Network-Wide Prediction of BGP Routes

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Feamster, Nick
Rexford, Jennifer
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This paper presents provably correct algorithms for computing the outcome of the BGP route-selection process for each router in a network, without simulating the complex details of BGP message passing. The algorithms require only static inputs that can be easily obtained from the routers: the BGP routes learned from neighboring domains, the import policies configured on the BGP sessions, and the internal topology. Solving the problem would be easy if the route-selection process were deterministic and every router received all candidate BGP routes. However, two important features of BGP-the Multiple Exit Discriminator (MED) attribute and route reflectors-violate these properties. After presenting a simple route-prediction algorithm for networks that do not use these features, we present algorithms that capture the effects of the MED attribute and route reflectors in isolation. Then, we explain why the interaction between these two features precludes efficient route prediction. These two features also create difficulties for the operation of BGP itself, leading us to suggest improvements to BGP that achieve the same goals as MED and route reflection without introducing the negative side effects.
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