Harris & Jeffries Introduces Industry’s First MPLS System

New Label Traffic Control SystemTM Helps the Internet Fulfill Its Promise by Adding Labeling, Quality of Service Features

DEDHAM, Mass, April 26, 1999 — Harris & Jeffries, Inc. (H&J) announced today a comprehensive new product, called Label Traffic Control SystemTM, that improves the performance of networks that carry Internet traffic.

The product, a version of the networking industry’s emerging Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) standard, provides features that solve serious Internet usage problems, such as establishing high-quality connections and managing exponential growth.

Harris & Jeffries, a leading provider of carrier-class networking protocol software solutions, expects its new Label Traffic Control System to be incorporated by equipment manufacturers into advanced internetworking products urgently needed by network service providers to build their next generation networks.

Such service providers are increasingly unable to build and scale their Internet networks as more users come on-line. The problem is expected to worsen as real-time voice, video, and multimedia applications increase over the Internet.

Such “convergence” — single networks capable of delivering all types of traffic including voice, video, and data — is most likely to occur on Internet and other IP-based networks, industry experts believe. With these networks, service providers can generate additional revenue by adding new service levels and their customers, businesses and consumers, will benefit by having a wider choice of services and capabilities. Analysts warn, however, that convergence will be unattainable without new mechanisms to deliver high-quality, highly reliable connections.

MPLS: An Acknowledged Solution

MPLS, and specifically H&J’s Label Traffic Control System, is the first solution available that allows for the timely development of products that will deliver the quality connections, scalability, and differentiated services that make converged networks possible.

“MPLS has emerged as a critical component for the next generation of network equipment because it can integrate the switching and routing functions within large Internet Protocol networks. MPLS allows network operators to add end-to-end Quality of Service and Virtual Private Network functionality within a network without replacing embedded ATM switches or IP routers. This capability allows providers to solve the serious scalability issues associated with large IP networks while simultaneously adding functionality,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, Inc., a Dedham, Massachusetts-based market research firm.

“H&J is uniquely qualified to deliver robust, carrier-class MPLS solutions,” Mr. Malone continued.

“H&J is in the forefront of the next-generation IP transport market. Many of our customers have been asking us to apply our experience developing ‘best-in-class’ networking software to this new software challenge. The Label Traffic Control System is a primary example of our singular focus on meeting the needs of customers,” said Ethan Harris, president and co-founder of Harris & Jeffries, Inc.

Based On Extensive Customer Needs Research

H&J’s Label Traffic Control System was developed in part on the results of a six-month research study in 1998 of the needs of more than 50 network service providers and equipment manufacturers.

Additional research by Vertical Systems Group, a leading data and telecommunications market research firm, concluded that network service provider expenditures for network equipment — which includes ATM, frame relay and IP technology — is expected to nearly double between 1998 and 2001.

Such initiatives enabled H&J to focus early on meeting a long list of functional requirements of internetworking equipment manufacturers to fulfill Internet server provider demands.

“Our value-add is more than being first-to-market with an MPLS solution. It also includes the addition of performance, reliability, scalability, pre-integration, investment protection, network management and interworking solutions that are essentially absent from Internet-based networks today,” Mr. Harris stated.

“Unlike freeware or typical off-the-shelf software stacks, the Label Traffic Control System is complete, feature rich, and backed by H&J’s expert support organization and by license terms designed to eliminate commercial product risk,” he continued.

Incorporates Latest Standards

The system includes H&J’s unique Label Manager, the Label Distribution Protocol (LDP), plus Quality-of-Service traffic engineering utilizing Constraint-Based Routing Label Distribution Protocol (CR-LDP) and extensions to the Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP).

H&J will provide other components as part of its MPLS implementation as standards continue to emerge. MPLS today is comprised of draft standards and as such is subject to modification. H&J has been actively participating in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) MPLS Working Group and is actively monitoring the standards to insure its products are fully compliant.

The Label Traffic Control System will also be fully integrated into and optimized for use with H&J’s LEAP Architecture, allowing customers who have H&J products to seamlessly integrate new systems into those products. The Label Traffic Control System will also be fully integrated with H&J’s Soft-ATMTM, High-Performance Frame RelayTM, and UltraLinqTM interworking products. Like other H&J carrier-class products, the Label Traffic Control system provides carrier-class capabilities like high-performance, redundancy, re-entrancy and support for distributed product architectures.

Pricing & Availability

Initial customer shipments begin in May, with general availability in the third quarter. H&J will price the system on a toolkit plus royalty basis.

Shown at Upcoming Industry Events

Harris & Jeffries will be demonstrating its new Label Traffic Control product at Networld+Interop, May 11-13, 1999 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in booth #1369. H&J will also demonstrate MPLS at the Supercomm tradeshow, June 8-10, 1999 at the World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Visit H&J in booth #1900.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Is Focus of Intense Industry Interest

MPLS is an essential new networking technology to enable the Internet to fulfill its promise of revolutionizing the way the world communicates. With technologies like MPLS, multimedia traffic can be delivered across IP-based networks and, perhaps more importantly, be managed by network service providers.

For these reasons, equipment manufacturers are developing strategies to deliver MPLS-based products to network service providers clamoring for solutions to their network problems.

MPLS represents a next-generation technology that will allow these service providers to resolve issues they struggle with today: explosive growth of the Internet and Web applications; ability to offer quality of service to enable voice, video, and multimedia applications over IP; and the need to offer differentiated services to generate incremental revenue.

MPLS creates a flexible networking fabric that provides increased performance and scalability. This includes traffic engineering capabilities that provide, for example, aspects of Quality of Service (QoS)/Class of Service (CoS) and facilitate the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A principal benefit of MPLS is its ability to allow network service providers to deliver multiple levels of Quality of Service (QoS) and to provide differentiated services on their IP networks.

IP-based networks, such as the Internet, are constrained by the underlying connectionless, best-effort routing paradigm which determines how Internet Protocol (IP) packets transit the network. Every router in a network understands the network’s topology. This information is maintained by each router and is used to create a routing table. When information such as email is transmitted across an IP network, the information is "chopped-up" into packets, which are then sent one at a time from router to router across the network. Each packet is individually routed across the network based upon its destination address without any regard to the contents of the packet. This technique works well for data packets, which are assembled when received at their destination. But real-time traffic such as voice and video have very strict transmission requirements — such as delay sensitivity and packet-loss — which require predetermined paths that run contrary to the “best efforts” approach of IP-based networks.

MPLS replaces the hop-by-hop, individually routed packet model with a connection-oriented model that establishes “paths” to destinations. Instead of routing each packet based upon its destination address, each packet is labeled such that it can be switched along a pre-defined path. In addition, MPLS defines traffic engineering methods that enable these paths to have associated quality-of-service attributes. Thus, a single destination may have multiple paths leading to it, with one path used for voice, one for video, and one for data.

As a result of industry acceptance and deployment of MPLS by major equipment manufacturers such as Cisco Systems and network service providers such as AT&T, more attention is being focused on MPLS by technology and traditional business and financial press.


last update: 15.08.2008

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