Path Computation Element (PCE) is a network component, application or node that can apply computational constraints and compute a network path or route based on a network graph. The PCE has access to topology information for the entire network and uses this in path computations.
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When a network elements needs a path for an label-switched path, it makes a request to the PCE by using the path computation element protocol (PCEP). The PCE architecture and PCE protocol are defined by the IETF in RFCs 4655 and RFC 5440, respectively.