A Distributed Control Plane Architecture (DCP architecture) is a network architecture that makes it possible to allocate control protocol functions across multiple processor levels in the network system. The Internet uses a Distributed Control Plane Architecture.
A DCP architecture is based on the physical separation between control functions and forwarding functions. The separation of control elements from forwarding elements enables the control plane to handle complex tasks such as traffic engineering, quality of service (QoS) and managing virtual private networks (VPNs) in large networks. The challenges of a distributed architecture include determining the function to be distributed and the network element that will host that function.