BGP routing stability of popular destinations

  • Authors:
  • Jennifer Rexford;Jia Wang;Zhen Xiao;Yin Zhang

  • Affiliations:
  • AT&T Labs--Research/ Florham Park, NJ;AT&T Labs--Research/ Florham Park, NJ;AT&T Labs--Research/ Florham Park, NJ;AT&T Labs--Research/ Florham Park, NJ

  • Venue:
  • Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Internet measurment
  • Year:
  • 2002

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The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) plays a crucial role in the delivery of traffic in the Internet. Fluctuations in BGP routes cause degradation in user performance, increased processing load on routers, and changes in the distribution of traffic load over the network. Although earlier studies have raised concern that BGP routes change quite often, previous work has not considered whether these routing fluctuations affect a significant portion of the traffic. This paper shows that the small number of popular destinations responsible for the bulk of Internet traffic have remarkably stable BGP routes. The vast majority of BGP instability stems from a small number of unpopular destinations. We draw these conclusions from a joint analysis of BGP update messages and flow-level traffic measurements from AT&T's IP backbone. In addition, we analyze the routing stability of destination prefixes corresponding to the NetRating's list of popular Web sites using the update messages collected by the RouteViews and RIPE-NCC servers. Our results suggest that operators can engineer their networks under the assumption that the BGP advertisements associated with most of the traffic are reasonably stable.