General Service Process Overview
A router is a device that searches for paths to transmit IP packets on the Internet. The router functions as a post office. IP packets are to the router as mails to the post office. The core function of a router is addressing and forwarding.
- Has a mail collection center that collects all mails.
- Has a mail query and distribution center that queries addresses of the mails and distributes these mails to their addresses.
A mail collection center, similar to the data plane on a router, delivers mails. A mail query and distribution center, similar to the control plane on the router, searches for paths and forwards mails along the paths to various addresses.
A router consists of the data and control planes, which implements addressing and forwarding. In addition, the router has a monitoring plane, which helps ensure stable addressing and forwarding performance. The three planes provide the following functions:
- Data plane: Similar to a mail collection center, the data plane provides interfaces that send and receive packets on a router, whereas processing the packets at a high speed and switching data packets inside the router. The data plane encapsulates packets, decapsulates packets, processes Ethernet, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), IPv4, and IPv6 packets, implements quality of service (QoS), schedules packets, and provides various statistics.
- Control plane: Similar to the mail query and distribution center, the control plane is the central nervous system on a router. It uses system buses to control system units and provide various functions. These functions allow the router to calculate routes, generate LSPs, build multicast, unicast, and MPLS forwarding tables, processes protocols and signalings, configure the routes, maintain the route status, monitor the system status, and generate the system status report.
- Monitoring plane: monitors the system environment and helps the data and control plane operate stably and securely. The monitoring plane measures the power voltage, controls the system power-on and power-off, monitors temperatures, and controls fan modules. In addition, the monitoring plane isolates a fault if a unit fails to prevent the fault from affecting other units on the router.
Figure 1 illustrates the logical architecture of a router.
The arrow in the figure indicates the direction in which data flows are forwarded.
- The data plane's forwarding function is implemented by the uplink and downlink line processing units (LPUs) and a switch fabric unit (SFU) on the router.
- Control and monitoring plane functions are implemented by control units on the main processing units (MPUs) and LPUs.
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