MVPN allows a service provider to configure and support multicast traffic in an MPLS VPN environment. This feature supports routing and forwarding of multicast packets for each individual VPN routing and forwarding (VRF) instance, and it also provides a mechanism to transport VPN multicast packets across the service provider backbone.
A VPN is network connectivity across a shared infrastructure, such as an Internet service provider (ISP). Its function is to provide the same policies and performance as a private network, at a reduced cost of ownership, thus creating many opportunities for cost savings through operations and infrastructure.
An MVPN allows an enterprise to transparently interconnect its private network across the network backbone of a service provider. The use of an MVPN to interconnect an enterprise network in this way does not change the way that the enterprise network is administered, nor does it change general enterprise connectivity.
As shown in the figure, in an MLDP-based MVPN, a static default multicast distribution tree (MDT) is established for each multicast domain. The default MDT defines the path used by provider edge (PE) devices to send multicast data and control messages to every other PE device in the multicast domain. A default MDT is created in the core network using a single MP2MP LSP. The default MDT behaves like a virtual LAN.
Figure 1. MLDP with the Default MDT Scenario
As shown in the figure, an MLDP-based MVPN also supports the dynamic creation of data MDTs for high-bandwidth transmission. For high-rate data sources, a data MDT is created using P2MP LSPs to off-load traffic from the default MDT to avoid unnecessary waste of bandwidth to PEs that did not join the stream. The creation of the data MDT is signaled dynamically using MDT Join TLV messages. Data MDTs are a feature unique to Cisco IOS software. Data MDTs are intended for high-bandwidth sources such as full-motion video inside the VPN to ensure optimal traffic forwarding in the MPLS VPN core. The threshold at which the data MDT is created can be configured on a per-device or a per-VRF basis. When the multicast transmission exceeds the defined threshold, the sending PE device creates the data MDT and sends a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) message, which contains information about the data MDT to all devices on the default MDT.
Figure 2. MLDP with the Data MDT Scenario
Data MDTs are created only for (S, G) multicast route entries within the VRF multicast routing table. They are not created for (*, G) entries regardless of the value of the individual source data rate.
The only transport mechanism previously available was Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) with Multipoint Generic Routing Encapsulation (mGRE) over an IP core network. The introduction of Multicast Label Distribution Protocol (MLDP) provides transport by using MLDP with label encapsulation over an MPLS core network.
MLDP creates the MDTs as follows:
- The default MDT uses MP2MP LSPs.
- Supports low bandwidth and control traffic between VRFs.
- The data MDT uses P2MP LSPs.
- Supports a single high-bandwidth source stream from a VRF.
All other operations of MVPN remain the same regardless of the tunneling mechanism:
The only other difference when using MLDP is that the MDT group address used in the mGRE solution is replaced with a VPN ID.