General Switch Management Protocol (GSMP) Applicability
RFC 3294

Document Type RFC - Informational (June 2002; No errata)
Authors Kenneth Sundell  , Avri Doria 
Last updated 2015-10-14
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IESG IESG state RFC 3294 (Informational)
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Network Working Group                                           A. Doria
Request for Comments: 3294                Lulea University of Technology
Category: Informational                                       K. Sundell
                                                         Nortel Networks
                                                               June 2002

        General Switch Management Protocol (GSMP) Applicability

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 (2002).  All Rights Reserved.


   This memo provides an overview of the GSMP (General Switch Management
   Protocol) and includes information relating to its deployment in a IP
   network in an MPLS environment.  It does not discuss deployment in an
   ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) network or in a raw ethernet

1. Overview

   The General Switch Management Protocol (GSMP) has been available to
   the IETF community for several years now as informational RFCs.  Both
   GSMPv1.1 (released in March 1996 as RFC 1987 [2]) and GSMPv2.0
   (released in August 1998 as RFC 2297 [3]) are available.  Several
   vendors have implemented GSMPv1.1.

   In V1.1 and V2 GSMP was intended only for use with ATM switches.
   During the course of the last two years, the GSMP working group has
   decided to expand the purview of GSMP to the point where it can be
   used to control a number of different kinds of switch and can thus
   live up to what its name indicates; a general switch management
   protocol.  To do this, commands and arguments needed to be
   generalised and sections needed to be added, discussing the manner in
   which the generalised protocol could be applied to specific kinds of
   switches and port types.  In short, the protocol has gone through
   major changes in the last 24 months.

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RFC 3294                   GSMP Applicability                  June 2002

   GSMP provides an interface that can be used to separate the data
   forwarder from the routing and other control plane protocols such as
   LDP.  As such it allows service providers to move away from
   monolithic systems that bundle the control plane and the data plane
   into a single tightly coupled system - usually in a single chassis.
   Separating the control components from the forwarding components and
   using GSMP for switch management, enables service providers to create
   multi-service systems composed of various vendors equipment.  It also
   allows for a more dynamic means of adding services to their networks.

   The IETF GSMP working group was established in the routing area
   because GSMP was being seen as an optional part of the MPLS solution.
   In a MPLS system, it is possible to run the routing protocols and
   label distribution protocols on one system while passing data across
   a generic switch, e.g., an ATM switch.  GSMP provides the switch
   resource management mechanism needed in such a scenario.

   GSMP has also been selected by the Multiservice Switching Forum (MSF)
   as its protocol of choice for the Switch Control Interface identified
   in their architecture.  The MSF is an industry forum which, among its
   activities establishes their member's requirements and then works
   with the appropriate standards bodies to foster their goals.  In the
   case of GSMP, the MSF presented the IETF GSMP Working Group with a
   set of requirements for GSMP.  The working group has made a
   determined effort to comply with those requirements in its

2. GSMP V3 Document Set

   The current version of GSMP is documented in 3 documents:

   -  GSMP: General Switch Management protocol V3 [5]

   -  GSMP-ENCAPS: General Switch Management Protocol (GSMP) Packet
      Encapsulations for Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Ethernet and
      Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) [4]

   -  GSMP-MIB: Definitions of Managed Objects for the General Switch
      Management Protocol [1]

3. General Description

   The General Switch Management Protocol V3 (GSMPv3) [5], is a general
      purpose protocol to control a label switch.  GSMP allows a
      controller to establish and release connections across the switch;
      add and delete leaves on a multicast connection; reserve
      resources; manage switch ports; request configuration information;
      and request statistics.  It also allows the switch to inform the

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RFC 3294                   GSMP Applicability                  June 2002

      controller of asynchronous events such as a link going down.  The
      GSMPv3 protocol is asymmetric, the controller being the master and
      the switch being the slave.

   A physical switch can be partitioned into many virtual switches.
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