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Network Working Group G. Huston Request for Comments: 3765 Telstra Category: Informational April 2004

         NOPEER Community for Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
                        Route Scope Control

Status of this Memo

 This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
 not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
 memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

 Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.


 This document describes the use of a scope control Border Gateway
 Protocol (BGP) community.  This well-known advisory transitive
 community allows an origin AS to specify the extent to which a
 specific route should be externally propagated.  In particular this
 community, NOPEER, allows an origin AS to specify that a route with
 this attribute need not be advertised across bilateral peer

1. Introduction

 BGP today has a limited number of commonly defined mechanisms that
 allow a route to be propagated across some subset of the routing
 system.  The NOEXPORT community allows a BGP speaker to specify that
 redistribution should extend only to the neighbouring AS.  Providers
 commonly define a number of communities that allow their neighbours
 to specify how advertised routes should be re-advertised.  Current
 operational practice is that such communities are defined on as AS by
 AS basis, and while they allow an AS to influence the re-
 advertisement behaviour of routes passed from a neighbouring AS, they
 do not allow this scope definition ability to be passed in a
 transitive fashion to a remote AS.
 Advertisement scope specification is of most use in specifying the
 boundary conditions of route propagation.  The specification can take
 on a number of forms, including as AS transit hop count, a set of
 target ASs, the presence of a particular route object, or a
 particular characteristic of the inter-AS connection.

Huston Informational [Page 1] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

 There are a number of motivations for controlling the scope of
 advertisement of route prefixes, including support of limited transit
 services where advertisements are restricted to certain transit
 providers, and various forms of selective transit in a multi-homed
 This memo does not attempt to address all such motivations of scope
 control, and addresses in particular the situation of both multi-
 homing and traffic engineering.  The commonly adopted operational
 technique is that the originating AS advertises an encompassing
 aggregate route to all multi-home neighbours, and also selectively
 advertises a collection of more specific routes.  This implements a
 form of destination-based traffic engineering with some level of fail
 over protection.  The more specific routes typically cease to lever
 any useful traffic engineering outcome beyond a certain radius of
 redistribution, and a means of advising that such routes need not to
 be distributed beyond such a point is of some value in moderating one
 of the factors of continued route table growth.
 Analysis of the BGP routing tables reveals a significant use of the
 technique of advertising more specific prefixes in addition to
 advertising a covering aggregate.  In an effort to ameliorate some of
 the effects of this practice, in terms of overall growth of the BGP
 routing tables in the Internet and the associated burden of global
 propagation of dynamic changes in the reachability of such more
 specific address prefixes, this memo describes the use of a
 transitive BGP route attribute that allows more specific route tables
 entries to be discarded from the BGP tables under appropriate
 conditions.  Specifically, this attribute, NOPEER, allows a remote AS
 not to advertise a route object to a neighbour AS when the two AS's
 are interconnected under the conditions of some form of sender keep
 all arrangement, as distinct from some form of provider / customer

2. NOPEER Attribute

 This memo defines the use a new well-known bgp transitive community,
 The semantics of this attribute is to allow an AS to interpret the
 presence of this community as an advisory qualification to
 readvertisement of a route prefix, permitting an AS not to
 readvertise the route prefix to all external bilateral peer neighbour
 AS's.  It is consistent with these semantics that an AS may filter
 received prefixes that are received across a peering session that the
 receiver regards as a bilateral peer sessions.

Huston Informational [Page 2] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

3. Motivation

 The size of the BGP routing table has been increasing at an
 accelerating rate since late 1998.  At the time of publication of
 this memo the BGP forwarding table contains over 118,000 entries, and
 the three year growth rate of this table shows a trend rate which can
 be correlated to a compound growth rate of no less than 10% per year
 One of the aspects of the current BGP routing table is the widespread
 use of the technique of advertising both an aggregate and a number of
 more specific address prefixes.  For example, the table may contain a
 routing entry for the prefix and also contain entries for
 the prefixes and  In this example the
 specific routes fully cover the aggregate announcement.  Sparse
 coverage of aggregates with more specifics is also observed, where,
 for example, routing entries for and both
 exist in the routing table.  In total, these more specific route
 entries occupy some 51% of the routing table, so that more than one
 half of the routing table does not add additional address
 reachability information into the routing system, but instead is used
 to impose a finer level of detail on existing reachability
 There are a number of motivations for having both an aggregate route
 and a number of more specific routes in the routing table, including
 various forms of multi-homed configurations, where there is a
 requirement to specify a different reachability policy for a part of
 the advertised address space.
 One of the observed common requirements in the multi-homed network
 configuration is that of undertaking some form of load balancing of
 incoming traffic across a number of external connections to a number
 of different neighbouring ASs.  If, for example, an AS wishes to use
 a multi-homed configuration for routing-based load balancing and some
 form of mutual fail over between the multiple access connections for
 incoming traffic, then one approach is for the AS to advertise the
 same aggregate address prefix to a number of its upstream transit
 providers, and then advertise a number of more specifics to
 individual upstream providers.  In such a case all of the traffic
 destined to the more specific address prefixes will be received only
 over those connections where the more specific has been advertised.
 If the neighbour BGP peering session of the more specific
 advertisement fails, the more specific will cease to be announced and
 incoming traffic will then be passed to the originating network based
 on the path associated with the advertisement of the encompassing
 aggregate.  In this situation the more specific routes are not
 automatically subsumed by the presence of the aggregate at any remote

Huston Informational [Page 3] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

 AS.  Both the aggregate and the associated more specific routes are
 redistributed across the entire external BGP routing domain.  In many
 cases, particularly those associated with desire to undertake traffic
 engineering and service resilience, the more specific routes are
 redistributed well beyond the scope where there is any outcomes in
 terms of traffic differentiation.
 To the extent that remote analysis of BGP tables can observe this
 form of configuration, the number of entries in the BGP forwarding
 table where more specific entries share a common origin AS with their
 immediately enclosing aggregates comprise some 20% of the total
 number of FIB entries.  Using a slightly stricter criteria where the
 AS path of the more specific route matches the immediately enclosing
 aggregate, the number of more specific routes comprises some 14% of
 the number of FIB entries.
 One protocol mechanism that could be useful in this context is to
 allow the originator of an advertisement to state some additional
 qualification on the redistribution of the advertisement, allowing a
 remote AS to suppress further redistribution under some originator-
 specified criteria.
 The redistribution qualification condition can be specified either by
 enumeration or by classification.  Enumeration would encompass the
 use of a well-known transitive extended community to specify a list
 of remote AS's where further redistribution is not advised.  The
 weakness of this approach is that the originating AS would need to
 constantly revise this enumerated AS list to reflect the changes in
 inter-AS topology, as, otherwise, the more specific routes would leak
 beyond the intended redistribution scope.  An approach of
 classification allows an originating AS to specify the conditions
 where further redistribution is not advised without having to refer
 to the particular AS's where a match to such conditions are
 The approach described here to specifying the redistribution boundary
 condition is one based on the type of bilateral inter-AS peering.
 Where one AS can be considered as a customer, and the other AS can be
 considered as a contracted agent of the customer, or provider, then
 the relationship is one where the provider, as an agent of the
 customer, carries the routes and associated policy associated with
 the routes.  Where neither AS can be considered as a customer of the
 other, then the relationship is one of bilateral peering, and neither
 AS can be considered as an agent of the other in redistributing
 policies associated with routes.  This latter arrangement is commonly
 referred to as a "sender keep all peer" relationship, or "peering".

Huston Informational [Page 4] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

 This peer boundary can be regarded as a logical point where the
 redistribution of additional reachability policy imposed by the
 origin AS on a route is no longer an imposed requirement.
 This approach allows an originator of a prefix to attach a commonly
 defined policy to a route prefix, indicate that a route should be
 re-advertised conditionally, based on the characteristics of the
 inter-AS connection.

4. IANA Considerations

 The IANA has registered NOPEER as a well-known community, as defined
 in [1], as having global significance.
 This is an advisory qualification to readvertisement of a route
 prefix, permitting an AS not to readvertise the route prefix to all
 external bilateral peer neighbour AS's.  It is consistent with these
 semantics that an AS may filter received prefixes that are received
 across a peering session that the receiver regards as a bilateral
 peer sessions

5. Security Considerations

 BGP is an instance of a relaying protocol, where route information is
 received, processed and forwarded.  BGP contains no specific
 mechanisms to prevent the unauthorized modification of the
 information by a forwarding agent, allowing routing information to be
 modified, deleted or false information to be inserted without the
 knowledge of the originator of the routing information or any of the
 The NOPEER community does not alter this overall situation concerning
 the integrity of BGP as a routing system.
 Use of the NOPEER community has the capability to introduce
 additional attack mechanisms into BGP by allowing the potential for
 man-in-the-middle, session-hijacking, or denial of service attacks
 for an address prefix range being launched by a remote AS.
 Unauthorized addition of this community to a route prefix by a
 transit provider where there is no covering aggregate route prefix
 may cause a denial of service attack based on denial of reachability
 to the prefix.  Even in the case that there is a covering aggregate,
 if the more specific route has a different origin AS than the

Huston Informational [Page 5] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

 aggregate, the addition of this community by a transit AS may cause a
 denial of service attack on the origin AS of the more specific
 BGP is already vulnerable to a denial of service attack based on the
 injection of false routing information.  It is possible to use this
 community to limit the redistribution of a false route entry such
 that its visibility can be limited and detection and rectification of
 the problem can be more difficult under the circumstances of limited

6. References

6.1. Normative References

 [1] Chandrasekeran, R., Traina, P. and T. Li, "BGP Communities
     Attribute", RFC 1997, August 1996.

6.2. Informative References

 [2] Huston, G., "Commentary on Inter-Domain Routing in the Internet",
     RFC 3221, December 2001.

7. Author's Address

 Geoff Huston

Huston Informational [Page 6] RFC 3765 NOPEER April 2004

8. Full Copyright Statement

 Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  This document is subject
 to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78 and
 except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.
 This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

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Huston Informational [Page 7]

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