On the Scalability-Performance Tradeoffs in MPLS and IP Routing
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MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) has recently emerged to facilitate the engineering of network traffic. This can be achieved by directing packet flows over paths that satisfy multiple requirements. MPLS has been regarded as an enhancement to traditional IP routing, which has the following problems: (1) all packets with the same IP destination address have to follow the same path through the network; and (2) paths have often been computed based on static and single link metrics. These problems may cause traffic concentration, and thus degradation in quality of service. In this paper, we investigate by simulations a range of routing solutions and examine the tradeoff between scalability and performance. At one extreme, IP packet routing using dynamic link metrics provides a stateless solution but may lead to routing oscillations. At the other extreme, we consider a recently proposed Profile-based Routing (PBR), which uses knowledge of potential ingress-egress pairs as well as the traffic profile among them. Minimum Interference Routing (MIRA) is another recently proposed MPLS-based scheme, which only exploits knowledge of potential ingress-egress pairs but not their traffic profile. MIRA and the more conventional widest-shortest path (WSP) routing represent alternative MPLS-based approaches on the spectrum of routing solutions. We compare these solutions in terms of utility, bandwidth acceptance ratio as well as their scalability (routing state and computational overhead) and load balancing capability. While the simplest of the per-ﬂow algorithms we consider, the performance of WSP is close to dynamic per-packet routing, without the potential instabilities of dynamic routing.