Tag Archives: ECMP

Equal Cost Multipath

Equal Cost Multipath (ECMP) is a network load-balancing method that enables the coexistence of multiple network paths form one source node to a destination node. The two or more paths between the nodes have the same routing cost, thus the traffic will be split evenly across, avoiding congestion and increasing the bandwidth.

ECMP is also a network redundancy method. In case one ECMP link fails, the traffic will move on the remaining links with minimal interruption in service.

For ECMP to work, a router will need special support in the forwarding plane and in the routing protocols deployed in the network. For experimentation I will use two Linux virtual machines on my host computer. The Linux kernel has an excellent ECMP implementation, as for the routing protocol I will use OSPF.

The virtual machines are set using virtenv. It is a very light virtualization solution based on Linux containers (LCX) implementation in Linux kernel. Each machine owns a slice of the Linux kernel running on the host computer, with full network and process separation. In each virtual machine I run one instance of RCP100. RCP100 is a router control plane for Linux platforms, supporting among other things OSPF and ECMP. RCP100 also features a CISCO-like command line interface (CLI) which simplifies router operation for people already skilled in configuring commercial routers.

The network diagram is as follows:

ECMP test network

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