MPLS and VPN Architectures, CCIP Edition

Authors: Ivan Pepelnjak and Jim Guichard
Pages: 512
Publisher: Cisco Press
ISBN: 1587050811


If you are a regular Help Net Security visitor, you are probably familiar with Cisco Press titles, that are intended for the readers interested in getting some kind of a Cisco Systems certification. The book I’m taking a look today will raise your chances to pass the CCIP MPLS part of the CCIP certification. Due to the solely technical content of this book, the review is slightly different, as it provides the readers with an overview on this publication.

About the authors

Jim Guichard is a Technical Leader for MPLS and IP backbone technologies at Cisco Systems, and is the co-author of the highly successful book MPLS and VPN Architectures. He has extensive experience with designing, migrating, and deploying large-scale IP networks, and has assisted many of Cisco’s largest customers with the integration of MPLS-related technologies into their networks.

Ivan Pepelnjak has more than 10 years experience in designing, installing, troubleshooting, and operating large service provider and enterprise WAN and LAN networks and is currently chief technologies advisor at NIL Data Communications. He is the architect of NIL’s Service Provider Academy program, one of the architects of the Cisco Systems Service Provider curriculum, and the lead developer of several service provider-focused courses covering MPLS, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and IP quality of service.

Inside the book

Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is an innovative technique for high-performance packet forwarding. The most widely deployed usage of MPLS today is the enabling of VPNs. As noted by the authors, with the introduction of MPLS-enabled VPNs, network designers can better scale their networks than ever before.

The original version of this book was written when MPLS VPN technology was still an emerging technology and was later updated with two additional chapters that cover MPLS and MPLS/VPN troubleshooting. Another new thing is that at the end of every chapter, reader can find a series of self-assessment questions that are specifically provided for the purpose of studying for the CCIP MPLS elective exam.

The book itself is divided into two parts. The first part covers an introduction to MPLS technology and configuration topics. Over about 100 pages, authors provide an in-depth guide surrounding this technology with a lot of practical examples and diagrams. Considering that the readers got familiar with the theory behind the MPLS technology and configuration methods within a Frame-mode and Cell-mode implementations, at the end of this part, authors provide a case study that provides migration examples for a sample router and ATM-based backbone.

Recent Cisco IOS versions check most of the prerequisites for a successful MPLS operation, but as we all know, Murphy’s laws will hit you in the most dreadful moment, so the authors open the second part of the book with a chapter offering troubleshooting tips for a number of MPLS related problems. This chapter is followed by an overview of Virtual Private Networks and the most common VPN implementations and topologies. Now, the reader is introduced to both MPLS and VPN, so it is time to go deeper into the MPLS/VPN architecture.

After covering basic MPLS/VPN connectivity options and operations, a couple of chapters are intended for the more expert readers. Here the authors cover advanced MPLS/VPN topics, such as: Intranet and Extranet integration, central services and hub-and-spoke topologies, BGP confederations deployment and Internet connectivity through firewalls and different service providers.

For the practical readers, one of the last chapters covers a 20 page long case study, where the authors present a sample strategy for migrating a standard VPN implementation toward an MPLS/VPN one. Additional points of interest for the reader would be two chapters offering MPLS/VPN deployment guidelines and troubleshooting tips.

Closing words

As you can see from the introduction, this is one of the most technical oriented books that we received for reviewing and therefore a limited circle of IT people will find the content of this book interesting. Basically all the books published by Cisco Press are providing the readers the best coverage of the topics surrounding Cisco Systems’ product line and related technological implementations. “MPLS and VPN Architectures CCIP Edition” offers just that – about 450 pages of text and diagrams that will help you either get deeply acquainted with this technology or prepare you for a part of the CCIP certification.

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