RFC 6457

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                    T. Takeda, Ed.
Request for Comments: 6457                                           NTT
Category: Informational                                        A. Farrel
ISSN: 2070-1721                                       Old Dog Consulting
                                                           December 2011

        PCC-PCE Communication and PCE Discovery Requirements for
                    Inter-Layer Traffic Engineering


   The Path Computation Element (PCE) provides functions of path
   computation in support of traffic engineering in networks controlled
   by Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Generalized MPLS

   MPLS and GMPLS networks may be constructed from layered client/server
   networks.  It is advantageous for overall network efficiency to
   provide end-to-end traffic engineering across multiple network
   layers.  PCE is a candidate solution for such requirements.

   Generic requirements for a communication protocol between Path
   Computation Clients (PCCs) and PCEs are presented in RFC 4657, "Path
   Computation Element (PCE) Communication Protocol Generic
   Requirements".  Generic requirements for a PCE discovery protocol are
   presented in RFC 4674, "Requirements for Path Computation Element
   (PCE) Discovery".

   This document complements the generic requirements and presents
   detailed sets of PCC-PCE communication protocol requirements and PCE
   discovery protocol requirements for inter-layer traffic engineering.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
      1.1. Terminology ................................................3
   2. Motivation for PCE-Based Inter-Layer Path Computation ...........4
   3. PCC-PCE Communication and Discovery Requirements for
      Inter-Layer .....................................................4
      3.1. PCC-PCE Communication ......................................5
           3.1.1. Control of Inter-Layer Path Computation .............5
           3.1.2. Control of the Type of Path to Be Computed ..........5
           3.1.3. Communication of Inter-Layer Constraints ............6
           3.1.4. Adaptation Capability ...............................7
           3.1.5. Cooperation between PCEs ............................7
           3.1.6. Inter-Layer Diverse Paths ...........................7
      3.2. Capabilities Advertisements for PCE Discovery ..............7
      3.3. Supported Network Models ...................................8
   4. Manageability Considerations ....................................8
      4.1. Control of Function and Policy .............................8
      4.2. Information and Data Models ................................8
      4.3. Liveness Detection and Monitoring ..........................8
      4.4. Verifying Correct Operation ................................9
      4.5. Requirements on Other Protocols and Functional Components ..9
      4.6. Impact on Network Operation ................................9
   5. Security Considerations ........................................10
   6. Acknowledgments ................................................10
   7. References .....................................................10
      7.1. Normative References ......................................10
      7.2. Informative References ....................................10

1.  Introduction

   The Path Computation Element (PCE) defined in [RFC4655] is an entity
   that is capable of computing a network path or route based on a
   network graph and applying computational constraints.

   A network may comprise multiple layers.  These layers may represent
   the separation of technologies (e.g., Packet Switch Capable (PSC),
   Time Division Multiplex (TDM), lambda switch capable (LSC)) into
   GMPLS regions [RFC3945], the separation of data plane switching

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   granularity levels (e.g., PSC-1 and PSC-2 or Virtual Circuit 4 (VC4)
   and VC12) into GMPLS layers [RFC5212], or a distinction between
   client and server networking roles (e.g., commercial or
   administrative separation of client and server networks).  In this
   multi-layer network, Label Switched Paths (LSPs) in lower layers are
   used to carry upper-layer LSPs.  The network topology formed by
   lower-layer LSPs and advertised to the higher layer is called a
   "Virtual Network Topology (VNT)" [RFC5212].

   In layered networks under the operation of Multiprotocol Label
   Switching Traffic Engineering (MPLS-TE) and Generalized MPLS (GMPLS)
   protocols, it is important to provide mechanisms to allow global
   optimization of network resources.  That is, to take into account all
   layers, rather than optimizing resource utilization at each layer
   independently.  This allows better network efficiency to be achieved.
   This is what we call "inter-layer traffic engineering".  This
   includes mechanisms allowing computation of end-to-end paths across
   layers (known as "inter-layer path computation") and mechanisms for
   control and management of the VNT by setting up and releasing LSPs in
   the lower layers [RFC5212].

   Inter-layer traffic engineering is included in the scope of the PCE
   architecture [RFC4655], and PCE can provide a suitable mechanism for
   resolving inter-layer path computation issues.  The applicability of
   the PCE-based path computation architecture to inter-layer traffic
   engineering is described in [RFC5623].

   This document presents sets of requirements for communication between
   Path Computation Clients (PCCs) and PCEs using the PCE Communication
   Protocol (PCEP) and for PCE discovery for inter-layer traffic
   engineering.  It supplements the generic requirements documented in
   [RFC4657], [RFC4674], and the framework provided in [RFC5623].

1.1.  Terminology

   LSP:  Label Switched Path.

   LSR:  Label Switching Router.

   PCC:  A Path Computation Client is any client entity (component,
         application or network node) requesting a path computation to
         be performed by a Path Computation Element.

   PCE:  A Path Computation Element is an entity that is capable of
         computing a network path or route based on a network graph and
         applying computational constraints.

   PCEP: A PCE Communication Protocol is a protocol for communication
         between PCCs and PCEs.

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

   Although this requirements document is informational and not a
   protocol specification, the key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED",
   and "OPTIONAL" are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119
   [RFC2119] for clarity of requirement specification.

2.  Motivation for PCE-Based Inter-Layer Path Computation

   [RFC4206] defines a way to signal an MPLS or a GMPLS LSP with an
   explicit route in a higher layer of a network that includes hops
   traversed by LSPs in lower layers of the network.  The computation of
   end-to-end paths across layers is called "inter-layer path

   An LSR in the higher layer might not have information on the topology
   of lower layers, particularly in an overlay or augmented model;
   hence, it might not be able to compute an end-to-end path across

   PCE-based inter-layer path computation consists of relying on one or
   more PCEs to compute an end-to-end path across layers.  This could
   rely on a single PCE path computation where the PCE has topology
   information about multiple layers and can directly compute an end-to-
   end path across layers considering the topology of all of the layers.
   Alternatively, the inter-layer path computation could be performed as
   a multiple PCE computation, where each member of a set of PCEs has
   information about the topology of one or more layers, but not all
   layers, and they collaborate to compute an end-to-end path.

   Consider a two-layer network where the higher-layer network is a
   packet-based IP/MPLS or GMPLS network and the lower-layer network is
   a GMPLS-controlled optical network.  An ingress LSR in the higher-
   layer network tries to set up an LSP to an egress LSR also in the
   higher-layer network across the lower-layer network, and it needs a
   path in the higher-layer network.  However, suppose that there is no
   TE link between border LSRs, which are located on the boundary
   between the higher-layer and lower-layer networks, and that the
   ingress LSR does not have topology visibility in the lower layer.  If
   a single-layer path computation is applied for the higher layer, the
   path computation fails.  On the other hand, inter-layer path
   computation is able to provide a route in the higher layer and a
   suggestion that a lower-layer LSP be set up between border LSRs,
   considering both layers as TE topologies.

   Further discussion of the application of PCE to inter-layer path
   computation can be found in [RFC5623].

3.  PCC-PCE Communication and Discovery Requirements for Inter-Layer
    Traffic Engineering

   This section provides additional requirements specific to the
   problems of multi-layer TE that are not covered in [RFC4657] or

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3.1.  PCC-PCE Communication

   PCEP MUST allow requests and replies for inter-layer path

   This requires no additional messages, but it implies the following
   additional constraints to be added to PCEP.

3.1.1.  Control of Inter-Layer Path Computation

   A request from a PCC to a PCE MUST support the inclusion of an
   optional indication of whether inter-layer path computation is
   allowed.  In the absence of such an indication, the default is that
   inter-layer path computation is not allowed.

3.1.2.  Control of the Type of Path to Be Computed

   The PCE computes and returns a path to the PCC that the PCC can use
   to build a higher-layer or lower-layer LSP once converted to an
   Explicit Route Object (ERO) for use in RSVP - Traffic Engineering
   (RSVP-TE) signaling.  There are two options [RFC5623].

   -  Option 1: Mono-Layer Path.  The PCE computes a "mono-layer" path,
      i.e., a path that includes only TE links from the same layer.

   -  Option 2: Multi-Layer Path.  The PCE computes a "multi-layer"
      path, i.e., a path that includes TE links from distinct layers

   It may be necessary or desirable for a PCC to control the type of
   path that is produced by a PCE.  For example, a PCC may know that it
   is not possible, for technological or policy reasons, to signal a
   multi-layer path and that a mono-layer path is required, or the PCC
   may know that it does not wish the layer border node to have control
   of path computation.  In order to make this level of control
   possible, PCEP MUST allow the PCC to select the path types to be
   computed, and that may be returned, by choosing one or more from the
   following list:

   -  A mono-layer path that is specified by strict hop(s).  The path
      may include virtual TE link(s).

   -  A mono-layer path that includes loose hop(s).

   -  A multi-layer path that can include the path (as strict or loose
      hops) of one or more lower-layer LSPs not yet established.

   The path computation response from a PCE to a PCC MUST report the
   type of path computed, and where a multi-layer path is returned, PCEP
   MUST support the inclusion, as part of end-to-end path, of the path
   of the lower-layer LSPs to be established.

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   If a response message from a PCE to PCC carries a mono-layer path
   that is specified by strict hops but includes virtual TE link(s),
   includes loose hop(s), or carries a multi-layer path that can include
   the complete path of one or more lower-layer LSPs not yet
   established, the signaling of the higher-layer LSP may trigger the
   establishment of the lower-layer LSPs (triggered signaling).  The
   triggered signaling may increase the higher-layer connection setup
   latency.  An ingress LSR for the higher-layer LSP, or a PCC, needs to
   know whether or not triggered signaling is required.

   A request from a PCC to a PCE MUST allow indicating whether or not
   triggered signaling is acceptable.

   A response from a PCE to a PCC MUST allow indicating whether or not
   the computed path requires triggered signaling.

   Note that a PCE may not be able to distinguish virtual TE links from
   regular TE links.  In such cases, even if a request from a PCC to a
   PCE indicates that triggered signaling is not acceptable, a PCE may
   choose virtual TE links in path computation.  Therefore, when a
   network uses virtual TE links and a PCE is not able to distinguish
   virtual TE links from regular TE links, a PCE MAY choose virtual TE
   links even if a request from a PCC to a PCE indicates triggered
   signaling is not acceptable.

   Also, note that an ingress LSR of a higher-layer or lower-layer LSP
   may be present in multiple layers.  Thus, even when a mono-layer path
   is requested or supplied, PCEP MUST be able to indicate the
   required/provided path layer.

3.1.3.  Communication of Inter-Layer Constraints

   A request from a PCC to a PCE MUST support the inclusion of
   constraints for a multi-layer path.  This includes control over which
   network layers may, must, or must not be included in the computed
   path.  Such control may be expressed in terms of the switching types
   of the layer networks.

   Furthermore, it may be desirable to constrain the number of layer
   boundaries crossed (i.e., the number of adaptations in the sense used
   in [RFC5212] performed on the end-to-end path), so PCEP SHOULD
   include a constraint or objective function to minimize or cap the
   number of adaptations on a path and a mechanism to report that number
   when a path is supplied.

   The path computation request MUST also allow for different objective
   functions to be applied within different network layers.  For
   example, the path in a packet-network may need to be optimized for
   least delay using the IGP metric as a measure of delay, while the
   path in an underlying TDM network might be optimized for fewest hops.

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3.1.4.  Adaptation Capability

   The concept of adaptation is used here as introduced in [RFC5212].

   It MUST be possible for the path computation request to indicate the
   desired adaptation function at the end points of the lower-layer LSP
   that is being computed.  This will be particularly important where
   the ingress and egress LSR participate in more than one layer network
   but may not be capable of all associated adaptations.

3.1.5.  Cooperation between PCEs

   When each layer is in scope of a different PCE, which only has access
   to the topology information of its layer, the PCEs of each layer need
   to cooperate to perform inter-layer path computation.  In this case,
   communication between PCEs is required for inter-layer path
   computation.  A PCE that behaves as a client is defined as a PCC

   PCEP MUST allow requests and replies for multiple PCE inter-layer
   path computation.

3.1.6.  Inter-Layer Diverse Paths

   PCEP MUST allow for the computation of diverse inter-layer paths.  A
   request from a PCC to a PCE MUST support the inclusion of multiple
   path requests, with the desired level of diversity at each layer
   (link, node, Shared Risk Link Group (SRLG)).

3.2.  Capabilities Advertisements for PCE Discovery

   In the case where there are several PCEs with distinct capabilities
   available, a PCC has to select one or more appropriate PCEs.  For
   that purpose, the PCE discovery mechanism MAY support the disclosure
   of some detailed PCE capabilities.  A PCE MAY (to be consistent with
   the above text and RFC 4674) be able to advise the following PCE
   capabilities related to inter-layer path computation:

   -  Support for inter-layer path computation

   -  Support for mono-layer/multi-layer paths

   -  Support for inter-layer constraints

   -  Support for adaptation capability

   -  Support for inter-PCE communication

   -  Support for inter-layer diverse path computation

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3.3.  Supported Network Models

   PCEP SHOULD allow several architectural alternatives for interworking
   between MPLS- and GMPLS-controlled networks: overlay, integrated, and
   augmented models [RFC3945] [RFC5145] [RFC5146].

4.  Manageability Considerations

4.1.  Control of Function and Policy

   An individual PCE MAY elect to support inter-layer computations and
   advertise its capabilities as described in the previous sections.
   PCE implementations MAY provide a configuration switch to allow
   support of inter-layer path computations to be enabled or disabled.
   When the level of support is changed, this SHOULD be re-advertised.

   However, a PCE MAY also elect to support inter-layer computations,
   but not to advertise the fact, so that only those PCCs configured to
   know of the PCE and its capabilities can use it.

   Support for, and advertisement of support for, inter-layer path
   computation MAY be subject to policy and a PCE MAY hide its inter-
   layer capabilities from certain PCCs by not advertising them through
   the discovery protocol and not reporting them to the specific PCCs in
   any PCEP capabilities exchange.  Further, a PCE MAY be directed by
   policy to refuse an inter-layer path computation request for any
   reason including, but not limited to, the identity of the PCC that
   makes the request.

   A further discussion of policy-enabled path computation can be found
   in [RFC5394].

4.2.  Information and Data Models

   PCEP extensions to support inter-layer computations MUST be
   accompanied by MIB objects for the control and monitoring of the
   protocol and of the PCE that performs the computations.  The MIB
   objects MAY be provided in the same MIB module as used for general
   PCEP control and monitoring [PCEP-MIB] or MAY be provided in a new
   MIB module.

   The MIB objects MUST provide the ability to control and monitor all
   aspects of PCEP relevant to inter-layer path computation.

4.3.  Liveness Detection and Monitoring

   No changes are necessary to the liveness detection and monitoring
   requirements as already embodied in [RFC4657].  It should be noted,
   however, that inter-layer path computations might require extended
   cooperation between PCEs (as is also the case for inter-AS
   (Autonomous System) and inter-area computations), and so the liveness
   detection and monitoring SHOULD be applied to each PCEP communication
   and aggregated to report the behavior of an individual PCEP request
   to the originating PCC.

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

   In particular, where a request is forwarded between multiple PCEs,
   neither the PCC nor the first PCE can monitor the liveness of all
   PCE-PCE connections or of the PCEs themselves.  In this case,
   suitable performance of the original PCEP request relies on each PCE
   operating correct monitoring procedures and correlating any failures
   back to the PCEP requests that are outstanding.  These requirements
   are no different from those for any cooperative PCE usage, and they
   are expected already to be covered by general, and by inter-AS and
   inter-area, implementations.  Such a procedure is specified in
   [RFC5441].  In addition, [RFC5886] specifies mechanisms to gather
   various state metrics along the path computation chain.

4.4.  Verifying Correct Operation

   There are no additional requirements beyond those expressed in
   [RFC4657] for verifying the correct operation of the PCEP.  Note that
   verification of the correct operation of the PCE and its algorithms
   is out of scope for the protocol requirements, but a PCC MAY send the
   same request to more than one PCE and compare the results.

4.5.  Requirements on Other Protocols and Functional Components

   A PCE operates on a topology graph that may be built using
   information distributed by TE extensions to the routing protocol
   operating within the network.  In order that the PCE can select a
   suitable path for the signaling protocol to use to install the inter-
   layer LSP, the topology graph must include information about the
   inter-layer signaling and forwarding (i.e., adaptation) capabilities
   of each LSR in the network.

   Whatever means are used to collect the information to build the
   topology graph, the graph MUST include the requisite information.  If
   the TE extensions to the routing protocol are used, these SHOULD
   satisfy the requirements as described in [RFC5212].

4.6.  Impact on Network Operation

   This section examines the impact on network operations of the use of
   a PCE for inter-layer traffic engineering.  It does not present any
   further requirements on the PCE or PCC, for the PCEP or for

   The use of a PCE to compute inter-layer paths is not expected to have
   significant impact on network operations if the upper-layer traffic
   engineering practices are aware of the frequent changes that might
   occur in the VNT.  It should also be noted that the introduction of
   inter-layer support to a PCE that already provides mono-layer path
   computation might change the loading of the PCE and that might have
   an impact on the network behavior especially during recovery periods
   immediately after a network failure.

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

   On the other hand, it is envisioned that the use of inter-layer path
   computation will have significant benefits to the operation of a
   multi-layer network including improving the network resource usage
   and enabling a greater number of higher-layer LSPs to be supported.

5.  Security Considerations

   Inter-layer traffic engineering with PCE may raise new security
   issues when PCE-PCE communication is used between different layer
   networks for inter-layer path computation.  Security issues may also
   exist when a single PCE is granted full visibility of TE information
   that applies to multiple layers.

   The formal introduction of a VNT Manager component, as described in
   [RFC5623], provides the basis for the application of inter-layer
   security and policy.

   It is expected that solutions for inter-layer protocol extensions
   will address these issues in detail.

6.  Acknowledgments

   We would like to thank Kohei Shiomoto, Ichiro Inoue, Dean Cheng,
   Meral Shirazipour, Julien Meuric, and Stewart Bryant for their useful
   comments.  Thanks to members of ITU-T Study Group 15, Question 14 for
   their constructive comments during the liaison process.

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]   Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
               Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC3945]   Mannie, E., Ed., "Generalized Multi-Protocol Label
               Switching (GMPLS) Architecture", RFC 3945, October 2004.

   [RFC4206]   Kompella, K. and Y. Rekhter, "Label Switched Paths (LSP)
               Hierarchy with Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching
               (GMPLS) Traffic Engineering (TE)", RFC 4206, October

7.2.  Informative References

   [RFC4655]   Farrel, A., Vasseur, J.-P., and J. Ash, "A Path
               Computation Element (PCE)-Based Architecture", RFC 4655,
               August 2006.

   [RFC4657]   Ash, J., Ed., and J. Le Roux, Ed., "Path Computation
               Element (PCE) Communication Protocol Generic
               Requirements", RFC 4657, September 2006.

   [RFC4674]   Le Roux, J., Ed., "Requirements for Path Computation
               Element (PCE) Discovery", RFC 4674, October 2006.

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

   [RFC5145]   Shiomoto, K., Ed., "Framework for MPLS-TE to GMPLS
               Migration", RFC 5145, March 2008.

   [RFC5146]   Kumaki, K., Ed., "Interworking Requirements to Support
               Operation of MPLS-TE over GMPLS Networks", RFC 5146,
               March 2008.

   [RFC5212]   Shiomoto, K., Papadimitriou, D., Le Roux, JL., Vigoureux,
               M., and D. Brungard, "Requirements for GMPLS-Based Multi-
               Region and Multi-Layer Networks (MRN/MLN)", RFC 5212,
               July 2008.

   [RFC5394]   Bryskin, I., Papadimitriou, D., Berger, L., and J. Ash,
               "Policy-Enabled Path Computation Framework", RFC 5394,
               December 2008.

   [RFC5623]   Oki, E., Takeda, T., Le Roux, JL., and A. Farrel,
               "Framework for PCE-Based Inter-Layer MPLS and GMPLS
               Traffic Engineering", RFC 5623, September 2009.

   [PCEP-MIB]  A. Koushik, and E. Stephan, "PCE communication protocol
               (PCEP) Management Information Base", Work in Progress,
               July 2010.

   [RFC5441]   Vasseur, JP., Ed., Zhang, R., Bitar, N., and JL. Le Roux,
               "A Backward-Recursive PCE-Based Computation (BRPC)
               Procedure to Compute Shortest Constrained Inter-Domain
               Traffic Engineering Label Switched Paths", RFC 5441,
               April 2009.

   [RFC5886]   Vasseur, JP., Ed., Le Roux, JL., and Y. Ikejiri, "A Set
               of Monitoring Tools for Path Computation Element
               (PCE)-Based Architecture", RFC 5886, June 2010.

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RFC 6457              PCE Inter-Layer Requirements         December 2011

Contributing Authors

   Eiji Oki
   University of Electro-Communications
   Tokyo, Japan
   EMail: oki@ice.uec.ac.jp

   Jean-Louis Le Roux
   France Telecom R&D,
   Av Pierre Marzin,
   22300 Lannion, France
   EMail: jeanlouis.leroux@orange-ftgroup.com

   Kenji Kumaki
   KDDI Corporation
   Garden Air Tower
   Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku,
   Tokyo 102-8460, JAPAN
   EMail: ke-kumaki@kddi.com

Authors' Addresses

   Tomonori Takeda (editor)
   3-9-11 Midori-cho,
   Musashino-shi, Tokyo 180-8585, Japan
   EMail: takeda.tomonori@lab.ntt.co.jp

   Adrian Farrel
   Old Dog Consulting
   EMail: adrian@olddog.co.uk

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