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White Paper

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Marc Bernstein IPTV Solutions Architect

Juniper Networks, Inc. 1194 North Mathilda Avenue Sunnyvale, CA 94089 USA 408 745 2000 or 888 JUNIPER www.juniper.net
Part Number: 200186-001 May 2006

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Table of Contents
Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................3 Terms and Acronyms ......................................................................................................................................................3 Introduction to VLANs ...................................................................................................................................................4 VLAN Design Alternatives ...........................................................................................................................................5 Customer VLAN.....................................................................................................................................................5 Service VLAN ..........................................................................................................................................................7 Hybrid Model ...........................................................................................................................................................9 Last Mile Connection .....................................................................................................................................................10 Recommendation.............................................................................................................................................................11 Juniper Networks VLAN Support for IPTV.........................................................................................................12 Contact .................................................................................................................................................................................12

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Overview
When building an IPTV-capable broadband network, one important issue is VLAN design. VLANs limit the broadcast domain, potentially ensuring that subscribers cannot see each others information and reducing network traffic. This document discusses common practices for VLAN network design.

Terms and Acronyms


BSR C-VLAN IPTV MC-VLAN STB VLAN VoD

Broadband Services Router used for subscriber management and edge routing Customer VLAN, which carries all (unicast) traffic to user IP Television is the capability to delivery broadcast TV services using an IP network Multicast VLAN, which carries all multicast traffic to all users (on this DSLAM) Set Top Box is the end host used to receive IPTV video Virtual Local Area Network Video on Demand is a unicast streaming video offering providing an isolated video session per user with rewind, pause and similar VCR-like capabilities

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Introduction to VLANs
VLANs allow the network to logically segment the network into multiple communities by tagging each packet with a field which identifies packet ownership. VLAN usage is standardized as IEEE 802.1Q, and are sometimes called VLAN tags or Q-tags. Figure 1 depicts a standard Ethernet frame with the optional VLAN tag included in the packet. For this discussion, the critical field is the VLAN identifier. This 12-bit field identifies which user community this packet belongs to. A single VLAN tag supports up to 4095 (2 12, with VLAN 0 reserved for special use) user communities.

Figure 1:

Ethernet Frame With VLAN Tag

An important attribute is that each VLAN is a unique Ethernet broadcast domain. This means that traffic tagged as belonging to one VLAN group will be seen only by authorized subscribers that are also members of this group. VLANs were originally designed for use within a single organization, and 4095 VLANs was considered sufficient. Service Providers now use VLANs to differentiate between customers. A more recent enhancement is the use of stacked VLANs. This allows multiple VLAN tags to be used in the same packet, as depicted in Figure 2. Stacked VLANs is defined in IEEE 802.1ad supplement to the IEEE 802.1 Bridging standard, and is sometimes referred to as Q-in-Q.

Figure 2:

Ethernet Frame Using Stacked VLANs

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

VLAN Design Alternatives


There are two fundamental VLAN design options: 1. 2. Customer VLAN: In this model, there is a dedicated VLAN for each subscriber. This is also called the 1:1 model since there is one VLAN per subscriber. Service VLAN: In this model, there is a dedicated VLAN for each service. This is also called the N :1 model since multipl e subscribers share each VLAN.

Customer VLAN
In the Customer VLAN (C-VLAN) model, there is a dedicated VLAN for each subscriber. The C-VLAN is created between the access elements (ONT/OLT, DSLAM) and the BSR, and carries all traffic for all services to and from an individual subscriber. This model mirrors the proven edge architecture used in many carrier environments for dial, BRAS, private line, Metro Ethernet, and Frame/ATM aggregation. Figure 3 shows a typical C-VLAN scenario. Since there is a 1:1 mapping of a C-VLAN to a subscriber, a single physical connection from the DSLAM to the edge router supports 4095 subscribers (assuming that VLAN stacking is not used). In other words, each DSLAM can support 4095 subscribers.

Figure 3:

Customer VLANs

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks The 1:1 mapping of VLANs to customers enables the edge router to effectively manage the bandwidth for each subscriber. The typical mechanism first limits the total traffic to each DSLAM, then apportions this bandwidth to each subscriber on the DSLAM, and finally allocates the subscribers bandwidth across the broadband applications currently being used. The drawback to the 1:1 mapping is that C-VLANs are point-to-point paths which do not natively support distributed multicast replication between C-VLANs. As illustrated in Figure 4: Broadband Network Using Stacked VLANs, the edge ro uter would need to create a unique stream for each user, even those watching the same channel. This requires additional bandwidth between the DSLAM and the edge router. The DSLAM cannot replicate channels since it does not realize that the same channel is coming in over multiple virtual connections. In larger access networks, VLAN stacking can be used to increase VLAN scaling beyond 4095 and to distinguish between physical locations in the network. One common example is to assign a unique outer VLAN ID per physical router port, with a different inner VLAN ID for each DSLAM connected to this port. The VLAN information plus the router port ID result in a static network location identifier for trouble isolation and provisioning. This is depicted in Figure 5.

Figure 4:

Multicasting in a Customer VLAN Network

A pure C-VLAN model works well if most television traffic is expected to be Video on Demand (VoD), which is unicast to each subscriber. With a high percentage of unicast video, replication in the access elements is less of a requirement. This simplifies the access network by eliminating any multicast awareness. In this case, the edge router performs channel replication and sends the broadcast television traffic to the subscriber via a unicast session.

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Figure 5:

Broadband Network Using Stacked VLANs

Service VLAN
In the Service VLAN model, there is a shared VLAN used to deliver services to subscribers. A separate VLAN is used for each service. This is depicted in Figure 6.

Figure 6:

Service VLAN Model

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks This architecture is frequently used when IPTV service is introduced onto an existing broadband network. Putting new services into a different VLAN lowers the risk of disrupting the existing service. It is especially useful in two situations: Wholesale networks, where a third party (wholesaler or virtual network operator) provides some of the services (such as IPTV). In this case, the VLAN carrying the wholesaled service can be delivered across the backbone to the wholesalers data center as shown in Figure . Multi-edge networks, where a separate edge router is installed to handle a new service. In this case, the VLAN for the new service can terminate at a separate edge router. This is depicted in Figure 8.

Figure 7:

Wholesaler Using Service VLANs

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Figure 8:

Multi-Edge Architecture Using Service VLANs

Hybrid Model
The hybrid model leverages the strengths of both architectures, creating a single policy enforcement point while providing efficient multicast delivery. The hybrid model leverages multiple VLANs as follows: A subscriber-dedicated C-VLAN carries unicast traffic such as Internet Access, Voice over IP and Video on Demand between the access node and the BSR. A shared Service VLAN carries broadcast television traffic to each DSLAM. In this special case, this is called the Multicast VLAN (MC-VLAN).

This is depicted in Figure 9.

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Figure 9:

Hybrid VLAN Model

Last Mile Connection


The VLAN structure from the RG to the DSLAM often mirrors the VLANs used from the DSLAM to the BSR. When C-VLANs are used, all traffic from the DSLAM to the RG typically does not include a VLAN tag. Alternatively, a separate VLAN can be used for carrying multicast IPTV traffic from the DSLAM to the RG. These alternatives are depicted in Figure 10.

Figure 10:

Last Mile Connection

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VLAN Design for IPTV Networks In either case, each DSLAM maintains tables which maps subscriber traffic to each physical port. This is depicted in Figure 11.

Figure 11:

DSLAM Traffic Mapping

Recommendation
The choice of network design varies with the requirements: For a standard retail network with a large amount of broadcast television, it makes sense to use a hybrid C-VLAN/MC-VLAN model from the BSR to the DSLAM. For networks with heavy VoD penetration or relatively few users per DSLAM, all traffic can be unicast from the BSR to the DSLAM. This eliminates the need for using a separate MC-VLAN. For service providers looking to build a multi-edge network or provide wholesaler-based IPV service, the service VLAN model is typically more appealing since VLANs carrying different services can easily be forwarded to different endpoints.

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.

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VLAN Design for IPTV Networks

Juniper Networks VLAN Support for IPTV


Juniper Networks routers support the complete range of capabilities supporting IPTV over broadband networks. These include support for: Customer VLAN, service VLAN and hybrid models Single edge and multi-edge networks Retail and wholesale offerings Stacked VLANs Priority mapping from DiffServ to 802.1Q priority bits Hierarchical queuing per service and per subscriber

Contact
Marc Bernstein mbernstein@juniper.net 978-589-0651

Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Juniper Networks and the Juniper Networks logo are registered trademarks of Juniper Networks, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, or registered service marks in this document are the property of Juniper Networks or their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Juniper Networks assumes no responsibility for any inaccuracies in this document or for any obligation to update information in this document. Juniper Networks reserves the right to change, modify, transfer, or otherwise revise this publication without notice.

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Copyright 2006, Juniper Networks, Inc.