KEYMILE TraceMAC automates error searches in layer-two networks

14. September 2015

KEYMILE’s TraceMAC is the only solution on the market to allow automatic address tracing in a layer-two network. This technical innovation is based on an LLDP protocol extension. In large, switched, wide-area networks (WANs) of the type often used in the energy utilities for example, TraceMAC allows very fast and efficient topology verification and error searches.

KEYMILE subsidiary HYTEC has extended the Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) to allow address tracing in layer-two networks. This technological innovation is called TraceMAC and is available with immediate effect. TraceMAC offers a solution for typical problems involved with administration, control and analysis in extensive layer-two wide-area networks of the types used by gas, electricity and water utilities.

In layer three the traceroute command is used to send IP data packages of the type ICMP echo-request in a network to reach a device sought. However, in layer-two networks a comparable way of identifying hardware addresses has been lacking until now. Complex, manually typed command sequences were required for step-by-step localisation of an address in a network by reading the hardware address tables.

To provide this functionality, TraceMAC applies the IEEE 802.1AB-standardised LLDP with an additional new communications method, as well as organisation-specific type-length-value (TLV) elements to gain information. The goal is to achieve automated and therefore more efficient control. The elements are the Trace Request, Trace Reply, Device Name, Outgoing Port Name, IPv4 Address, IPv6 Address, Incoming Port Name and Trace Identifier TLV-formats. Until now, LLDP has only been used for exchanging information directly between adjacent devices in one network. For identifying problems caused by devices in different places in complex wide-area networks, LLDP was only of limited use. This is all set to change with TraceMAC.

TraceMAC is currently already part of the KEYMILE LineRunner-IS-3400 and HYTEC-HY104 families. Both product families include various types of boards in order to transmit data in mission-critical networks.

“TraceMAC is another component of our new strategy that focuses on mission-critical networks”, explains Axel Föry, CEO of KEYMILE. “The solution was created by the research and development team in Germany and helps gas, electricity and water utilities to operate their networks even more securely and reliably”. KEYMILE is currently reviewing how and in what form the TraceMAC LLDP extension can be integrated into the official IEEE standardisation process. The way TraceMAC works is explained in detail in the white paper entitled “Tracing of hardware addresses in layer two bridged networks” which is available from the IEEE in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

For a link to the white paper in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, please click here.

About KEYMILE

KEYMILE is a leading supplier of telecommunications solutions with key facilities in Germany and Switzerland. The flexible and robust multi-service access and transmission systems allow network operators to provide a wide range of voice and data services on copper wire and optical fibre. Simultaneous availability of IP/Ethernet and TDM technology guarantees perfect evolution to packet-based data transmission. KEYMILE systems are used for reliable data transmission in mission-critical areas of telecommunications networks used by railways, oil and gas companies, energy grids and authorities. Public network operators employ the products to provide top bandwidth to subscribers. The KEYMILE systems stand apart for their high level of availability and durability, ease of operation, excellent eco-footprint and top levels of system integrity due to production facilities based in Germany. KEYMILE supports its customers with a wide range of solution-driven services such as consulting, network design, implementation, network operation and training. The company has subsidiaries and partners worldwide and has installed systems in more than 100 countries.

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