LISP provides a streamlined solution for handling multi-provider internet connectivity and policy without BGP configuration complexity. Its benefits include load-balancing ingress traffic across different providers. It has simple policy management. There is no need for any new appliances, is supported on most Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS/XR devices it can be downloaded from CCO.

For enterprises, including K-12 and higher education institutions, one of the benefits
of implementing the LISP approach is that traffic destined to a site is automatically
and accurately distributed across all available access links in accordance with
the ingress policy specified by the site. That is, LISP simplifies traffic engineering
capabilities and enables managing bandwidth in a simple and cost-effective way.
There is no need to run, configure, or maintain BGP, as the technology guarantees
load balancing of ingress traffic flows regardless of the provider.

Stankiewicz describes the moment that he and his team decided to officially engage
Cisco: “Cisco worked with us to test the technology live, and in action. After viewing
the technology first-hand, we realized that LISP running on Cisco routers worked as
expected.” LISP integrated flawlessly into NJEDge.Net’s existing network architecture
with no changes required to topology or hardware. LISP also integrated flawlessly
with member site Cisco routers.

Results

For the majority of New Jersey educational institutions, balancing their traffic is a
major frustration. NJEDge.Net can initiate direct connection with the school and
can also provide an alternate to achieve load balancing without BGP and the complexity
that comes with it. “Using LISP,” Stankiewicz says, “has enhanced our offering to
our members. I can’t tell you how phenomenal it’s been. We introduced this technology,
and it has noticeably relieved pressure on our membership.”

For example, before LISP, Rider University in Lawrenceville was in a difficult position
with balancing their traffic. Despite working with ISPs that gave pointers on how to
balance traffic, the traffic flow was not optimized. The school worked with NJEDge.
Net and integrated LISP within the school in less than a day. The end result was
balanced traffic and increased performance within a matter of hours.

Another member, Monmouth University, had similar conditions as the aforementioned
University. The difference with Monmouth University was that there was no direct
connection to NJEDge.Net. Monmouth University was using two different ISPs.
After many failed attempts to balance traffic, Monmouth inquired about NJEDge.
Net’s ability to load-balance their traffic. As soon as LISP was implemented, their
load balance problems were resolved. Eric Joyce, Director of Infrastructure Operations
at Monmouth University, indicated: “We are quite pleased with the results of switching
over to LISP routing. Using BGP, we would at most ever average 130-140MB of
our 200MB of bandwidth. Even with the use of prepends or more specific routes,
we could never achieve an equal balance.”

Beyond performance improvements, LISP has resulted in enormous cost savings for NJEDge.Net’s community. Generally, NJEDge.Net members move through cyclical equipment refreshes; whenever a member’s hardware ceased to support the
amount of routes needed for multi-home connections on the router, they would need to purchase new hardware with additional memory, costing on average of US$28,000. Because LISP is incrementally deployable on existing routers with only
a software upgrade, NJEDge.Net members no longer have to completely upgrade their equipment and buy new routers just to support BGP and Internet routing table scaling. Now members can purchase smaller, simpler devices for their routing
needs by integrating LISP technology, resulting in an average of $11,000 in savings spread over the lifetime of a box (approximately seven years). Stankiewicz comments on these benefits: “All connected members of our consortium can benefit in the same way. Every member that has integrated LISP is happy that they have a solution that truly works for them.”

Next Steps

Since January 2012, NJEDge.Net has signed on five additional members to integrate
LISP, and eight more members are at the implementation planning stages. NJEDge.
Net’s Board of Trustees meets on a quarterly basis, and it is anticipated that an
increasing number of members will integrate LISP as each meeting convenes. Because
LISP also provides highly scalable network virtualization, smooth IPv6 migration,
and host mobility support, NJEDge.Net is also looking into leveraging LISP for data
center mobility, including disaster recovery strategies.

  • Becoming a member
  • Corporate affiliates
  • Jobs

Challenge

In 1997, the Commission on Higher Education created a technology task force to investigate into Looking to the New Millennium: New Jersey’s Plan for Higher Education, the state’s first long-range plan which would serve as a guide for planning and policy development by institutions and the state. US$5 million of New Jersey’s Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund was set aside to aid the creation
of a single broadband network utility to support the collaborative efforts of colleges and universities in the state. In 2000, the task force established NJEDge.Net (The New Jersey Research and Education Network), with the Presidents’ Council Executive Board serving as the board of directors, to assist with the statewide network and governance structure

NJEDge.Net is a nonprofit consortium that supports sixty-two New Jersey educational institutions in their teaching, learning, research and development, and mission by providing collaborative resources, networked information services, and consultations. Understanding that broadband connectivity is critical to delivering core missions of the higher education community, NJEDge.Net built a state-of-the-art network in 2003 to better deliver support services to its members and execute on
New Jersey’s Looking to the New Millennium higher education plan.

After building its broadband network, NJEDge.Net encountered members’ other operational challenges; specifically NJEDge.Net’s members were multi-homed to diverse Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and the majority of them had issues balancing ingress network traffic among the ISPs in the multi-homing links they purchased. Members were incurring complexity from managing Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) at the Internet edge, and their various providers’ service limited traffic-balancing support among the links, often leaving the members to regulate the links themselves following infrastructure installation, routinely using complicated BGP policies. James Stankiewicz, director of Internet engineering at NJEDge.Net, comments on members’ frustrations: “Our members were paying for bandwidth that they weren’t even using. No matter what they tried, they just could not get a balance of traffic among their providers.”

The inability to balance ingress traffic was a drain on members’ time and funds, and
inhibited NJEDge.Net’s ability to deliver critical technology consultative services
and best use practices to institutions throughout New Jersey. Stankiewicz recalls
one NJEDge.Net member, “…told me he was paying a premium for Internet service
amounts between all his providers, and still was not able to get the traffic to balance.”
NJEDge.Net needed a solution that would balance members’ traffic despite their
varying techno-political networks and enable the consortium to deliver services
that supported the state’s commitment to furthering education.