When it comes to managing a large-scale multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) network, it’s reasonable to move slowly in adopting new technologies. After all, even minor changes can cause major problems. Yet it’s possible to become too change-averse, holding off too long on innovations when the rewards may far outweigh the risk. Take segment routing (SR) and the latest-generation protocols and capabilities of ethernet virtual private networks (EVPN), for example.
SR and EVPN enable modern traffic engineering approaches that make networks far more flexible, efficient and much simpler to manage. Yet, while operators appreciate the promise of these standards, some remain hesitant to deploy them into their networks—especially in existing brownfield and multi-vendor environments. Now, it’s time to set those concerns aside. The European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) recently released its annual Multi-Vendor MPLS SDN Interoperability Test Report documenting hundreds of MPLS and SR implementations across multiple vendors. The biggest takeaway? SR and EVPN are ready for prime time in all network architectures.
This is excellent news for operators who have held off on implementing these standards, waiting to confirm that they perform well in complex, heterogeneous networks that share characteristics of their own. That’s precisely what the 2023 EANTC report shows. Another clear takeaway: Juniper Networks is an excellent partner to help operators make the most of SR, EVPN and other MPLS technologies. With our commitment to open standards and interoperability, industry-leading routing intelligence and comprehensive MPLS/SR portfolio, Juniper can help operators take their networks to the next level.
Behind the Numbers
The EANTC 2023 report details one of the broadest, most advanced multi-vendor interoperability showcases, covering more than 1,230 test combinations of MPLS/SR and SDN capabilities using products from 17 leading vendors. That’s a big deal for several reasons. First, as they do yearly, EANTC interoperability tests help large operators evaluate which new MPLS technologies to pursue in proofs-of-concept (PoCs). The tests also offer an implementation roadmap for other operators. For the broader marketplace, though, the EANTC report serves as an annual checkup on how vendors are progressing with MPLS/SR SDN standards. It’s a way to gauge not just the level of vendor support for different standards, but the maturity and real-world interoperability of their implementations.
In the 2023 report, SR and EVPN took the spotlight. Based on the number of tests and vendors participating, these are clearly areas of interest to communications service providers (CSPs), cloud providers and large enterprises. After exhaustive testing of dozens of EVPN and SRv6 capabilities in just about every implementation conceivable, here’s what the test shows:
- SRv6 is officially ready to deploy in brownfield networks: Operators have been interested in SR’s ability to define traffic paths more efficiently and reduce the protocols and configurations to manage and create a simpler network to architect, automate and maintain. At the same time, the standard brings significant changes to how operators architect and manage their networks. Before potentially disrupting the central nervous system of their business, many wanted to confirm that these standards really do perform well—not just in lab or greenfield deployments, but in complex brownfield environments. The EANTC report provides a definitive answer: vendors have crossed the threshold. These standards work, and they work well—even in multi-vendor environments. Juniper is among those delivering consistently excellent performance and interoperability across diverse SR implementations.
- EVPN can help modernize multi-vendor networks: The latest generation of EVPN services enables more flexible and efficient connectivity, especially for CSPs looking to move away from aging, cumbersome service delivery technologies like pseudowire. As with SR, many CSPs have yet to implement due to concerns about the complexity of their brownfield architectures. Exhaustive EANTC testing shows that, as CSPs prepare for tomorrow’s more automated, virtualized networks, EVPN offers a powerful tool to help them do it—even in multi-vendor environments. Once again, Juniper is among the industry leaders positioned to help.
But that’s not all – the EANTC report showed more exciting results. When supporting the next generation of leading-edge MPLS/SR capabilities, such as SR: Inter AS BGP Classful Transport and Time Synchronization: PTP over MACsec, Juniper excelled, demonstrating the same leadership as with traditional SDN implementations.
For those looking to implement a more efficient, agile framework for network service delivery, the future of MPLS/SR SDN has never been brighter. And no matter how MPLS/SR is used in the network, Juniper delivers excellent performance and interoperability.
The Juniper Difference
Why does Juniper produce impressive results across many MPLS/SR SDN use cases? Because we’re committed to helping our customers make the most of MPLS/SR SDN to meet relentless demand for capacity and scale and deliver exceptional user experiences over converged service-aware networks. Additionally, Juniper provides:
- Decades-long standards leadership: The 2023 EANTC report is just the latest example of Juniper’s commitment to driving open standards so customers can operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in multi-vendor environments. Juniper is a long-time leading voice in these efforts. We’ve been key participants in defining numerous transport and optical standards and active leaders in vendor-neutral organizations like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) that drive standards adoption.
- Commitment to true interoperability: Some vendors claim to comply with standards but don’t make an effort to ensure their products actually work in multi-vendor networks. At Juniper, we take interoperability seriously.We continually validate our solutions through high-profile third-party interoperability evaluations by groups like EANTC, OIF, the Ethernet Alliance (EA) and others. For more information, see our demonstrations with the OIF and EA at the 2023 Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference.
- Industry-leading routing technology: The secret to much of Juniper’s success lies in the beating heart of our infrastructure platforms and Junos OS: Juniper’s Routing Protocol Daemon (RPD). Juniper RPD is widely regarded by CSPs, hyperscale cloud providers and other operators as the most effective worldwide and an ideal foundation to support MPLS, SR and many other networking protocols. It’s also why some customers have preferred Juniper for years (Juniper Customer Success Stories) and why Junos OS runs many of the world’s most sophisticated network deployments, giving operators an advantage over those who run competing network operating systems.
- Broad and deep portfolio: Juniper offers a comprehensive portfolio of metro, edge and core platforms, bringing the latest custom and merchant silicon innovations to maximize performance and efficiency with evolving standards. As demonstrated in this year’s EANTC testing, our infrastructure solutions provide an ideal forwarding IP service fabric for protocols, network automation (Paragon Pathfinder), and next-generation technologies.
Network operators have a long to-do list to respond to the challenges of the day and to prepare for tomorrow. They’ll need capacity and scale on unprecedented levels and the ability to fine-tune service delivery for demanding next-generation applications. They’ll also need new operating models to thrive in a more virtualized, cloudified, automated world. Adopting modern MPLS/SR standards and SDN capabilities will go a long way in helping them succeed.
Based on the 2023 EANTC report, SR and EVPN are now officially ready to help tackle operators’ biggest networking challenges, even in complex multi-vendor environments. With Juniper’s broad capabilities, industry leadership and proven interoperability, we can help operators deliver exceptional user experiences—today and tomorrow.