Technology - Internet - Volume 5 - Routing & Addressing Crisis

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Last updated: 27 May 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 108

Analyst: Robin Whittle

Publication Overview

This new Biennial Report covers the Routing and Addressing Problem (ROAP): Border Gateway Protocol, global BGP routing table, multihomed and transit routers in the Default Free Zone, exhaustion of fresh IPv4 address space, Provider Aggregatable (PA) and Provider Independent (PI) address space, Internet scaling problems, Internet Architecture Board Workshop on Routing and Addressing (RAWS), Regional Internet Registry (RIR) IPv6 end-user PI space allocation policy, Route Aggregation, improving IPv4 address space utilisation, Forwarding Information Base (FIB) technologies, Ternary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM), TCAM update time and power consumption problems, Tree-Bitmap Algorithm, Routing Information Base (RIB), BGP stability and convergence, path hunting, Minimum Route Advertisement Interval (MRAI) Timer, Flap Damping, Path Length Damping, Root Cause Notification, Ingress Tunnel Routers (ITRs), Egress Tunnel Routers (ETRs), LISP-NERD, LISP-CONS, eFIT-APT, Ivip, multihoming service restoration, ‘push’ and ‘pull’ approaches to mapping database distribution.


This handbook also contains discussion of:

  • Improvements to BGP.
  • Locator-ID separation and tunneling protocols.
  • Needs of ISPs and end-users requiring portability, multihoming and traffic engineering.
  • Tension between multihoming upstream diversity and route aggregation.
  • Comparison of IP-based tunneling locator-ID separation protocols.
  • Implications of IP-based solutions for security, packet overhead, Path MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) Discovery and packet fragmentation.
  • Reachability of from hosts in networks which have not adopted the new architecture.

Researcher:- Robin Whittle (1st Edition)


Executive Summary

IT systems cannot grow and expand forever. In the years to 2010, the Internet is reaching two important limits which are inherent in the current architecture. Firstly, the exhaustion of previously unused IPv4 address space, and secondly a set of inter-related scaling problems in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing system.

At a time when many users and investors expect Internet costs to continue their historical downwards trajectory while capacity and user numbers continue to grow, we examine the problems facing the Internet, the likely solutions and the likely costs and limitations of these solutions.

It is widely recognised that fresh IPv4 address space will become difficult or impossible to obtain around 2010, and that it is impractical for most users to adopt IPv6 – the second version of the TCP/IP protocols and addressing system with its essentially boundless 128 bit address space.

Debate continues on how current and new end-users will continue to satisfy their needs for address space in the next decade.

We review the needs of end-users and discuss in detail the scaling problems of individual routers and the BGP routing system as a whole. We then consider the role the current architecture plays in the relatively low rates of utilisation of IPV4 address space. While IPv4’s 3.7 billion addresses are a fundamental constraint, we consider how a new routing and addressing architecture could enable efficient use of these addresses than is possible with today’s techniques.

We discuss the major proposals for improving the BGP protocol and the current routing system. However, these are marginal improvements and are not a solution to the major problem of providing an ever-growing number of end-user organisations with portable address space, multihoming – using two or more ISPs to create a robust, reliable Internet connection – and Traffic Engineering, the ability to manage incoming packet flows over multiple links. Since the Internet’s inception, these have been achieved by directly using the BGP routing system. A new architecture is required so these goals can be achieved, for potentially millions of businesses and other organisations, without further burdening the BGP routing system.

We discuss the constraints on a new architectural solution, including complete backwards compatibility for computers in networks which have not adopted the new architecture, and the requirement that there be no changes to the operating systems or application programs of user’s desktop PCs, servers and mobile devices.

We explain and compare the four current proposals for achieving these goals: LISP-NERD, LISP-CONS, eFIT-APT and Internet Vastly Improved Plumbing (Ivip). These are all overlay systems, operating at the IP level. These involve upgrades to some routers but are intended to relieve the burden on the BGP system. These proposals are ‘Locator/Identifier Separation’ protocols, involving Ingress and Egress Tunnel Routers, with some broad similarities and important differences.

Finally, we consider some pervasive difficulties which are likely to result from any one of these new architectural approaches, including the longer headers of tunneled packets, the resulting inefficiencies for short packets (such as VoIP packets) and problems with maximum packet length and fragmentation for longer ones.

This handbook is intended for technical and management people who require insight into the future of Internet communications in the three to fifteen year timeframe. This is the only report extant on this important topic and is intended to support readers by providing fundamental understanding of the most important principles, in order to enable them to better plan their own product and service development, investment and regulatory activities.

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