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White Paper

Eclipse RWPR Operation


Keynote

No. 6
This is White Paper No. 6 in a series produced by Harris Stratex Networks on Carrier Ethernet.

Eclipse RWPRTM (Resilient Wireless Packet Ring) is an enhanced RSTP option on Eclipse GigE radios. The RWPR enhancement delivers reconvergence times as low as 50ms on Ethernet RSTP ring and mesh networks, times that are at least an order of magnitude better than normal RSTP times, and which satisfy the MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) guidelines for Carrier Ethernet service availability on RSTP networks. Eclipse RWPR achieves these times through a proprietary rapid failure detection (RFD) mechanism that eliminates the normal time-out period used by RSTP to confirm a path failure between adjacent network nodes, then accelerates the convergence process. RWPR may be used over Eclipse radio and fiber links, and over Eclipse link-aggregated links. Only Eclipse GigE radios include an intelligent L2 switch for RSTP operation. Only Eclipse GigE radios provide the added intelligence of RWPR to meet Carrier Ethernet service recovery guidelines. RWPR is a Harris Stratex Networks development. A patent is pending.

Introduction
This paper provides an overview of Eclipse RWPR function and operation. It introduces the RSTP elements used to establish a network topology, and how the RWPR enhancements operate with RSTP when a path in the network fails.

Setting the Network Topology


With RWPR, industry-standard RSTP is used to establish the optimum network topology for a switched Layer 2 (L2) ring or mesh network based on switch priority, port cost and port priority. For Eclipse, these parameters are software-set on the GigE module (DAC GE) using Portal. The spanning tree algorithm within RSTP defines a tree with a root switch, and a loop-free path from the root to all other switches in the network. All paths that are not needed to reach the root switch from within the network are placed in a blocked mode. If a path within the tree fails and a redundant (blocked) path exists, the spanning-tree algorithm recalculates the tree topology and activates the redundant path. Only the traffic affected by a topology change is interrupted. When a failed path is restored to service and the path provides a lower cost path to the root switch, RSTP will initiate a topology change to re-instate the restored path.

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The spanning tree process used within RSTP to determine the network topology relies on the exchange of bridge protocol data unit messages (BPDUs) between the switches. BPDUs contain information about the sending switch and its ports, including the switch MAC address, switch priority, port priority, and path cost. Spanning-tree uses this information to elect the root switch, and the path to and through other switches on the network, where for each switch a root-facing port and a designated port or ports are set. (Within an RWPR/RSTP context, port refers to a DAC GE port or channel; a channel is a radio-facing port).
- For each switch in the network, RSTP calculates the lowest path cost to root on

The network topology is determined by the bridge and port/channel settings configured on RSTP-enabled L2 switches.

each port. It then sets the port with the lowest cost towards root as its root port.
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When two ports on a switch form part of a loop, the spanning-tree path cost and port ID values determine which port is put in the forwarding state and which is put in the discarding/blocking state.

Each switch starts as a root switch with a zero root-path cost. After exchanging BPDUs with its neighbors, RSTP elects the root switch, and the topology of the network from the root switch.
- The root switch is the logical center of the network. - The switch with the highest switch priority (lowest switch ID) is elected as the

root switch.
- The switch ID comprises a user-settable priority value and the switch MAC

address. If switches are configured for the same priority value, or left as default, the switch with the lowest MAC address becomes the root switch. Settings are entered on all switches to ensure the desired network topology is established.
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Port cost and priority settings are used by spanning-tree to elect the network topology beneath the root switch. The spanning-tree algorithm uses data from both to determine an optimum network tree (optimum paths to root switch), with contesting ports set for forwarding or blocking.
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Path cost should be set to represent data bandwidth (speed) available on the path, and is assigned a value such that the higher the speed, the lower the cost. Highest priority is given to highest speed = lowest value cost. Costs are added through the network. A lower cost route is always elected over a route with a higher cost. A port priority is set to represent how well a port is located within a network to pass traffic back to the root. Port priority is contained within a Port ID, which comprises a port priority setting, and the port number. Where costs to root are such that they cannot assist spanning-tree to set a priority, the port with the lowest port ID is used to decide port states, such as forwarding or blocking. Where ports are set for the same port priority, spanning tree selects the port with the lowest port number as the forwarding port. If path costs are not assigned, spanning-tree uses port ID in its selection of port status.

Refer to Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1 shows a simple Eclipse 150 Mbit/s ring with RWPR enabled on the DAC GE plug-ins. Note that the customers LAN is supported directly from the DAC GE at each site. Figure 2 shows the RWPR (RSTP) settings used to ensure correct election of the root switch in the 150 Mbit/s ring, and to establish the preferred topology on the remaining switches.
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Figure 1. Eclipse 150 Mbit/s RWPR Ethernet Ring

Figure 2. DAC GE RWPR L2 Switch Settings

In a simple ring network one switch will have contesting ports; one port will be set to forwarding, the other to blocked, to prevent formation of an Ethernet loop. The blocked port is changed to forwarding when needed to provide an alternate route. In the example network above: The root switch is configured with the lowest bridge priority value. (Lowest value = highest priority). If the root switch fails, the lower-left switch would become the root switch. Data bandwidths are equal (150 Mbps) on all ring links. DAC GE RWPR costs (path costs) have been set to 300 on channels C1 and C2 on all DAC GEs. This means that from the root switch, RWPR costs are equal (1200) to the top-left switch. So RWPR costs alone do not help to elect a preferred route, clockwise or anti-clockwise, to the top-left switch. RSTP next looks at the port priority (RWPR priority) settings on the top-left equalpath-cost switch to determine channel port status; fowarding (root) or blocked. As the preferred route is clockwise, C2 has been configured with a lower RWPR priority

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(higher value number). So C2 becomes the blocked port and all traffic to this switch travels clockwise to/from the root switch via C1. If C1 and C2 on the top-left switch were configured with the same RWPR priority, RSTP would next examine the port numbers involved, to assist the election of a preferred route. In this case, C1 has the lowest port number so C1 would be confirmed as the forwarding (root) port, and C2 as the blocked port.

Path cost and port priority settings are used by spanning-tree to elect the network topology beneath the root switch. The spanning-tree algorithm uses data from both to determine an optimum network tree (optimum paths to/from root switch), with contesting ports set for forwarding or blocking. On a simple ring network where all paths are configured for the same Ethernet capacity, as in Figures 1 and 2, cost and priority settings can be set such that traffic flows both ways around the ring from the root switch, to a switch that is equi-distant from the root, at which point RSTP will set one of the channels (ports) on this equidistant switch to forwarding, and the other to blocking. By convention, path cost should be set the same (e.g. 500) on all switches where data bandwidth is equal on all ring paths. Doing so will ensure costs are set equally (they total equally) in both directions around the network from the root switch to the equidistant switch. Similarly port priority can be set the same (e.g. 50) on all switch ports. In this case RSTP will use the port IDs on the equi-distant DAC GE to set the preferred route to this switch. The lowest value port, for example C1, will be preferred over C2, and C2 will be blocked. However, if one route, clockwise or anti-clockwise, is preferred from the route switch to the equi-distant switch, port priority values on the equi-distant switch should be set to favor the preferred route. The value ranges available for RWPR (RSTP) cost allow selection of a wide range of values. The actual value selected is not important on its own - what is important are the values selected in conjunction with other switches (other paths) on the network. In summary, path costs are used first to determine a preferred route towards a blocking switch, then port priorities are used on the blocking switch to determine which port is forwarding and which is blocked. If port priorities are the same, the port numbers are used.

The Traffic Recovery Process


When a link within an RSTP ring fails, failure detection time and network reconfiguration time must be considered within the overall service recovery (reconvergence) latency. The recovery process is considered for wireless RSTP networks using external switches, and separately for the built-in RWPR capability on Eclipse DAC GE switches. Where external switches are used, links that do not have any form of Ethernet port shutdown, and those that do, are taken into account.

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Failure Recovery Latencies Using External RSTP Switches


When a point-to-point radio link fails, the failure can be due to path or equipment failure, or both. But for most failure situations the Ethernet port on the radio will remain up, meaning no immediate indication is provided to a connected switch that the link has failed or is degraded (high BER). Under these situations an RSTP switch can only determine the status of a link using Hello BPDU (Bridge Protocol Data Unit) messaging. Under RSTP, Hello BPDUs are sent out of all switch ports on the network so that every switch in the network is aware of its neighbor. Hello BPDUs have a default 2 second time interval. When three BBDUs are missed in a row (total 6 seconds), that neighbor is presumed to be down and the switch initiates RSTP convergence.

Some Ethernet links can bypass this lengthy process using an Ethernet PHY port shutdown capability. The Ethernet port on the link is electrically shut down (transmit muted) for a path failure or degrade. This is detected as a link failure (port down) on the companion RSTP switch port. Total detection time is generally in the order of 200 to 500 ms.

Add to these times the typical RSTP network convergence times of between 200 ms and 1 second, and you have total failure recovery latencies in the order of 7 seconds for a Hello BPDU timeout process, or 1 to 2 seconds for a PHY port shutdown event.

Eclipse RWPR Failure Recovery Latency


When an Eclipse link in an RWPR network fails, (software, equipment, path, or diagnostic failure event) its RFD (rapid failure detection) mechanism immediately forces initiation of RSTP convergence (within 1 ms). Additionally, a dynamic Hello time is used on the Ethernet ports to accelerate convergence under RSTP, knowing that during this period, port states can change frequently through message exchanges between neighbor switches. The polling timer is advanced to 10ms from a default 500 ms. This occurs when a switch receives a topology change message or when it detects a topology change event.

Only Eclipse GigE radios include an intelligent L2 switch with an enhanced RSTP capability to deliver carrierclass reconvergence times.

The result is that failure recovery latencies are considerably lowered compared to normal RSTP operation. For a 5 node RWPR ring typical maximum traffic outages are: 60 ms for a link down (link failure). 50 ms for a link up (failed link restored to service). 800 ms for an Ethernet PHY port-down. 40 ms for Ethernet PHY port up.

These times satisfy MEF guidelines for carrier class reliability (redundancy). Only an integrated switch solution can provide this level of performance. It cannot be matched by wireless networks using external switches.

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