Internet-Draft BIER Anycast MPLS Label March 2024
Chen & Duan Expires 17 September 2024 [Page]
Network Working Group
Intended Status:
Standards Track
S. Chen
Huawei Technologies
F. Duan
Huawei Technologies

BIER Anycast MPLS Label


This document provides a method to reduce packet loss when failures occur at BIER transit or egress nodes or link.

Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 17 September 2024.

1. Introduction

When failures occur at transit or egress BIER node, there is no fast recovery or protecting mechanism currently. The recovery duration depends on how fast the unicast algorithm can re-calculate the new path. The new available path can only be generated in this way called 'IGP re-convergence'. In this document, a fast failover method is designed for BIER to generate an alternative path for flow in advance by allocating and transmitting additional BIER MPLS label for certain network topology.

As shown in the following figure, two BFRs are deployed in each site. Each BFR can be backup device for the other BFR within the site. CE is connected to only one of the BFERs.

                Site1          Site2              Site3
                 ....  ---- BFR-E(ID:4) ---- BFER-C(ID:3)
                   |\          /| \             /   |
                   |  \      /  |   \         /     |
                   |    \  /    |     \     /       |
                   |     \/     |       \ /         |
                   |    /  \    |       /  \        |
                   |   /    \   |     /      \      |
                   | /        \ |   /          \    |
        SRC -- BFIR-A(ID:1) -- BFR-B ------- BFER-D(ID:2) -- CE -- RECEIVER
Figure 1: BIER Network Topology

In [RFC8279], BIER MPLS label was assigned locally to identify different set of [Sub-domain, SI, BSL] and therefore can identify different instances of BIER Forwarding Table. In this document, a BFR node will be assigned two MPLS Labels called 'Anycast' and 'Bypass' MPLS Label. Anycast MPLS Label will be used to represent the site, while bypass MPLS label will only be used within each site to ensure the forwarding function. The BIER Forwarding Table will also be modified to record two different out interfaces for two target BFR-IDs.

2. Terminology

The terminology used in this document is the terminology defined in[RFC8279], [RFC8296] and [RFC8556].

For convenience of description, the abbreviations used in this document is listed below.

  • BIER: Bit Index Explicit Replication

  • BGP: Border Gateway Protocol

  • IGP: Interior gateway protocol

  • BFR: Bit-Forwarding Router

  • BFR-ID: Bit-Forwarding Router ID

  • BFR-Prefix: Bit-Forwarding Router Prefix

  • BFR-NBR: Bit-Forwarding Router Neighbor

  • BIRT: Bit index routing table

  • BIFT: Bit index forwarding table

  • F-BM: Forwarding Bit Mask

  • MPLS: Multiprotocol Label Switching

3. Egress Protection

3.1. Anycast and Bypass MPLS Label

As shown in the following figure, one customer device CE is connected to BFER-D. Each site deploys two BFRs to perform failure protection, different BFR-IDs and BFR-prefixes are configured. In this way, when CE sends join towards BFER-D, the source and BFIR can clearly know where the receiver is. Specially, BFRs in one site are assigned with same Anycast MPLS Label and different Bypass MPLS labels. The same Anycast Label can be used to specify the site. The Bypass MPLS Label works as the traditional MPLS label to ensure the normal behavior of BIER forwarding function within the site. The relationship between [SD, BSL, SI], Anycast Label, Bypass Label will be maintained and utilized when parsing BIER packets. Anycast and Bypass MPLS Labels are then advertised by BIER-Info Sub-TLV in BIER prefix. After each BFR receives BIER prefix, BIER MPLS Label will be contained in BIER Forwarding Table to instruct forwarding data packet.

                Site1         Site2           Site3
                 .... ----  BFR-E(1000) --- BFER-C(0100)
                   |\          /|  \          /  |
                   |  \      /  |    \      /    |
                   |    \  /    |      \  /      |
                   |     \/     |       \/       |
                   |    /  \    |      /  \      |
                   |   /    \   |    /      \    |
                   | /        \ |  /          \  |
         SRC -- BFIR-A(0001) -- BFR-B ---- BFER-D(0010) --- CE
Figure 2: BIER Network Topology with BFR-ID

3.2. Advertisement of MPLS Label

[RFC8401] defines BIER Info Sub-TLV to advertise BIER parameters such as BFR-ID, subdomain-id. The key field of the Sub-TLV is BIER prefix. Within the Sub-TLV, sub-sub-TLV is contained and it carries MAX-SI, BSL and MPLS Label. The sub-sub-TLV is modified in this document so that both Anycast and Bypass MPLS Labels can be advertised.

           0                   1                   2                   3
           0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
          |    Type       |   Length      |
          |   Max SI      |  BSL  |           (Bypass) Label              |
          |    Type       |   Length      |
          |   Max SI      |  BSL  |            Anycast Label              |
Figure 3: New BIER Info Sub-sub-TLV

3.3. Establishment of BIER Forwarding Table

After receiving BIER Info Sub-TLV, BFR will parse Bypass MPLS Label and Anycast MPLS Label. The relationship of [BFR-ID, Anycast Label, Bypass Label] will be maintained by each BFR.

The procedure of establishing BIFT is illustrated from the perspective of BFR-B and the Topology is accordingly simplified. As shown in the simplified topology figure below, BFR-B will receive BIER Info Sub-TLVs from BFER-C and BFER-D. The Anycast Label of two BFERs are different with BFR-B's, but they are same with each other. BFR-B will combine BFR-ID of BFER-C and BFER-D into one entry in the Bit Index Forwarding Table. Both BFER-C and BFER-D may receive packet.

          Site1          Site2      Site3
                     BFR-E(1000) -- BFER-C(0100)
                           |    /     |
         BFR-A(0001)---  BFR-B ---- BFER-D(0010) ------- CE

Figure 4: Simplified Topology from BFR-B's Perspective
           BFR-B BIFT
           | F-BM  | BFR-NBR | NBR-Label       |
           | 0001  |    A    |  AnycastLabel-1 |
           | 0110  |    D    |  AnycastLabel-3 |
                   |    C    |  AnycastLabel-3 |
           | 1000  |    E    |  BypassLabel-21 |
Figure 5: BFR-B's BIFT

When BFR-B receives BIER data packet, it will locate the BIFT according to the BIFT-ID encapsulted in BIER header. If the packet needs to be forwarded to BFR-ID 2, it will modify the BIFT-ID field as AnycastLabel-3 and then forward it. When BFER-D receives this packet, it will send the packet to CE.

BFERs will also advertise their BIER Info Sub-TLV to each other. When BFER-C receives BFER-D's Sub-sub-TLV, it finds BFER-D has same anycast label and different bypass label with itself. BFER-C will encode Bypass MPLS label into its BIFT as shown below.

           BFR-C BIFT
           | F-BM  | BFR-NBR |   NBR-Label     |
           | 0010  |   D     |  BypassLabel-32 |
           | 1001  |   E     |  AnycastLabel-2 |
                   |   B     |  AnycastLabel-2 |
Figure 6: BFR-C's BIFT

3.4. Fast Recovery

When link between BFR-B and BFER-D goes down due to certain reason, BFR-B will detect it and forward packet to BFER-C immediately according to BIFT entry. AnycastLabel-3 will be encapsulated. When BFER-C receives this packet, it will firstly use anycast label to locate corresponding BIFT table. Then it will use BFR-ID 2 to look for F-BM and find its neighbor is BFER-D. The Bypass label of BFER-D will be encapsulated into data packet header. Then BFER-D will finally receive the packet and forward it to CE. No packet will be dropped because the backup out interface has been generated when the anycast and bypass MPLS Labels are advertised and utilized.

In this way, reliance on unicast routing re-convergence after failure are minimized. It is also compatible with existed BIER protocol and signals such as BIER Info sub-TLV. This method is also friendly to hardware platform. BIER forwarding procedures actually are not modified.

4. Security Considerations


5. IANA Considerations


6. Acknowledgements


7. Normative References

Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.
Wijnands, IJ., Ed., Rosen, E., Ed., Dolganow, A., Przygienda, T., and S. Aldrin, "Multicast Using Bit Index Explicit Replication (BIER)", RFC 8279, DOI 10.17487/RFC8279, , <>.
Wijnands, IJ., Ed., Rosen, E., Ed., Dolganow, A., Tantsura, J., Aldrin, S., and I. Meilik, "Encapsulation for Bit Index Explicit Replication (BIER) in MPLS and Non-MPLS Networks", RFC 8296, DOI 10.17487/RFC8296, , <>.
Ginsberg, L., Ed., Przygienda, T., Aldrin, S., and Z. Zhang, "Bit Index Explicit Replication (BIER) Support via IS-IS", RFC 8401, DOI 10.17487/RFC8401, , <>.
Rosen, E., Ed., Sivakumar, M., Przygienda, T., Aldrin, S., and A. Dolganow, "Multicast VPN Using Bit Index Explicit Replication (BIER)", RFC 8556, DOI 10.17487/RFC8556, , <>.

Authors' Addresses

Siyu Chen
Huawei Technologies
Fanghong Duan
Huawei Technologies