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Optical Network Control: Architecture, Protocols, and Standards by Debanjan Saha, Bala Rajagopalan, Greg Bernstein

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5.4. Control of MPLS Networks

5.4.1. MPLS Overview

MPLS is the acronym for Multi-Protocol Label Switching. To understand the rationale for MPLS, consider packet forwarding in an IP network. As an IP packet is forwarded from the source to the destination, each router en route makes an independent forwarding decision for that packet. That is, each router analyzes the packet header (in particular the destination IP address) and independently chooses a next hop for the packet. Choosing the next hop can therefore be thought of as the composition of two functions. The first function partitions the entire set of possible packets into a set of Forwarding Equivalence Classes (FECs). The second maps each FEC to a next hop. A FEC, for instance, can be a ...

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