Cabletron's VLS Protocol Specification
RFC 2642

Document Type RFC - Informational (August 1999; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                            L. Kane
Request for Comments: 2642                Cabletron Systems Incorporated
Category: Informational                                      August 1999

                 Cabletron's VLS Protocol Specification

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   The Virtual LAN Link State Protocol (VLSP) is part of the InterSwitch
   Message Protocol (ISMP) which provides interswitch communication
   between switches running Cabletron's SecureFast VLAN (SFVLAN)
   product.  VLSP is used to determine and maintain a fully connected
   mesh topology graph of the switch fabric.  Each switch maintains an
   identical database describing the topology. Call-originating switches
   use the topology database to determine the path over which to route a
   call connection.

   VLSP provides support for equal-cost multipath routing, and
   recalculates routes quickly in the face of topological changes,
   utilizing a minimum of routing protocol traffic.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction............................................  3
       1.1 Acknowledgments.....................................  3
       1.2 Data Conventions....................................  3
       1.3 ISMP Overview.......................................  4
    2. VLS Protocol Overview...................................  5
       2.1 Definitions of Commonly Used Terms..................  6
       2.2 Differences Between VLSP and OSPF...................  7
           2.2.1 Operation at the Physical Layer...............  8
           2.2.2 All Links Treated as Point-to-Point...........  8
           2.2.3 Routing Path Information......................  9
           2.2.4 Configurable Parameters.......................  9
           2.2.5 Features Not supported........................  9
       2.3 Functional Summary.................................. 10
       2.4 Protocol Packets.................................... 11

Kane                         Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2642         Cabletron's VLS Protocol Specification      August 1999

       2.5 Protocol Data Structures............................ 12
       2.6 Basic Implementation Requirements................... 12
       2.7 Organization of the Remainder of This Document...... 13
    3. Interface Data Structure................................ 14
       3.1 Interface States.................................... 16
       3.2 Events Causing Interface State Changes.............. 18
       3.3 Interface State Machine............................. 21
    4. Neighbor Data Structure................................. 23
       4.1 Neighbor States..................................... 25
       4.2 Events Causing Neighbor State Changes............... 27
       4.3 Neighbor State Machine.............................. 29
    5. Area Data Structure..................................... 33
       5.1 Adding and Deleting Link State Advertisements....... 34
       5.2 Accessing Link State Advertisements................. 35
       5.3 Best Path Lookup.................................... 35
    6. Discovery Process....................................... 35
       6.1 Neighbor Discovery.................................. 36
       6.2 Bidirectional Communication......................... 37
       6.3 Designated Switch................................... 38
           6.3.1 Selecting the Designated Switch............... 39
       6.4 Adjacencies......................................... 41
    7. Synchronizing the Databases............................. 42
       7.1 Link State Advertisements........................... 43
           7.1.1 Determining Which
                 Link State Advertisement Is Newer............. 44
       7.2 Database Exchange Process........................... 44
           7.2.1 Database Description Packets.................. 44
           7.2.2 Negotiating the Master/Slave Relationship..... 45
           7.2.3 Exchanging Database Description Packets....... 46
       7.3 Updating the Database............................... 48
       7.4 An Example.......................................... 49
    8. Maintaining the Databases............................... 51
       8.1 Originating Link State Advertisements............... 52
           8.1.1 Switch Link Advertisements.................... 52
           8.1.2 Network Link Advertisements................... 55
       8.2 Distributing Link State Advertisements.............. 56
           8.2.1 Overview...................................... 57
           8.2.2 Processing an
                 Incoming Link State Update Packet............. 58
           8.2.3 Forwarding Link State Advertisements.......... 60
           8.2.4 Installing Link
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