an error upstream
   [LDP][ARCH].

   For multicast transmission:

+================+=================+=================+=================+
|                |     Type of     |     Type of     |     Type of     |
|       d        |      Input      |    Forwarding   |     Output      |
|                |  Encapsulation  |  Encapsulation  |  Encapsulation  |
+================+=================+=================+=================+
|       0        |   Frame Relay   |   Frame Relay   |   Frame Relay   |
+----------------+-----------------+-----------------+-----------------+
|                |                 |  Generic MPLS   |                 |
|       1        |       any       |      or         |   Frame Relay   |
|                |                 |IP(network layer)|                 |
+----------------+-----------------+-----------------+-----------------+
| number of hops |                 |  Generic MPLS   |                 |
|      of        |  Frame Relay    |      or         |       any       |
|  LSP segment   |                 |IP(network layer)|                 |
+================+=================+=================+=================+

   Referring to the "forwarding encapsulation" with the abbreviation "I"
   for IP (network layer), "G" for Generic MPLS, and "F" for Frame Relay
   MPLS, referring to an LSR interface with the abbreviation "i" if the
   input or output encapsulation is IP and no MPLS encapsulation, "g"
   when the input or output MPLS encapsulation is Generic MPLS, "f" when
   it is Frame Relay, "a" when it is ATM, and furthermore considering
   the symbols "iIf", "gGf", "fFf", etc... as LSRs with input,
   forwarding and output encapsulations as referred above, the following
   describes examples of TTL calculations for the Homogeneous and
   Heterogeneous LSPs discussed in previous sections:

                         Homogeneous LSP
                         ---------------
        IP_ttl = n                             IP_ttl=mpls_ttl-1 = n-6
        --------->iIf                      fIi--------->
                    | mpls_ttl = n-5       ^
                    |                      |
number of hops     1|     Frame Relay      |5
                    |                      |
                    V   2      3      4    |
                    fFf--->fFf--->fFf--->fFf

 "iIf" is "ingress LSR" in Frame Relay LSP and
        calculates: mpls_ttl = IP_TTL - number of hops = n-5
 "fIi" is "egress LSR" from Frame Relay LSP, and
        calculates: IP_ttl = mpls_ttl-1 = n-6

                          Heterogeneous LSP
                          -----------------
ingress LSR                                                  egress LSR
IP_ttl = n                                               IP_ttl = n - 15
links   LAN   PPP        FR          ATM    PPP    FR     LAN
 --->iIg-->gGg-->gGf            fGa       aGg-->gGf       fGg-->gIi--->
hops     1     2   |     6      | |   9   |  10   |  13   ^  14    15
                   |1          4| |1     3|       |1     3|
                   V  2     3   | V   2   |       V   2   |
                  fFf-->fFf-->fFf aAa-->aAa       fFf-->fFf
mpls_ttl
       n-1   n-2  (n-2)-4=n-6  (n-6)-3=n-9  n-10  n-13     n-14

"iIg" is "ingress LSR" in LSP; it calculates: mpls_ttl=n-1
"gGf" is "egress LSR" from Generic MPLS segment, and
      "ingress LSR" in Frame Relay segment and calculates: mpls_ttl=n-6
"fGa" "egress LSR" from Frame Relay segment, and
      "ingress LSR" in ATM segment and calculates: mpls_ttl=n-9
"gGf" is "egress LSR" from Generic MPLS segment, and
      "ingress LSR" in Frame Relay segment and calculates: mpls_ttl=n-13
"fGg" is "egress LSR" from Frame Relay segment, and
      ingress LSR" in Generic MPLS segment and calculates: mpls_ttl=n-14
"gIi" is "egress LSR" from  LSP and calculates: IP_ttl=n-15

      And further examples:

                Frame Relay Unicast -- TTL calculated at ingress

   (ingress LSR)  1     2        3      4
            x--->---+--->---+--->>--+-->>---x (egress LSR)
      o.ttl=i.ttl-4         |     2      3
                            ^
    hops                   1|
                            |
                            x (ingress LSR)
                              o.ttl=i.ttl-3

          Frame Relay Multicast -- TTL calculated at egress

                (egress LSR)x  o.ttl=i.ttl-3
    hops                    |
                            ^3
     (ingress LSR)          |            o.ttl=i.ttl-4
            x--->---+--->---+--->---+--->---x (egress LSR)
                1       2       3       4

5.5  Label Processing by Ingress FR-LSRs

   When a packet first enters an MPLS domain, the packet is forwarded by
   normal  network  layer  forwarding operations with the exception that
   the outgoing encapsulation will include an MPLS label stack [STACK]
   with at least one entry.  The frame relay null encapsulation will
   carry information about the network layer protocol implicitly in the
   label, which MUST be associated only with that network protocol.  The
   TTL field in the top label stack entry is filled with the network
   layer TTL (or hop limit) resulted after network layer forwarding
   [STACK].  The further FR-LSR processing is similar in both possible
   cases:

   (a) the LSP is homogeneous -- Frame Relay only -- and the FR-LSR is
   the ingress.

   (b) the LSP is heterogeneous -- Frame Relay, PPP, Ethernet, ATM,
   etc... segments form the LSP -- and the FR-LSR is the ingress into a
   Frame Relay segment.

   For unicast packets, the MPLS TTL SHOULD be decremented with the
   number of hops of the Frame Relay LSP (homogeneous), or Frame Relay
   segment of the LSP (heterogeneous).  An LDP constructing the LSP
   SHOULD pass meaningful information to the ingress FR-LSR regarding
   the number of hops of the "non-TTL segment".

   For multicast packets, the MPLS TTL SHOULD be decremented by 1.  An
   LDP constructing the LSP SHOULD pass meaningful information to the
   egress FR-LSR regarding the number of hops of the "non-TTL segment".

   Next, the MPLS encapsulated packet is passed down to the Frame Relay
   data link driver with the top label as output DLCI.  The Frame Relay
   frame carrying the MPLS encapsulated packet is forwarded onto the
   Frame Relay VC to the next LSR.

5.6  Label Processing by Core FR-LSRs

   In a FR-LSR, the current (top) MPLS label is carried in the DLCI
   field of the Frame Relay data link layer header of the frame.  Just
   as in conventional Frame Relay, for a frame arriving at an interface,
   the DLCI carried by the Frame Relay data link header is looked up in
   the DLCI Information Base, replaced with the correspondent output
   DLCI, and transmitted on the outgoing interface (forwarded to the
   next hop node).

   The current label information is also carried in the top of the label
   stack.  In the top-level entry, all fields except the label
   information, which is carried and switched in the Frame Relay frame
   data link-layer header, are of current significance.

5.7  Label Processing by Egress FR-LSRs

   When reaching the end of a Frame Relay LSP, the FR-LSR pops the label
   stack [ARCH].  If the label popped is the last label, it is necessary
   to determine the particular network layer protocol which is being
   carried.  The label stack carries no explicit information to identify
   the network layer protocol.  This must be inferred from the value of
   the label which is popped from the stack.

   If the label popped is not the last label, the previous top level
   MPLS TTL is propagated to the new top label stack entry.

   If the FR-LSR is the egress switch of a Frame Relay segment of a
   hybrid LSP, and the end of the Frame Relay segment is not the end of
   the LSP, the MPLS packet will be processed for forwarding onto the
   next segment of the LSP based on the information held in the Next Hop
   Label Forwarding Entry (NHLFE) [ARCH].  The output label is set to
   the value from the NHLFE, and the MPLS TTL is decremented by the
   appropriate value depending the type of the output interface and the
   type of transmit operation (see section 6.3).  Further, the MPLS
   packet is forwarded according to the MPLS specifications for the
   particular link of the next segment of the LSP.

   For unicast packets, the MPLS TTL SHOULD be decremented by one if the
   output interface is a generic one, or with the number of hops of the
   next ATM segment of the LSP (heterogeneous), if the output interface
   is an ATM (non-TTL) interface.

   For multicast packets, the MPLS TTL SHOULD be decremented by the
   number of hops of the FR segment being exited.  An LDP constructing
   the LSP SHOULD pass meaningful information to the egress FR-LSR
   regarding the number of hops of the FR "non-TTL segment".

6.  Label Switching Control Component for Frame Relay

   To support label switching a Frame Relay Switch MUST implement the
   control component of label switching, which consists primarily of
   label allocation and maintenance procedures.  Label binding
   information MAY be communicated by several mechanisms, one of which
   is the Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) [LDP].

   Since the label switching control component uses information learned
   directly from network layer routing protocols, this implies that the
   switch MUST participate as a peer in these protocols (e.g., OSPF,
   IS-IS).

   In some cases, LSRs may use other protocols (e.g., RSVP, PIM, BGP) to
   distribute label bindings.  In these cases, a Frame Relay LSR should
   participate in these protocols.

   In the case where Frame Relay circuits are established via LDP, or
   RSVP, or others, with no involvement from traditional Frame Relay
   mechanisms, it is assumed that circuit establishing contractual
   information such as input/output maximum frame size,
   incoming/outgoing requested/agreed throughput, incoming/outgoing
   acceptable throughput, incoming/outgoing burst size,
   incoming/outgoing frame rate, used in transmitting, and congestion
   control MAY be passed to the FR-LSRs through RSVP, or can be
   statically configured.  It is also assumed that congestion control
   and frame header flagging as a consequence of congestion, would be
   done by the FR-LSRs in a similar fashion as for traditional Frame
   Relay circuits.  With the goal of emulating a best-effort router as
   default, the default VC parameters, in the absence of LDP, RSVP, or
   other mechanisms participation to setting such parameters, should be
   zero CIR, so that input policing will set the DE bit in incoming
   frames, but no frames are dropped.

   Control and state information for the circuits based on MPLS MAY be
   communicated through LDP.

   Support of label switching on a Frame Relay switch requires
   conformance only to [FRF] (framing, bit-stuffing, headers, FCS)
   except for section 2.3 (PVC control signaling procedures, aka LMI).
   Q.933 signaling for PVCs and/or SVCs is not required.  PVC and/or SVC
   signaling may be used for non-MPLS (standard Frame Relay) PVCs and/or
   SVCs when both are running on the same interface as MPLS, as
   discussed in the next section.

6.1  Hybrid Switches (Ships in the Night)

   The existence of the label switching control component on a Frame
   Relay switch does not preclude the ability to support the Frame Relay
   control component defined by the ITU and Frame Relay Forum on the
   same switch and the same interfaces (NICs).  The two control
   components, label switching and those defined by ITU/Frame Relay
   Forum, would operate independently.

   Definition of how such a device operates is beyond the scope of this
   document.  However, only a small amount of information needs to be
   consistent between the two control components, such as the portions
   of the DLCI space which are available to each component.

7.  Label Allocation and Maintenance Procedures

   The mechanisms and message formats of a Label Distribution Protocol
   are documented in [ARCH] and [LDP].  The "downstream-on-demand" label
   allocation and maintenance mechanism discussed in this section MUST
   be used by FR-LSRs that do not support VC merging, and it MAY also be
   used by FR-LSRs that do support VC merging (note that this mechanism
   applies to hop-by-hop routed traffic):

7.1   Edge LSR Behavior

   Consider a member of the Edge Set of a FR-LSR domain.  Assume that,
   as a result of its routing calculations, it selects a FR-LSR as the
   next hop of a certain route (FEC), and that the next hop is reachable
   via a LC-Frame Relay interface.  Assume that the next-hop FR-LSR is
   an "LDP-peer" [ARCH][LDP].  The Edge LSR sends an LDP "request"
   message for a label binding from the next hop, downstream LSR.  When
   the Edge LSR receives in response from the downstream LSR the label
   binding information in an LDP "mapping" message, the label is stored
   in the Label Information Base (LIB) as an outgoing label for that
   FEC.  The "mapping" message may contain the "hop count" object, which
   represents the number of hops a packet will take to cross the FR-LSR
   domain to the Egress FR-LSR when using this label.  This information
   may be stored for TTL calculation.  Once this is done, the LSR may
   use MPLS forwarding to transmit packets in that FEC.

   When a member of the Edge Set of the FR-LSR domain receives an LDP
   "request" message from a FR-LSR for a FEC, it means it is the
   Egress-FR-LSR.  It allocates a label, creates a new entry in its
   Label Information Base (LIB), places that label in the incoming label
   component of the entry, and returns (via LDP) a "mapping" message
   containing the allocated label back upstream to the LDP peer that
   originated the request.  The "mapping" message contains the "hop
   count" object value set to 1.

   When a routing calculation causes an Edge LSR to change the next hop
   for a route, and the former next hop was in the FR-LSR domain, the
   Edge LSR should notify the former next hop (via an LDP "release"
   message) that the label binding associated with the route is no
   longer needed.

   When a Frame Relay-LSR receives an LDP "request" message for a
   certain route (FEC) from an LDP peer connected to the FR-LSR over a
   LC-FR interface, the FR-LSR takes the following actions:

      -  it allocates a label, creates a new entry in its Label
         Information Base (LIB), and places that label in the incoming
         label component of the entry;

      -  it propagates the "request", by sending an LDP "request"
         message to the next hop LSR, downstream for that route (FEC);

   In the "ordered control" mode [ARCH], the FR-LSR will wait for its
   "request" to be responded from downstream with a "mapping" message
   before returning the "mapping" upstream in response to a "request"
   ("ordered control" approach [ARCH]).  In this case, the FR-LSR
   increments the hop count it received from downstream and uses this
   value in the "mapping" it returns upstream.

   Alternatively, the FR-LSR may return the binding upstream without
   waiting for a binding from downstream ("independent control" approach
   [ARCH]).  In this case, it uses a reserved value for hop count in the
   "mapping", indicating that it is 'unknown'.  The correct value for
   hop count will be returned later, as described below.

   Since both the "ordered" and "independent" control has advantages and
   disadvantages, this is left as an implementation, or configuration
   choice.

   Once the FR-LSR receives in response the label binding in an LDP
   "mapping" message from the next hop, it places the label into the
   outgoing label component of the LIB entry.

   Note that a FR-LSR, or a member of the edge set of a FR-LSR domain,
   may receive multiple binding requests for the same route (FEC) from
   the same FR-LSR.  It must generate a new "mapping" for each "request"
   (assuming adequate resources to do so), and retain any existing
   mapping(s).  For each "request" received, a FR-LSR should also
   generate a new binding "request" toward the next hop for the route
   (FEC).

   When a routing calculation causes a FR-LSR to change the next hop for
   a route (FEC), the FR-LSR should notify the former next hop (via an
   LDP "release" message) that the label binding associated with the
   route is no longer needed.

   When a LSR receives a notification that a particular label binding is
   no longer needed, the LSR may deallocate the label associated with
   the binding, and destroy the binding.  This mode is the "conservative

   label retention mode" [ARCH].  In the case where a FR-LSR receives
   such notification and destroys the binding, it should notify the next
   hop for the route that the label binding is no longer needed.  If a
   LSR does not destroy the binding (the FR-LSR is configured in
   "liberal label retention mode" [ARCH]), it may re-use the binding
   only if it receives a request for the same route with the same hop
   count as the request that originally caused the binding to be
   created.

   When a route changes, the label bindings are re-established from the
   point where the route diverges from the previous route.  LSRs
   upstream of that point are (with one exception, noted below)
   oblivious to the change.  Whenever a LSR changes its next hop for a
   particular route, if the new next hop is a FR-LSR or a member of the
   edge set reachable via a LC-FR interface, then for each entry in its
   LIB associated with the route the LSR should request (via LDP) a
   binding from the new next hop.

   When a FR-LSR receives a label binding from a downstream neighbor, it
   may already have provided a corresponding label binding for this
   route to an upstream neighbor, either because it is using
   "independent control" or because the new binding from downstream is
   the result of a routing change.  In this case, it should extract the
   hop count from the new binding and increment it by one.  If the new
   hop count is different from that which was previously conveyed to the
   upstream neighbor (including the case where the upstream neighbor was
   given the value 'unknown') the FR-LSR must notify the upstream
   neighbor of the change.  Each FR-LSR in turn increments the hop count
   and passes it upstream until it reaches the ingress Edge LSR.

   Whenever a FR-LSR originates a label binding request to its next hop
   LSR as a result of receiving a label binding request from another
   (upstream) LSR, and the request to the next hop LSR is not satisfied,
   the FR-LSR should destroy the binding created in response to the
   received request, and notify the requester (via an LDP "withdraw"
   message).

   When an LSR determines that it has lost its LDP session with another
   LSR, the following actions are taken:

      -  MUST discard any binding information learned via this
         connection;

      -  For any label bindings that were created as a result of
         receiving label binding requests from the peer, the LSR may
         destroy these bindings (and deallocate labels associated with
         these binding).

7.2   Efficient use of label space - Merging FR-LSRs

   The above discussion assumes that an edge LSR will request one label
   for each prefix in its routing table that has a next hop in the FR-
   LSR domain. In fact, it is possible to significantly reduce the
   number of labels needed by having the edge LSR request instead one
   label for several routes.  Use of many-to-one mappings between routes
   (address  prefixes) and labels using the notion of Forwarding
   Equivalence Classes (as described in [ARCH]) provides a mechanism to
   conserve the number of labels.

   Note that conserving label space (VC merging) may be restricted in
   case the frame traffic requires Frame Relay fragmentation.  The issue
   is that Frame Relay fragments must be transmitted in sequence, i.e.,
   fragments of distinct frames must not be interleaved.  If the
   fragmenting FR-LSR ensures the transmission in sequence of all
   fragments of a frame, without interleaving with fragments of other
   frames, then label conservation (VC merging) can be performed.

   When label conservation is used, when a FR-LSR receives a binding
   request from an upstream LSR for a certain FEC, and it does already
   have an outgoing label binding for that FEC, it does not need to
   issue a downstream binding request.  Instead, it may allocate an
   incoming label, and return that label in a binding to the upstream
   requester.  Packets received from the requester, with that label as
   top label, will be forwarded after replacing the label with the
   existing outgoing label for that FEC.  If the FR-LSR does not have an
   outgoing label binding for that FEC, but does have an outstanding
   request for one, it need not issue another request.  This means that
   in a label conservation case, a FR-LSR must respond with a new
   binding for every upstream request, but it may need to send one
   binding request downstream.

   In case of label conservation, if a change in the routing table
   causes FR-LSR to select a new next hop for one of its FECs, it MAY
   release the binding for that route from the former next hop.  If it
   doesn't already have a corresponding binding for the new next hop, it
   must request one (note that the choice depends on the label retention
   mode [ARCH]).

   If a new binding is obtained, which contain a hop count that differs
   from that of the old binding, the FR-LSR must process the new hop
   count: increment by 1, if different than "unknown", and notify the
   upstream neighbors who have label bindings for this FEC of the new
   value.  To ensure that loops will be detected, if the new hop count
   exceeds the "maximum" value, the label values for this FEC must be
   withdrawn from all upstream neighbors to whom a binding was
   previously sent.

7.3   LDP messages specific to Frame Relay

   The Label Distribution Protocol [LDP] messages exchanged between two
   Frame Relay "LDP-peer" LSRs may contain Frame Relay specific
   information such as:

   "Frame Relay Label Range":

       0                   1                   2                   3
       0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      | Reserved    |Len|               Minimum DLCI                  |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      | Reserved        |               Maximum DLCI                  |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

   with the following fields:

   Reserved
      This fields are reserved.  They must be set to zero on
      transmission and must be ignored on receipt.

   Len
      This field specifies the number of bits of the DLCI.  The
      following values are supported:

          Len  DLCI bits

          0     10
          2     23

      Len values 1 and 3 are reserved for future use.

   Minimum DLCI
      This 23 bit field is the binary value of the lower bound of a
      block of Data Link Connection Identifiers (DLCIs) that is
      supported by the originating FR-LSR.  The Minimum DLCI should be
      right justified in this field and the preceding bits should be set
      to 0.

   Maximum DLCI
      This 23 bit field is the binary value of the upper bound of a
      block of Data Link Connection Identifiers (DLCIs) that is
      supported by the originating FR-LSR.  The Maximum DLCI should be
      right justified in this field and the preceding bits should be set
      to 0.

   "Frame Relay Merge":

          0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
         +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
         | Reserved    |M|
         +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

      with the following fields:

   Merge
      One bit field that specifies the merge capabilities of the FR-LSR:

      Value                  Meaning

        0                    Merge NOT supported
        1                    Merge supported

      A FR-LSR that supports VC merging MUST ensure that fragmented
      frames from distinct incoming DLCIs are not interleaved on the
      outgoing DLCI.

   Reserved
      This field is reserved.  It must be set to zero on transmission
      and must be ignored on receipt.

   and "Frame Relay Label":

       0                   1                   2                   3
       0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
      | Reserved    |Len|                       DLCI                  |
      +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

   with the following fields:

   Reserved
      This field is reserved.  It must be set to zero on transmission and
      must be ignored on receipt.

   Len
      This field specifies the number of bits of the DLCI.  The following
      values are supported:

          Len  DLCI bits

          0     10
          2     23

      Len values 1 and 3 are reserved for future use.

   DLCI
      The binary value of the Frame Relay Label.  The significant number
      of bits (10 or 23) of the label value are to be encoded into the
      Data Link Connection Identifier (DLCI) field when part of the
      Frame Relay data link header (see Section 4.).

8.  Security Considerations

   This section looks at the security aspects of:

      (a) frame traffic,

      (b) label distribution.

   MPLS encapsulation has no effect on authenticated or encrypted
   network layer packets, that is IP packets that are authenticated or
   encrypted will incur no change.

   The MPLS protocol has no mechanisms of its own to protect against
   misdirection of packets or the impersonation of an LSR by accident or
   malicious intent.

   Altering by accident or forgery an existent label in the DLCI field
   of the Frame Relay data link layer header of a frame or one or more
   fields in a potentially following label stack affects the forwarding
   of that frame.

   The label distribution mechanism can be secured by applying the
   appropriate level of security to the underlying protocol carrying
   label information - authentication or encryption - see [LDP].

9.  Acknowledgments

   The initial version of this document was derived from the Label
   Switching over ATM document [ATM].

   Thanks for the extensive reviewing and constructive comments from (in
   alphabetical order) Dan Harrington, Milan Merhar, Martin Mueller,
   Eric Rosen.  Also thanks to George Swallow for the suggestion to use
   null encapsulation, and to Eric Gray for his reviewing.

   Also thanks to Nancy Feldman and Bob Thomas for their collaboration
   in including the LDP messages specific to Frame Relay LSRs.

10.  References

   [MIFR]  Bradley, T., Brown, C. and A. Malis, "Multiprotocol
           Interconnect over Frame Relay", RFC 2427, September 1998.

   [ARCH]  Rosen, E., Callon, R. and A. Vishwanathan, "Multi-Protocol
           Label Switching Architecture", RFC 3031, January 2001.

   [LDP]   Andersson, L., Doolan, P., Feldman, N., Fredette, A. and R.
           Thomas, "Label Distribution Protocol", RFC 3036, January
           2001.

   [STACK] Rosen, E., Rehter, Y., Tappan, D., Farinacci, D., Fedorkow,
           G., Li, T. and A. Conta, "MPLS Label Stack Encoding", RFC
           3032, January 2001.

   [ATM]   Davie, B., Lawrence, J., McCloghrie, M., Rosen, E., Swallow,
           G., Rekhter, Y., and P. Doolan, "Use of Label Switching with
           ATM", RFC 3035, January 2001.

   [ITU]   International Telecommunications Union, "ISDN Data Link Layer
           Specification for Frame Mode Bearer Services", ITU-T
           Recommendation Q.922, 1992.

   [FRF]   Frame Relay Forum, User-to-Network Implementation Agreement
           (UNI), FRF 1.1, January 19, 1996.

11.  Authors' Addresses

   Alex Conta
   Transwitch Corporation
   3 Enterprise Drive
   Shelton, CT 06484

   Phone: 1-203-929-8810
   EMail: aconta@txc.com

   Paul Doolan
   Ennovate Networks
   60 Codman Hill Rd
   Boxborough MA 01719

   Phone: 1-978-263-2002
   EMail: pdoolan@ennovatenetworks.com

   Andrew G. Malis
   Vivace Networks, Inc.
   2730 Orchard Parkway
   San Jose, CA 95134
   USA

   Phone: 1-408-383-7223
   Fax:   1-408-904-4748
   EMail: Andy.Malis@vivacenetworks.com

12.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
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   English.

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
   "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
   TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
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Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

 

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