Today I am going to review one of my favorite books “MPLS and VPN Architectures Vol. II” written by Ivan Pepeljnack, Jim Guichard and Jeff Apcar. Ivan is a well-known MPLS specialist and he is a master in providing MPLS VPN solutions, deployment and design. This book is a clear first choice for Network Engineers working with multi carrier’s domain and for learning in-depth analysis of MPLS architecture.

MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II continues with more advanced topics and deployment architectures than the best-selling MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume I from Cisco Press. Volume II also opens the doors to examine advanced PE-CE MPLS VPN connectivity, multi-carrier MPLS VPN deployments and explains how to protect the MPLS-VPN backbone from unauthorized access and attack. I think I have explained more than enough for the book’s introduction so let us directly come to the point as to: Is “MPLS and VPN Architectures Vol. II” really as good as it’s made out to be?

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This book also guarantees the quintessential adrenaline rush through the medium to high octane configuration examples and mind boggling case studies.

With this book, the author has tried to redefine MPLS technology, in his very trademark style. He leaves no stone unturned to keep the mercury rising within the specified pages of the book. While on one hand, the book offers its share of MPLS technologies, on the other, there’s a parallel synchronized VPN architecture.

The author has dared to break all conventional rules and manages to serve absorbing and meaningful concepts that keep you interested in all of the chapters of the book. This book targets groups of dedicated network engineers who value advanced and latest technologies.

This book is the best resource to learn:

  • * Integration of various remote access technologies into the backbone providing VPN service to many different types of customers
  • * Easier and more scalable deployment of inter-carrier MPLS VPN services
  • * VRFs Extension to a customer’s sites
  • * PE-CE routing options including PE-NAT and other advanced VPN technologies
  • * MPLS VPN security features
  • * Advanced troubleshooting techniques to ensure high availability

MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume II is divided into four parts to cover all 9 chapters:

PART I: Introduction (Chapter 1)

PART II: Advanced PE-CE Connectivity (Chapters 2 to 4)

PART III: Advanced Deployment Scenarios (Chapters 5 to 8)

PART IV: Troubleshooting (Chapter 9)

Chapter 1 begins with a brief overview of the MPLS VPN Architecture. This chapter explains the basic Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and MPLS-based VPN concepts and terminologies. These concepts and additional MPLS or VPN background information can be found in MPLS and VPN Architectures (Volume I), published by Cisco Press.

Part II examines advanced PE-CE MPLS VPN connectivity including the integration of service provider access technologies (dial, DSL, cable, Ethernet) and a variety of routing protocols (IS-IS, EIGRP, and OSPF). Chapter 2 explores remote access to MPLS VPN connection. Here you will learn a lot to understand different technologies (PSTN, ISDN, ADSL, DOCSIS, PPP, L2TP etc.) used by a service provider for remote access. Each of these technologies is expressed with illustrated description and configuration. This chapter also describes Feature Enhancements for MPLS VPN Remote Access. Most of these features are incorporated into the detailed examples provided throughout this chapter.

Chapter 3 examines PE-CE Routing Protocol Enhancements and Advanced Features with introduction of EIGRP and IS-IS protocols on the PE-CE links. This chapter also covers use of sham-links between customer sites no longer causes undesired effects. Figure 3.9 shows the use of sham links with illustrated example. Chapter 4 focuses on the virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) table capabilities, such as VRF-lite, PE-NAT. This chapter discusses how MPLS VPN technology can help you design sophisticated networks without deploying the full MPLS VPN functionality. I am very impressed with the explanations and configuration examples of “GRE Tunnels in the MPLS VPN Architecture” and “Performing NAT in a Virtual Router Environment.” Both topics are very hard to find and the author tried to explore with the best of his works.

Part III discusses advanced deployment scenarios like security over MPLS-VPN backbone, multi-carrier MPLS VPN deployments, multicast VPN and IPv6 transportation across MPLS backbone. This part starts with chapter 5 which provides a methodology to protect the MPLS-VPN backbone from unauthorized access and attack with practical examples and steps that a service provider can take to increase the security of an MPLS VPN backbone and any attached VPN sites. PE to CE and CE to CE authentication are explained with proper configuration examples. The author also examines the control of routes that are injected into a VRF with the most effective way to limit routes and prevent a PE router from being flooded by IP prefixes that are announced from the customer network.

Chapter 6 covers the core structural concepts of VPN connectivity between different service providers and Inter-AS solutions. This chapter provides in-depth fundamentals to establish connectivity within a VPN that can span multiple service providers by using the Inter-AS architecture. Chapter 7 explains how an MPLS VPN service provider can provide multicast services between multiple sites of a customer VPN that already has an existing multicast network or is intending to deploy the multicast feature within their network. I have to admit that this is explained so deep and you will fall in love with this chapter. Chapter 8 is fully dedicated to learn IP Version 6 transport across an MPLS backbone. Here you will learn how IPv6 MPBGP is extended with the capability to exchange MPLS labels associated with IPv6 prefixes between the PE routers. All the configuration examples are well designed and very hard to find.

Part IV contains chapter 9 which provides a methodology for advanced MPLS VPN troubleshooting. This chapter focuses on troubleshooting service provider networks designed around MPLS-based solutions. The way the author explained troubleshooting is awesome and I guarantee you that you will read this part again and again to understand in-depth concepts of MPLS VPN troubleshooting.

This book really helps you learn how MPLS scales to support tens of thousands of virtual private networks (VPNs) and extensive case studies that guide you through the design and deployment of real-world MPLS/VPN networks.

I would highly recommend this book if you have solid interest to master MPLS VPN technologies or to learn advanced multi-carrier MPLS VPN deployments. This book is a must have for networking professionals who value technology advancement to deploy efficient networks, understanding new technologies and to build successful careers.

This book really deserves 5 pings out of 5.

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