Path Computation Element (PCE)

Defined by IETF RFC 4655, the Path Computation Element (PCE) network can compute more sophisticated paths through the network by having access to additional data not visible to a single network element and by applying substantial CPU power to the computation. Essentially, the path computation component of the traditional control plane architecture migrates to a centralized role in the network, leaving the remaining components (e.g. discovery, topology sharing, signaling) untouched. The PCE can be a router, a COTS server, part of the OSS, or a virtualized entity running in a cloud.

The centralization of path computation enables operators to customize, control and update policies from a single location. This architecture enables

  • seamless inter-domain routing
  • flexible/customizable path computation
  • improved price/performance
  • simplified operations.

PCEs also provide an evolutionary path to Software Defined Networking (SDN). For more detailed information on PCE and SDN see our whitepaper, PCE-an Evolutionary Approach to SDN.

Metaswitch DC-PCE

Metaswitch has extended its Integrated Control Plane solution, which is widely deployed in Telco/WAN networks, to fully support PCE.

Features and Benefits

Metaswitch’s PCE solution offers the following features and benefits.

  • Control plane / virtualization expertise
    • Developed by routing, signaling, and virtualization experts
    • Pre-integrated with leading MPLS/GMPLS solution
  • Flexibility / Modularity
    • Portable to any OS, any architecture
    • PCE client integrated into any NE
    • PCE client/server integrated into an OSS
    • PCE server can run on any PC or cloud environment
    • Open APIs for customization
    • Opens control of the control plane to the service providers
  • Massive scalability
    • Vital for PCE servers
    • Arbitrary parallelization
    • Multi-thread, multi-core, multi-CPU support
  • Robust fault tolerance
    • Part of Metaswitch High Availability Framework
    • Full distribution support

Solution Elements

The Metaswitch solution for manufacturers of packet-optical devices is based on the following elements.

  • DC-PCE including PCE Client and Server support
  • Metaswitch's Integrated Control Plane, which can be used to implement a MPLS/GMPLS and IP Routing control plane on a huge range of network equipment
  • High Availability Framework (HAF), Metaswitch's architecture for delivering fault tolerance and reduced downtime across the range of network protocols
  • N-BASE, Metaswitch's portable operating environment for network software products
  • Metaswitch professional services, training, and support directly from the Metaswitch engineering organization