Stable internet routing without global coordination

  • Authors:
  • Lixin Gao;Jennifer Rexford

  • Affiliations:
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA;AT&T Labs---Research, Florham Park, NJ

  • Venue:
  • IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (TON)
  • Year:
  • 2001

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The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) allows an autonomous system (AS) to apply diverse local policies for selecting routes and propagating reachability information to other domains. However, BGP permits ASs to have conflicting policies that can lead to routing instability. This paper proposes a set of guidelines for an AS to follow in setting its routing policies, without requiring coordination with other ASs. Our approach exploits the Internet's hierarchical structure and the commercial relationships between ASs to impose a partial order on the set of routes to each destination. The guidelines conform to conventional traffic-engineering practices of ISPs, and provide each AS with significant flexibility in selecting its local policies. Furthermore, the guidelines ensure route convergence even under changes in the topology and routing policies. Drawing on a formal model of BGP, we prove that following our proposed policy guidelines guarantees route convergence. We also describe how our methodology can be applied to new types of relationships between ASs, how to verify the hierarchical AS relationships, and how to realize our policy guidelines. Our approach has significant practical value since it preserves the ability of each AS to apply complex local policies without divulging its BGP configurations to others.