Guest

MPLS

Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder Q&A

Q & A

Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder is management software that enables service providers to effectively deploy and manage MPLS Traffic Engineering services.

Q. What are the key benefits of Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder allows service providers to reduce MPLS TE deployment time by offering a "point and click" provisioning tool, rather than the CLI. Further, Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder offers service providers a global view of the network instead of router-by-router provisioning.

Q. Who is the target market for this product?

A. The target customers are service providers (or large enterprises) that need a network wide MPLS TE provisioning tool, versus a single router "view" (i.e., CLI).

Q. When will Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder be available?

A. The first release was available in March 2002.

Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder Pro, including support for Automatic back up path placement, is currently scheduled for an upcoming release of Cisco IOS Software.

Q. Where can I find more information about Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. http://www.cisco.com/ univercd/cc/td/ doc/product/rtrmgmt/ tnlbldr/tb1_0/tbreln10.htm

Q. How does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder support MPLS Traffic Engineering provisioning?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder provisions MPLS TE by providing a GUI-based interface for TE Labeled Switch Paths (LSPs) configuration and management. TE tunnels are configured at the head-end; however, bandwidth must be specifically provisioned at each midpoint router.

Q. How does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder allow ease of provisioning?

A.

  • Automatically generated config snippet creates TE tunnels between Head-End and Tail-end

  • GUI based configuration, including Head-End, Path, Tail-End selection

  • Access to Tunnel parameters (i.e., Affinity bits, Bandwidth, Preemption/ Hold priority, Autoroute, AutoBandwidth when defining new TE LSP)

Q. Which Network Maps are available under Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A.

  • Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP): network maps displays devices within the network as discovered by CDP, so only the devices running CDP are present.

  • MPLS TE topology: displays devices within the network that are TE-enabled (PE and P type routers only).

Q. Does Tunnel Builder support link management?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder gathers and displays the following information about the interfaces for each link in the network map

  • Maximum bandwidth

  • Maximum reservable global/subpool bandwidth

  • Bandwidth allocated and reservable per priority

  • Attribute bit settings

Q. Does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder provide information related to TE tunnels?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder gathers and displays the following information about the MPLS TE tunnels found in network map

  • Tunnel name

  • Tunnel status

  • Bandwidth specified for the tunnel

  • Priority

  • Affinity bit settings

  • Head-end and Tail-end

  • Explicit route (ERO) used by the tunnel

  • Autoroute setting

  • AutoBandwidth setting

  • Traffic sent and received

Q. Which configuration features are available with Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A.

  • Create Tunnels: new or existing explicit paths; dynamic paths, set bandwidth, priority, affinity

  • Delete Tunnels

  • Static routes configuration: manual, autoroute

  • Multiple Path options

  • Explicit paths management

  • Link configuration

  • Modification of existing tunnels

  • Batch tunnel creation

  • Auto bandwidth, Affinity configuration

Q. Is it possible to measure delay and/or jitter between two nodes with Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Service Assurance Agent (SAA) enables Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder to measure delay and jitter between two nodes. SAA is currently measured at the IP level (no knowledge of the MPLS TE ERO Path).

Cisco is currently investigating the possibility of extending SAA support per Tunnel, in conjunction with the Tunnel path.

Q. How can I determine whether a tunnel (TE LSP) is operational?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder listens to traps that are related to tunnel up/down. It is not currently feasible to ping "thru" the tunnel from Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder. (Note: Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder does not offer any ping interface).

Q. Which Operational Support System Application Programming Interfaces are available in the Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder plans to support Cobra, rather than Application Programming Interface (API).

Q. Which protocol is used to communicate with routers?

A. Tunnel Builder uses telnet protocol to send commands to and read back information from routers. It uses Standard Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to receive traps regarding interface status (up/down).

Q. Does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder support Secure Shell?

A. Secure Shell (SSH) is not currently supported, but that possibility is under consideration.

Q. How does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder handle passwords when it connects to routers?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder must have knowledge about the enable and "access" passwords, in order to retrieve information and send commands to routers. When Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder is started, both passwords must be supplied (if they fall within the clouds) in order to obtain network topology.

If each router has a different password, this information must be provided into the "password file," which is stored on the Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server.

Q. How can the Tunnel Builder router use a time-based password?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder does not currently support time-based passwords, as they are difficult to maintain and control.

Q. What is Backup Route Generator, and when will it become available?

A. Backup Route Generator (BRG) is an optimization algorithm that will output the best route based on certain number of criteria, including:

  • Do not use specific links or nodes

  • Bandwidth requirements

The purpose of BRG is to provide path placement in connection with Link Protection and Node Protection.

Q. Will Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder be integrated with Cisco VPN Solution Center?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder is independent from Cisco VPN Solution Center (VPNSC), and these different families of software do not interact

Plans are underway to study how they might be combined.

Q. What are the software and hardware requirements for the deployment of Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. The Java consists of two different pieces:

  • Tunnel Builder server: runs on Windows NT/ 2000, or Solaris 2.8 server with Java support.

    • Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server might run on any platform that supports Java, but it was extensively tested on Windows 2000 and Solaris.

    • Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server must be running on a web server that can handle Java, and provide the Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder Java applet to a web browser.

  • Client: an applet that runs in any browser that supports Java

    • Netscape 4.5 or later

    • Internet Explorer 5.0 or later

  • Recommended platforms:

    • Solaris v2.8—use the Netscape v4.79 with the Java Plug-in Version 1.3.1.01

    • Microsoft Windows NT/2000—with Netscape v4.7, Java Plug-in Version 1.3 must be installed before running

Q. What is the recommended disk space requirement for Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server?

A. Plan for a minimum of 80Mb of disk space.

Q. What devices can be provisioned with Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Any Cisco routers that support MPLS Traffic Engineering can be provisioned.

The following platforms can be provisioned with Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder v1.x:

  • Cisco 7200 Series Routers

  • Cisco 7500 Series Routers

  • Cisco 12000 Series Internet Routers

Q. Does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder enable TE on the interface of a router if LSP needs to go through that interface?

A. The current version of Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder does not enable MPLS TE support on the interface, but this feature is under consideration.

Q. Does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder allow for multiple graphical user interface clients?

A. Only one graphic user interface (GUI) client is recommended. You can use several clients and connect to the server.

Nevertheless, one might run into synchronization issues if, for example, both clients try to change parameters simultaneously on a given LSP. The notion of exclusive lock for some operations is not available in the current implementation.

Q. How can data consistency be maintained in a mixed environment, in which Management is accomplished via CLI and Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder?

A. Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server will fetch network topology when it is started for the first time, upon user request, and whenever there is any operation related to tunnel (creation, modification, deletion).

Data inconsistency might occur if changes are made thru CLI, and the Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server (and therefore GUI client) is not aware of those changes. It is therefore recommended to fetch topology from network on a regular basis.

Q. What does "Fetch From Network" do?

A. "Fetch From Network" will gather MPLS topology from the network.

When Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder starts, it gathers the topology from a "seed router', while the fetched topology is simultaneously cached locally on the server.

Q. What does "Fetch from Server" do?

A. MPLS TE topology can also be fetched from the server.

Note that when starting the GUI for the first time, "fetch from server" will always target a fetch from network.

Q. How does Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder log information about provisioning?

A. It is possible to enable the logging of Tunnel Builder commands, and commands sent to the router, when Cisco MPLS Tunnel Builder server is installed.

It can also be enabled to run in a debug mode, so it will log information based on the debug level:

  • None

  • Brief

  • Routers

  • Router_sent_only

  • Server_code

  • Full

The default setting is to not generate a log file. Most of the configuration information is stored in the TBConfig.txt file.

Q. When debug information is generated by the server, how is it collected?

A. Some output is displayed on <STDIN> or <STDERR>. To save those outputs into a file

  • Windows:

    • Open a DOS prompt

    • Start the server manually and redirect the output to a file

    • :> $PROGRAM_NAME > $LOG_FILE

  • Unix

    • From the shell (as root), start the program and redirect its output to a file.

    $ $PROGRAM_NAME > $LOG_FILE 2>&1
    • Should you wish to view the log file. From another shell,

    $tail -f $LOG_FILE