The Multi-VRF CE feature—also known as VRF-Lite—is a feature whereby the VPN functionality is extended to the CE router in a cheap way. Assume that you have a company with a large main site and some smaller sites that are interconnected across an MPLS VPN network. The main site of the company is rather large and has several departments that need to be separated from each other for privacy reasons. These departments (finance, human resources, engineering, and so on) then connect to their respective department remote sites through the MPLS VPN network. You can separate the departments by implementing VLANs on switches in the main site and mapping each VLAN to a VRF (sub)interface on the PE router. Instead of using a Layer 2 switch or one CE router per department, you can bring the VPN functionality to the CE router. For Multi-VRF CE, the separation into VRFs is used on the CE router as it is used on the PE router. However, the CE does not need the other MPLS VPN functionality, such as labeling packets, Multiprotocol iBGP, and LDP. The interfaces toward the PE router are VRF interfaces. You need to configure the appropriate VRFs and VRF routing protocols on the Multi-VRF CE router.

An example of Multi-VRF CE is shown in Figure 7-32. Figure 7-32 Example of a Multi-VRF CE

The Multi-VRF CE router has a VRF interface toward each CE router that is connected to it. Each VRF toward a CE router must also have a VRF interface toward the PE router. Of course, if you use an interface for each VRF on the PE and Multi-VRF CE router, it becomes costly. A much cheaper solution is to use a FastEthernet or GigabitEthernet link or a channelized serial link between the PE and Multi-VRF CE and use one subinterface for each VRF.

You need no new MPLS VPN functionality on the Multi-VRF CE router. The Multi-VRF CE feature is defined on the CE router and not on the PE router. The rest of the MPLS VPN network functions the same as regular MPLS VPN.

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