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A Provider Edge router
is a router between one network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....
service provider's area and areas administered by other network providers. A network provider is usually an Internet Service Provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...
as well (or only that).
The term PE router
covers equipment capable of a broad range of routing
Routing is the process of selecting paths in a network along which to send network traffic. Routing is performed for many kinds of networks, including the telephone network , electronic data networks , and transportation networks...
A communications protocol is a system of digital message formats and rules for exchanging those messages in or between computing systems and in telecommunications...
- Border Gateway Protocol
The Border Gateway Protocol is the protocol backing the core routing decisions on the Internet. It maintains a table of IP networks or 'prefixes' which designate network reachability among autonomous systems . It is described as a path vector protocol...
- Open Shortest Path First
Open Shortest Path First is an adaptive routing protocol for Internet Protocol networks. It uses a link state routing algorithm and falls into the group of interior routing protocols, operating within a single autonomous system . It is defined as OSPF Version 2 in RFC 2328 for IPv4...
- Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)
PE routers need not be aware of what kind of traffic is coming from the provider's network. However, some PE routers also do labeling.