(Resilient Packet Ring) A packet-based protocol that provides fault tolerance and statistical multiplexing for the metropolitan and national SONET and Ethernet networks of the carriers. The RPR architecture is often added to SONET networks to enable them to carry packets. RPR is a data link layer protocol (layer 2) that uses dual counter-rotating rings for fault tolerance.|
RPR nodes, which contain the RPR interface cards, are typically routers and switches in a packet environment (Ethernet) or add/drop multiplexers (ADMs) in a TDM environment (SONET). The IEEE has standardized RPR with its 802.17 specification.
RPR nodes are connected in a ring topology by two fibers, each transmitting in the opposite direction. Both inner and outer ringlets are active at the same time. If a failure occurs, traffic capacity is decreased.
Packets move through every node in the ring up to the destination node, where they are stripped off. In an RPR, traffic from multiple nodes travels on the ring concurrently.
RPR includes a "fairness" algorithm. Since packets pass through all intermediate nodes, a node can notify the others to slow the transmission if it cannot get its fair share of bandwidth on the ring to transmit. This traffic adjustment enhances the statistical multiplexing and ensures fair access during congestion. Since SONET interleaves fixed channels, "RPR over SONET" turns SONET into a more dynamic network. See TDM network, SONET and statistical multiplexor.
Under normal operation, data flows in both ringlet 0 and ringlet 1. In case of failure, overall bandwidth is reduced.
If a line breaks, the ring is reconfigured using ringlet 0 and 1 together. RPR "wrapping" causes the two nodes at either side of the break to become return nodes and provides the fastest recovery.
RPR "steering" can restore a damaged network and also shorten the number of hops packets take compared to wrapping. However, steering takes a little bit longer to complete as all nodes in the network have to be reconfigured. Sometimes, wrapping is performed immediately, and steering is performed afterwards.