RFC 8283

An Architecture for Use of PCE and the PCE Communication Protocol (PCEP) in a Network with Central Control, December 2017

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A. Farrel, Ed.
Q. Zhao, Ed.
Z. Li
C. Zhou
teas (rtg)

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DOI:  10.17487/RFC8283

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The Path Computation Element (PCE) is a core component of Software- Defined Networking (SDN) systems. It can compute optimal paths for traffic across a network and can also update the paths to reflect changes in the network or traffic demands. PCE was developed to derive paths for MPLS Label Switched Paths (LSPs), which are supplied to the head end of the LSP using the Path Computation Element Communication Protocol (PCEP). SDN has a broader applicability than signaled MPLS traffic-engineered (TE) networks, and the PCE may be used to determine paths in a range of use cases including static LSPs, segment routing, Service Function Chaining (SFC), and most forms of a routed or switched network. It is, therefore, reasonable to consider PCEP as a control protocol for use in these environments to allow the PCE to be fully enabled as a central controller. This document briefly introduces the architecture for PCE as a central controller, examines the motivations and applicability for PCEP as a control protocol in this environment, and introduces the implications for the protocol. A PCE-based central controller can simplify the processing of a distributed control plane by blending it with elements of SDN and without necessarily completely replacing it. This document does not describe use cases in detail and does not define protocol extensions: that work is left for other documents.

For the definition of Status, see RFC 2026.

For the definition of Stream, see RFC 4844.

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