A model of BGP routing for network engineering

  • Authors:
  • Nick Feamster;Jared Winick;Jennifer Rexford

  • Affiliations:
  • MIT Computer Science & AI Lab;Lockheed Martin;AT&T Labs--Research

  • Venue:
  • Proceedings of the joint international conference on Measurement and modeling of computer systems
  • Year:
  • 2004

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The performance of IP networks depends on a wide variety of dynamic conditions. Traffic shifts, equipment failures, planned maintenance, and topology changes in other parts of the Internet can all degrade performance. To maintain good performance, network operators must continually reconfigure the routing protocols. Operators configure BGP to control how traffic flows to neighboring Autonomous Systems (ASes), as well as how traffic traverses their networks. However, because BGP route selection is distributed, indirectly controlled by configurable policies, and influenced by complex interactions with intradomain routing protocols, operators cannot predict how a particular BGP configuration would behave in practice. To avoid inadvertently degrading network performance, operators need to evaluate the effects of configuration changes before deploying them on a live network. We propose an algorithm that computes the outcome of the BGP route selection process for each router in a single AS, given only a static snapshot of the network state, without simulating the complex details of BGP message passing. We describe a BGP emulator based on this algorithm; the emulator exploits the unique characteristics of routing data to reduce computational overhead. Using data from a large ISP, we show that the emulator correctly computes BGP routing decisions and has a running time that is acceptable for many tasks, such as traffic engineering and capacity planning.