ZebOS Product


Website: IPI Flagship product ZebOS


ZebOS is a scalable, robust and standards-based Layer 2 and Layer 3 carrier-class routing and switching software solution that allow OEMs add to rapidly networking capabilities to their new and existing lines of communication products. Its modular, platform-independent architecture enables OEMs to pick from amongst an impressive array of protocols and solutions to add to their equipment.

The ZebOS Network Platform supports industry-standard and best of breed operating systems, controlplane and data-plane processors. Although ZebOS is a control-plane network software solution, its architecture takes advantage of separate data-plane processors (NPUs and ASICs) to support modular and scalable communications equipment.

What is ZebOS?

Well, to put it in very simple terms, ZebOS is networking stack which can be run on top of linux operating system. Its a collection of service components, like NSM, RIBd, MRIBd, L2mribd and protocol components like ospfd, bgpd, lagd, pimd etc each of which is run as a separate process daemon. It has its own management components eg imi and a shell called imish , which accepts CLI commands to configure the system. It can be run on generic x86 based workstations using dataplane forwarder modules or on specialized network hardware from Broadcom, Marvell or other vendors using a common HSL module. 

Key Features Offered by ZebOS:

  • IPv4 and IPv6 Unicast and Multicast Routing

  • IPv4-to-IPv6 Transition Software

  • MPLS Traffic Engineering and MPLS-VPN (Layer 2/Layer 3)

  • Generalized MPLS • Advanced Layer 2 and VLAN Switching

  • Advanced Layer 2 and VLAN Switching

  • Robust Layer 3 Routing Capabilities for IPv4 and IPv6 Implementations

  • A High Availability Solution for Managing Recovery from Failover

  • Virtual Routing (VR) for Provider Edge (PE) Solutions

  • Industry Standard Command Line Interface (CLI) and Integrated Management Interface (IMI)

  • Integration with industry-leading silicon (Broadcom and Intel) using the ZebOS AIS Hardware Integration Platform (HIP) products

  • Support for industry-standard operating systems (Linux and VxWorks)

ZebOS Benefits:

  • The modular design enables NEMs to select and integrate the protocols they need for their specific market requirements.

  • ZebOS supports more than 200 network protocols that conform to leading IEEE, IETF and MEF industry-specific standards and implementation agreements. Protocols include Layer 2, MPLS, Layer 3, Carrier Ethernet (Metro Ethernet), Data Center Ethernet, and Integrated Management Software.

  • ZebOS has over 300 customers worldwide.

Layer 2 Protocols in ZebOS:

ZebOS-XP includes majorly below Layer 2 features:


Virtual Local Area Networks

The VLAN modules offer a consistent network-wide management tools to manage virtual LANs (Local Area Networks) and bridged VLANs:

  • VLAN bridging allows network devices to segment into VLANs, regardless of their physical location.

  • VLANs, in accordance with IEEE 802.1Q, enable multiple bridged LANs to transparently share the same physical network link without leaking information between LANs. Traffic between VLANs is restricted to bridges that forward unicast, multicast, or broadcast traffic only on the LAN segments that serve the VLAN to which the traffic belongs. 

The Link Aggregation module allows one or more links to be aggregated together to form a Link Aggregation Group (LAG), such that a MAC client can treat the Link Aggregation Group as if it were a single link. The Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) allows bundling of several physical interfaces to form a single logical channel providing enhanced performance and redundancy. The aggregated interface is viewed as a single link to each switch. The spanning tree also views it as one interface. When there is a failure in one physical interface, the remaining interfaces stay up, so there is no disruption.

Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation (also called MC-LAG, MLAG, or Distributed Resilient Network Interconnect [DRNI]) extends the link aggregation concept to ensure that connectivity between two networks can be maintained despite the failure of a node. With MC-LAG, at either one or both ends of a link aggregation group, a single aggregation system is replaced by a portal that is a collection of one to three portal systems.

Spanning Tree

The ZebOS  Spanning Tree modules is a combination of these modules:

• Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)

  Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) module creates spanning trees within mesh networks of Layer 2 connected bridges, disabling any links that are not a part of the tree and leaving a single active connection between any two unique network nodes.

• Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP)

  The Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) accelerates the re-configuration and restoration of a spanning tree after a link failure

• Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP)

  The Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP) is a supplement to the IEEE 802.1ad standard. MSTP allows VLAN bridges to use multiple spanning trees, by providing the ability for traffic belonging to different VLANs to flow over potentially different paths within the virtual bridged LAN.

TRILL (TRansparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) eliminates the problems associated with using the Spanning Tree Protocol in a data center network. Spanning tree protocols restrict all traffic to a loop-free tree and in doing so creates blocking conditions that require the over provisioning of links. With TRILL, you can create a fully meshed network where all links are available on all paths, eliminating the need to over-provision links and improving the utilization of data center networking equipment.

Carrier Ethernet

ZebOS offers a comprehensive set of Carrier Ethernet (CE) protocols, including MEF, IETF, and IEEE.

Data Center Bridging

Data Center Bridging (DCB) is a collection of standards-based extensions for Ethernet protocols. DCB is a lossless transport layer to allow the convergence of LANs and SANs into a single unified fabric. DCB is a flexible framework that defines the capabilities required for switches and end-points to be part of a data center environment. DCB protocols can carry Fibre Channel, TCP/IP, and Inter-process communication traffic over a single, converged Ethernet network.

Port Authentication (authd)

The ZebOS Layer 2 802.1x module provides port-based network access control for LAN devices. The IEEE 802.1x standard offers centralized control of user authentication and access.

Precision Time Protocol

The Precision Time Protocol (PTP) is a protocol used to synchronize clocks throughout a computer network. On a local area network, PTP achieves clock accuracy in the sub-microsecond range, making it suitable for measurement and control systems. PTP (IEEE 1588v2) introduced the concept of “boundary clocks” and “transparent clocks” that serve to further improve system and network scalability and the accuracy of clock synchronization. 

Synchronous Ethernet

In Synchronous Ethernet, a reference-timing signal traceable to a Primary Reference Clock (PRC) is injected into the network element using an external clock port. The Synchronous Ethernet interface extracts the frequency of this reference-timing signal and locks it to a system clock. This reference frequency is distributed to downstream Synchronous Ethernet nodes. Using this method, timing originating from a PRC is distributed via the intermediate Ethernet equipment clocks (EEC), to the other nodes in the network.

Shortest Path Bridging (IEEE 802.1aq)

SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) enables you to simplify how you create and configure networks—across the enterprise and for the cloud—by requiring service provisioning only at the edge of the network. Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) is a control plane protocol that combines an Ethernet data path with an Intermediate System To Intermediate System (ISIS) link state protocol running between bridges.

Edge Virtual Bridging

EVB is based on VEPA (Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator) technology. EVB enables the virtual switches to send all traffic and forwarding decisions to an adjacent physical switch. This moves the forwarding decisions and network operations from the host CPU to the switch. EVB also leverages the advanced management capabilities in the access or aggregation layer switches.

Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching

Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching (APS) detects signal failure or signal degrade on a working channel and switches traffic transmission to a protection channel.

Ethernet Local Management Interface

Ethernet Local Management Interface (E-LMI) is an OAM (Operation, Administration, and Management) protocol used for communications between two User Network Interfaces (that is, UNI-C and UNI-N). E-LMI provides both UNI and EVC (Ethernet Virtual Connection) status information to customer edge (CE) devices.

Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring (RMON; defined by RFC RFC 2819) provides remote monitoring and management of network devices and enables these devices to communicate with each other to exchange network information.

Layer 3 Protocols in ZebOS:

ZebOS majorly supports both IPv4 and IPv6 versions of:


The protocol modules communicate with Network Services Module for interface updates and with the Unicast Routing Information Base Daemon for route updates and redistributed routes. In addition to the standard Layer 3 routing protocols, ZebOS supports:

  • Virtual Routing (VR) support

  • Traffic Engineering (TE) extensions

  • Constrained Shortest Path First (CSPF) topology support for the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and Intermediate System-to-Intermediate System (IS-IS) protocols.

Border Gateway Protocol

Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is a core exterior gateway protocol (EGP) used on the Internet. BGP maintains a table of IP networks, or prefixes, which designate network reachability among Autonomous Systems (AS). BGP is a pathvector protocol that makes routing decisions based on path, network policies, and/or rule sets.

ZebOS supports Border Gateway Protocol (BGP4+) versions 4 and 4+ and offers optional VPN extensions for MPLS-VPN support. The VPN extensions work with NSM, MPLS-LDP, RSVP-TE, and MPLS forwarder modules

Open Shortest Path First

Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) version 2 is a link-state routing protocol that runs internally on a single autonomous IPv4 system. Each router designated to run OSPF maintains an identical database describing the autonomous system's topology. From this database, a routing table is calculated by constructing a shortest-path tree. OSPF version 3 contains extensions to support IPv6 networks. The protocol is also extensible to other address families. 

Routing Information Protocol

The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) version 2 is one of the most commonly used interior gateway protocols (IGP) for routing on internal IPv4 networks, and to a lesser extent, networks connected to the Internet. RIP employs a distributed variant of the Bellman-Ford algorithm to provide distance vector routing capabilities. RIP also supports subnet information, thus allowing Classless Inter-domain Routing (CIDR). RIPng contains extensions to support IPv6 networks.

Intermediate System to Intermediate System

Intermediate System-to-Intermediate-System (IS-IS) is a link-state routing protocol that runs internally on a single autonomous system. IS-IS routers maintain identical databases that describe the autonomous system's topology. A routing table is calculated from the database by constructing a shortest-path tree.

Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol

The Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) allows a virtual router composed of two or more VRRP routers on the same subnet to prevent failure by providing at least one standby virtual router if the master virtual router fails. VRRP eliminates the single point of failure most common in a static default routed environment.

Bidirectional Forwarding Detection

Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) reduces the reliance upon the relatively slow Hello mechanism in routing protocols to detect failures where no hardware signaling is available to assist. BFD works with BGP, OSPFv2, and ISIS to enable them to configure BFD sessions, and for the sessions to receive the bidirectional forwarding failure notifications.