My book: 'Running IPv6' by Iljitsch van Beijnum BGPexpert My book: 'BGP' by Iljitsch van Beijnum

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If you could use some help with BGP, have a look at my business web site: inet6consult.com.

BGP routing courses

Several times a year I teach a hands-on BGP training course in association with NL-ix. The course consists of a theory part in the morning and a practical part in the afternoon where the participants implement several assignments on a Cisco router or a VM running the Quagga routing software.

The next dates are:

  • Friday, 20 March 2020
  • Friday, 26 June 2020
  • Friday, 9 October 2020
Go to the NL-ix website for more information and to sign up. The location will be The Hague, Netherlands.

Interdomain Routing & IPv6 News

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  • RPKI tools and deployment (posted 2020-05-04)

    Recently, Cloudflare launched Is BGP safe yet?. And they immediately answer their own question: No.

    What they're getting at is RPKI deployment. RPKI is a mechanism that lets the owner of a block of IP addresses specify which network gets to use those addresses. (Which AS gets to originate a prefix, in BGP speak.) RPKI protects to some forms of (mostly accidental) address hijacking. But for RPKI to work, the address owner needs to publish a "route origination authorization" (ROA) and networks around the globe need to filter based on these ROAs.

    Five years ago, I wrote that RPKI is ready for real-world deployment. So where are we now? The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a very nice RPKI deployment monitor, showing the following graph:

    So globally, for just about 20% of all prefixes (address blocks) RPKI checks out (valid). For a little less than a percent, the way the address block is routed is not in agreement with the ROA (invalid). For the remaining nearly 80% of prefixes, no ROA is published (not-found). However, these numbers are different in various parts of the world:

    These numbers show how many address owners are publishing ROAs. This is very easy to do. Here in the RIPE region, it's just a few clicks in the LIR portal. The harder part is filtering based on RPKI. For this you need validator software, for which there are now several choices, and then you need to hook up the validator to your routers, explained here for Cisco and here for Juniper.

    For some time, I feared networks would hesitate to filter out prefixes with the RPKI state "invalid", because there's still several thousand prefixes that are invalid. However, it now looks like there are enough big networks doing this that the onus of working around the resulting breakage is correctly put on the address owners / networks that cause the "invalid" state rather than the networks doing the filtering.

    Is BGP safe yet? as well as a RIPE labs RPKI test tell you if your ISP is filtering RPKI invalid prefixes, with Cloudflare also naming and shaming the big ones that don't.

    The RPKI Observatory has a list of prefixes that have the RPKI invalid state and are therefore unreachable with RPKI filtering enabled. The Route Views collector now also has RPKI, letting you check the state of individual prefixes (telnet route-views.oregon-ix.net). Or use the NLNOG RING looking glass.

  • → BGP – the right tool for so many jobs (posted 2020-03-23)

    This is a post that I wrote for the Noction blog:

    Like other very successful protocols such as HTTP and DNS, over the years BGP has been given more and more additional jobs to do. In this blog post, we’ll look at the new functionality and new use cases that have been added to BGP over the years. These include various uses of BGP in enterprise networks and data centers.

    Recently, I've been looking a bit at BGP in datacenters, and it's really interesting to see how BGP is used in such different ways than it is for global inter-domain routing.

    Read the whole article

  • BGP hands-on training courses in 2020 (posted 2020-02-12)

    • Friday 20 March, NL-ix offices The Hague has been postponed/canceled
    • Friday 26 June, NL-ix offices The Hague (sign up here)
    • Friday 9 October, NL-ix offices The Hague (sign up here)

  • Winner doesn't take all: IPv6 is now a success, even at 25% deployment (posted 2020-01-23)

    We shouldn't gauge the success of IPv6 by looking at how much IPv6 replaces IPv4, but by how much IPv6 complements IPv4. And it's already doing that quite well today by making IPv4aaS (IPv4 as a service) possible. And IPv4aaS will make ISPs require IPv6 when peering with streaming services and other big content providers.

    Read the whole article

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My Books: "BGP" and "Running IPv6"

On this page you can find more information about my book "BGP". Or you can jump immediately to chapter 6, "Traffic Engineering", (approx. 150kB) that O'Reilly has put online as a sample chapter. Information about the Japanese translation can be found here.

More information about my second book, "Running IPv6", is available here.

BGP Security

BGP has some security holes. This sounds very bad, and of course it isn't good, but don't be overly alarmed. There are basically two problems: sessions can be hijacked, and it is possible to inject incorrect information into the BGP tables for someone who can either hijack a session or someone who has a legitimate BGP session.

Session hijacking is hard to do for someone who can't see the TCP sequence number for the TCP session the BGP protocol runs over, and if there are good anti-spoofing filters it is even impossible. And of course using the TCP MD5 password option (RFC 2385) makes all of this nearly impossible even for someone who can sniff the BGP traffic.

Nearly all ISPs filter BGP information from customers, so in most cases it isn't possible to successfully inject false information. However, filtering on peering sessions between ISPs isn't as widespread, although some networks do this. A rogue ISP could do some real damage here.

There are now two efforts underway to better secure BGP:

  • Secure BGP (S-BGP) is developed by Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN). It has been around for several years and there is a proof-of-concept implementation. S-BGP tries to secure all aspects of the BGP protocol, and subsequently needs several signature checks for each BGP update, making the protocol relatively heavy-weight. You can see my earlier rants on S-BGP at the top of this page. Note that I'm not as anti-S-BGP as I used to be any more, although I still think implementing the protocol will be expensive because routers will need lots of extra memory (up to four times as much) and CPU power (possibly dedicated crypto hardware) and this aspect deserves some serious attention.

    Secure BGP (S-BGP) index at BBN.

  • Secure Origin BGP (soBGP) has surfaced fairly recently and hails from Cisco. There are no implementations so far. soBGP mainly focusses on securing the relationship between prefixes and the source AS number, and doesn't need as many computationally expensive checks as S-BGP. However, the protocol can easily be expanded to perform more checks.

    draft-ng-sobgp-bgp-extensions-00.txt (main soBGP draft)
    draft-white-sobgp-bgp-extensions-00.txt (deployment considerations)

    (If the links don't work, the drafts have expired; you'll have to use a search engine to find them.)

There is now also a different approach to increasing BGP security using an "Interdomain Routing Validation" service that works independent from the BGP protocol itself. See what I wrote about this in interdomain routing news on this site, or jump immediately to the Working Around BGP: An Incremental Approach to Improving Security and Accuracy of Interdomain Routing paper.

The IETF RPSEC (routing protocol security) working group is active in this area.

What is BGPexpert.com?

BGPexpert.com is a website dedicated to Internet routing issues. What we want is for packets to find their way from one end of the globe to another, and make the jobs of the people that make this happen a little easier.

Your host is Iljitsch van Beijnum. Feedback, comments, link requests... everything is welcome. You can read more about me here or email me at iljitsch@bgpexpert. or follow iljitsch on Twitter.

Ok, but what is BGP?

Have a look at the "what is BGP" page. There is also a list of BGP and interdomain routing terms on this page.

BGP and Multihoming

If you are not an ISP, your main reason to be interested in BGP will probably be to multihome. By connecting to two or more ISPs at the same time, you are "multihomed" and you no longer have to depend on a single ISP for your network connectivity.

This sounds simple enough, but as always, there is a catch. For regular customers, it's the Internet Service Provider who makes sure the rest of the Internet knows where packets have to be sent to reach their customer. If you are multihomed, you can't let your ISP do this, because then you would have to depend on a single ISP again. This is where the BGP protocol comes in: this is the protocol used to carry this information from ISP to ISP. By announcing reachability information for your network to two ISPs, you can make sure everybody still knows how to reach you if one of those ISPs has an outage.

Want to know more? Read A Look at Multihoming and BGP, an article about multihoming I wrote for the O'Reilly Network.

For those of you interested in multihoming in IPv6 (which is pretty much impossible at the moment), have a look at the "IPv6 multihoming solutions" page.

Are you a BGP expert? Take the test to find out!

These questions are somewhat Cisco-centric. We now also have another set of questions and answers for self-study purposes.

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