IPv6 Label Switching Architecture

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (individual)
Authors Sham Chakravorty  , Jeff Bush  , Jim Bound 
Last updated 2008-07-09
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft can be found at


This specification provides an architectural framework, called IPv6 Label Switching Architecture or 6LSA, for an end-to-end, IP-centric packet transmission technique that uses the IPv6 packet header Flow Label to establish IPv6-based label switched paths. The label switched paths, called 6LSPs, provide application and user specified routes for efficient transport of packets and as means for quality of service (QoS) delivery, IPv4 tunneling, VPN and other mechanisms. Through look-ups of 20-bit labels instead of 128-bit IPv6 addresses, the architecture may provide potential memory and processing savings, the latter through significantly reduced address fetches for the low- powered, handheld devices. The label has two components comprising Global Label value and Local Label value. The Global Label value from the source is delivered to the destination unmodified. However, the intermediate network nodes in 6LSA are allowed to temporarily replace the Local Label value with a value of local significance. This enables 6LSA flows to be hop-specific although session-based and as such a unique QoS delivery technique for bandwidth constrained media. 6LSA also enhances security since label generation and assignment algorithms can be modified periodically. Finally, it must be pointed out that the 6LSA concept of temporary flow label assignment is applicable to the 6LSA domain only. The concept is not applicable to domains outside the 6LSA.


Sham Chakravorty (schakra@mitre.org)
Jeff Bush (jbush@mitre.org)
Jim Bound (Jim.Bound@ipv6forum.com)

(Note: The e-mail addresses provided for the authors of this Internet-Draft may no longer be valid.)