On inferring autonomous system relationships in the internet

  • Authors:
  • Lixin Gao

  • Affiliations:
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

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

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The Internet consists of rapidly increasing number of hosts interconnected by constantly evolving networks of links and routers. Interdomain routing in the Internet is coordinated by the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP allows each autonomous system (AS) to choose its own administrative policy in selecting routes and propagating reachability information to others. These routing policies are constrained by the contractual commercial agreements between administrative domains. For example, an AS sets its policy so that it does not provide transit services between its providers. Such policies imply that AS relationships are an important aspect of Internet structure. We propose an augmented AS graph representation that classifies AS relationships into customer-provider, peering, and sibling relationships. We classify the types of routes that can appear in BGP routing tables based on the relationships between the ASs in the path and present heuristic algorithms that infer AS relationships from BGP routing tables. The algorithms are tested on publicly available BGP routing tables. We verify our inference results with AT&T internal information on its relationship with neighboring ASs. As much as 99.1% of our inference results are confirmed by the AT&T internal information. We also verify our inferred sibling relationships with the information acquired from the WHOIS lookup service. More than half of our inferred sibling-to-sibling relationships are confirmed by the WHOIS lookup service. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no publicly available information about AS relationships and this is the first attempt in understanding and inferring AS relationships in the Internet. We show evidence that some routing table entries stem from router misconfigurations.