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RFC 1771

                  A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)

1. Acknowledgements

   This document was originally published as RFC 1267 in October 1991,
   jointly authored by Kirk Lougheed (cisco Systems) and Yakov Rekhter
   (IBM).

   We would like to express our thanks to Guy Almes (ANS), Len Bosack
   (cisco Systems), and Jeffrey C. Honig (Cornell University) for their
   contributions to the earlier version of this document.

   We like to explicitly thank Bob Braden (ISI) for the review of the
   earlier version of this document as well as his constructive and
   valuable comments.

   We would also like to thank Bob Hinden, Director for Routing of the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group, and the team of reviewers he
   assembled to review the previous version (BGP-2) of this document.
   This team, consisting of Deborah Estrin, Milo Medin, John Moy, Radia
   Perlman, Martha Steenstrup, Mike St. Johns, and Paul Tsuchiya, acted
   with a strong combination of toughness, professionalism, and
   courtesy.






Rekhter & Li                                                    [Page 1]

RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 This updated version of the document is the product of the IETF IDR Working Group with Yakov Rekhter and Tony Li as editors. Certain sections of the document borrowed heavily from IDRP [7], which is the OSI counterpart of BGP. For this credit should be given to the ANSI X3S3.3 group chaired by Lyman Chapin (BBN) and to Charles Kunzinger (IBM Corp.) who was the IDRP editor within that group. We would also like to thank Mike Craren (Proteon, Inc.), Dimitry Haskin (Bay Networks, Inc.), John Krawczyk (Bay Networks, Inc.), and Paul Traina (cisco Systems) for their insightful comments. We would like to specially acknowledge numerous contributions by Dennis Ferguson (MCI). The work of Yakov Rekhter was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number NCR-9219216. 2. Introduction The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is an inter-Autonomous System routing protocol. It is built on experience gained with EGP as defined in RFC 904 [1] and EGP usage in the NSFNET Backbone as described in RFC 1092 [2] and RFC 1093 [3]. The primary function of a BGP speaking system is to exchange network reachability information with other BGP systems. This network reachability information includes information on the list of Autonomous Systems (ASs) that reachability information traverses. This information is sufficient to construct a graph of AS connectivity from which routing loops may be pruned and some policy decisions at the AS level may be enforced. BGP-4 provides a new set of mechanisms for supporting classless interdomain routing. These mechanisms include support for advertising an IP prefix and eliminates the concept of network "class" within BGP. BGP-4 also introduces mechanisms which allow aggregation of routes, including aggregation of AS paths. These changes provide support for the proposed supernetting scheme [8, 9]. To characterize the set of policy decisions that can be enforced using BGP, one must focus on the rule that a BGP speaker advertise to its peers (other BGP speakers which it communicates with) in neighboring ASs only those routes that it itself uses. This rule reflects the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm generally used throughout the current Internet. Note that some policies cannot be supported by the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm and thus require techniques such as source routing to enforce. For example, BGP does not enable one AS to send traffic to a neighboring AS intending that the traffic take a different route from that taken by traffic originating in the Rekhter & Li [Page 2]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 neighboring AS. On the other hand, BGP can support any policy conforming to the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm. Since the current Internet uses only the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm and since BGP can support any policy that conforms to that paradigm, BGP is highly applicable as an inter-AS routing protocol for the current Internet. A more complete discussion of what policies can and cannot be enforced with BGP is outside the scope of this document (but refer to the companion document discussing BGP usage [5]). BGP runs over a reliable transport protocol. This eliminates the need to implement explicit update fragmentation, retransmission, acknowledgement, and sequencing. Any authentication scheme used by the transport protocol may be used in addition to BGP's own authentication mechanisms. The error notification mechanism used in BGP assumes that the transport protocol supports a "graceful" close, i.e., that all outstanding data will be delivered before the connection is closed. BGP uses TCP [4] as its transport protocol. TCP meets BGP's transport requirements and is present in virtually all commercial routers and hosts. In the following descriptions the phrase "transport protocol connection" can be understood to refer to a TCP connection. BGP uses TCP port 179 for establishing its connections. This document uses the term `Autonomous System' (AS) throughout. The classic definition of an Autonomous System is a set of routers under a single technical administration, using an interior gateway protocol and common metrics to route packets within the AS, and using an exterior gateway protocol to route packets to other ASs. Since this classic definition was developed, it has become common for a single AS to use several interior gateway protocols and sometimes several sets of metrics within an AS. The use of the term Autonomous System here stresses the fact that, even when multiple IGPs and metrics are used, the administration of an AS appears to other ASs to have a single coherent interior routing plan and presents a consistent picture of what destinations are reachable through it. The planned use of BGP in the Internet environment, including such issues as topology, the interaction between BGP and IGPs, and the enforcement of routing policy rules is presented in a companion document [5]. This document is the first of a series of documents planned to explore various aspects of BGP application. Please send comments to the BGP mailing list (bgp@ans.net). Rekhter & Li [Page 3]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 3. Summary of Operation Two systems form a transport protocol connection between one another. They exchange messages to open and confirm the connection parameters. The initial data flow is the entire BGP routing table. Incremental updates are sent as the routing tables change. BGP does not require periodic refresh of the entire BGP routing table. Therefore, a BGP speaker must retain the current version of the entire BGP routing tables of all of its peers for the duration of the connection. KeepAlive messages are sent periodically to ensure the liveness of the connection. Notification messages are sent in response to errors or special conditions. If a connection encounters an error condition, a notification message is sent and the connection is closed. The hosts executing the Border Gateway Protocol need not be routers. A non-routing host could exchange routing information with routers via EGP or even an interior routing protocol. That non-routing host could then use BGP to exchange routing information with a border router in another Autonomous System. The implications and applications of this architecture are for further study. If a particular AS has multiple BGP speakers and is providing transit service for other ASs, then care must be taken to ensure a consistent view of routing within the AS. A consistent view of the interior routes of the AS is provided by the interior routing protocol. A consistent view of the routes exterior to the AS can be provided by having all BGP speakers within the AS maintain direct BGP connections with each other. Using a common set of policies, the BGP speakers arrive at an agreement as to which border routers will serve as exit/entry points for particular destinations outside the AS. This information is communicated to the AS's internal routers, possibly via the interior routing protocol. Care must be taken to ensure that the interior routers have all been updated with transit information before the BGP speakers announce to other ASs that transit service is being provided. Connections between BGP speakers of different ASs are referred to as "external" links. BGP connections between BGP speakers within the same AS are referred to as "internal" links. Similarly, a peer in a different AS is referred to as an external peer, while a peer in the same AS may be described as an internal peer. Rekhter & Li [Page 4]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 3.1 Routes: Advertisement and Storage For purposes of this protocol a route is defined as a unit of information that pairs a destination with the attributes of a path to that destination: - Routes are advertised between a pair of BGP speakers in UPDATE messages: the destination is the systems whose IP addresses are reported in the Network Layer Reachability Information (NLRI) field, and the the path is the information reported in the path attributes fields of the same UPDATE message. - Routes are stored in the Routing Information Bases (RIBs): namely, the Adj-RIBs-In, the Loc-RIB, and the Adj-RIBs-Out. Routes that will be advertised to other BGP speakers must be present in the Adj-RIB-Out; routes that will be used by the local BGP speaker must be present in the Loc-RIB, and the next hop for each of these routes must be present in the local BGP speaker's forwarding information base; and routes that are received from other BGP speakers are present in the Adj-RIBs-In. If a BGP speaker chooses to advertise the route, it may add to or modify the path attributes of the route before advertising it to a peer. BGP provides mechanisms by which a BGP speaker can inform its peer that a previously advertised route is no longer available for use. There are three methods by which a given BGP speaker can indicate that a route has been withdrawn from service: a) the IP prefix that expresses destinations for a previously advertised route can be advertised in the WITHDRAWN ROUTES field in the UPDATE message, thus marking the associated route as being no longer available for use b) a replacement route with the same Network Layer Reachability Information can be advertised, or c) the BGP speaker - BGP speaker connection can be closed, which implicitly removes from service all routes which the pair of speakers had advertised to each other. Rekhter & Li [Page 5]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 3.2 Routing Information Bases The Routing Information Base (RIB) within a BGP speaker consists of three distinct parts: a) Adj-RIBs-In: The Adj-RIBs-In store routing information that has been learned from inbound UPDATE messages. Their contents represent routes that are available as an input to the Decision Process. b) Loc-RIB: The Loc-RIB contains the local routing information that the BGP speaker has selected by applying its local policies to the routing information contained in its Adj-RIBs-In. c) Adj-RIBs-Out: The Adj-RIBs-Out store the information that the local BGP speaker has selected for advertisement to its peers. The routing information stored in the Adj-RIBs-Out will be carried in the local BGP speaker's UPDATE messages and advertised to its peers. In summary, the Adj-RIBs-In contain unprocessed routing information that has been advertised to the local BGP speaker by its peers; the Loc-RIB contains the routes that have been selected by the local BGP speaker's Decision Process; and the Adj-RIBs-Out organize the routes for advertisement to specific peers by means of the local speaker's UPDATE messages. Although the conceptual model distinguishes between Adj-RIBs-In, Loc-RIB, and Adj-RIBs-Out, this neither implies nor requires that an implementation must maintain three separate copies of the routing information. The choice of implementation (for example, 3 copies of the information vs 1 copy with pointers) is not constrained by the protocol. 4. Message Formats This section describes message formats used by BGP. Messages are sent over a reliable transport protocol connection. A message is processed only after it is entirely received. The maximum message size is 4096 octets. All implementations are required to support this maximum message size. The smallest message that may be sent consists of a BGP header without a data portion, or 19 octets. Rekhter & Li [Page 6]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 4.1 Message Header Format Each message has a fixed-size header. There may or may not be a data portion following the header, depending on the message type. The layout of these fields is shown below: 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | | + + | | + + | Marker | + + | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Length | Type | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Marker: This 16-octet field contains a value that the receiver of the message can predict. If the Type of the message is OPEN, or if the OPEN message carries no Authentication Information (as an Optional Parameter), then the Marker must be all ones. Otherwise, the value of the marker can be predicted by some a computation specified as part of the authentication mechanism (which is specified as part of the Authentication Information) used. The Marker can be used to detect loss of synchronization between a pair of BGP peers, and to authenticate incoming BGP messages. Length: This 2-octet unsigned integer indicates the total length of the message, including the header, in octets. Thus, e.g., it allows one to locate in the transport-level stream the (Marker field of the) next message. The value of the Length field must always be at least 19 and no greater than 4096, and may be further constrained, depending on the message type. No "padding" of extra data after the message is allowed, so the Length field must have the smallest value required given the rest of the message. Rekhter & Li [Page 7]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 Type: This 1-octet unsigned integer indicates the type code of the message. The following type codes are defined: 1 - OPEN 2 - UPDATE 3 - NOTIFICATION 4 - KEEPALIVE 4.2 OPEN Message Format After a transport protocol connection is established, the first message sent by each side is an OPEN message. If the OPEN message is acceptable, a KEEPALIVE message confirming the OPEN is sent back. Once the OPEN is confirmed, UPDATE, KEEPALIVE, and NOTIFICATION messages may be exchanged. In addition to the fixed-size BGP header, the OPEN message contains the following fields: 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Version | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | My Autonomous System | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Hold Time | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | BGP Identifier | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Opt Parm Len | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | | | Optional Parameters | | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Version: This 1-octet unsigned integer indicates the protocol version number of the message. The current BGP version number is 4. My Autonomous System: This 2-octet unsigned integer indicates the Autonomous System number of the sender. Rekhter & Li [Page 8]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 Hold Time: This 2-octet unsigned integer indicates the number of seconds that the sender proposes for the value of the Hold Timer. Upon receipt of an OPEN message, a BGP speaker MUST calculate the value of the Hold Timer by using the smaller of its configured Hold Time and the Hold Time received in the OPEN message. The Hold Time MUST be either zero or at least three seconds. An implementation may reject connections on the basis of the Hold Time. The calculated value indicates the maximum number of seconds that may elapse between the receipt of successive KEEPALIVE, and/or UPDATE messages by the sender. BGP Identifier: This 4-octet unsigned integer indicates the BGP Identifier of the sender. A given BGP speaker sets the value of its BGP Identifier to an IP address assigned to that BGP speaker. The value of the BGP Identifier is determined on startup and is the same for every local interface and every BGP peer. Optional Parameters Length: This 1-octet unsigned integer indicates the total length of the Optional Parameters field in octets. If the value of this field is zero, no Optional Parameters are present. Optional Parameters: This field may contain a list of optional parameters, where each parameter is encoded as a <Parameter Type, Parameter Length, Parameter Value> triplet. 0 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-... | Parm. Type | Parm. Length | Parameter Value (variable) +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-... Parameter Type is a one octet field that unambiguously identifies individual parameters. Parameter Length is a one octet field that contains the length of the Parameter Value field in octets. Parameter Value is a variable length field that is interpreted according to the value of the Parameter Type field. Rekhter & Li [Page 9]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 This document defines the following Optional Parameters: a) Authentication Information (Parameter Type 1): This optional parameter may be used to authenticate a BGP peer. The Parameter Value field contains a 1-octet Authentication Code followed by a variable length Authentication Data. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Auth. Code | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | | | Authentication Data | | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Authentication Code: This 1-octet unsigned integer indicates the authentication mechanism being used. Whenever an authentication mechanism is specified for use within BGP, three things must be included in the specification: - the value of the Authentication Code which indicates use of the mechanism, - the form and meaning of the Authentication Data, and - the algorithm for computing values of Marker fields. Note that a separate authentication mechanism may be used in establishing the transport level connection. Authentication Data: The form and meaning of this field is a variable- length field depend on the Authentication Code. The minimum length of the OPEN message is 29 octets (including message header). Rekhter & Li [Page 10]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 4.3 UPDATE Message Format UPDATE messages are used to transfer routing information between BGP peers. The information in the UPDATE packet can be used to construct a graph describing the relationships of the various Autonomous Systems. By applying rules to be discussed, routing information loops and some other anomalies may be detected and removed from inter-AS routing. An UPDATE message is used to advertise a single feasible route to a peer, or to withdraw multiple unfeasible routes from service (see 3.1). An UPDATE message may simultaneously advertise a feasible route and withdraw multiple unfeasible routes from service. The UPDATE message always includes the fixed-size BGP header, and can optionally include the other fields as shown below: +-----------------------------------------------------+ | Unfeasible Routes Length (2 octets) | +-----------------------------------------------------+ | Withdrawn Routes (variable) | +-----------------------------------------------------+ | Total Path Attribute Length (2 octets) | +-----------------------------------------------------+ | Path Attributes (variable) | +-----------------------------------------------------+ | Network Layer Reachability Information (variable) | +-----------------------------------------------------+ Unfeasible Routes Length: This 2-octets unsigned integer indicates the total length of the Withdrawn Routes field in octets. Its value must allow the length of the Network Layer Reachability Information field to be determined as specified below. A value of 0 indicates that no routes are being withdrawn from service, and that the WITHDRAWN ROUTES field is not present in this UPDATE message. Withdrawn Routes: This is a variable length field that contains a list of IP address prefixes for the routes that are being withdrawn from service. Each IP address prefix is encoded as a 2-tuple of the form <length, prefix>, whose fields are described below: Rekhter & Li [Page 11]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 +---------------------------+ | Length (1 octet) | +---------------------------+ | Prefix (variable) | +---------------------------+ The use and the meaning of these fields are as follows: a) Length: The Length field indicates the length in bits of the IP address prefix. A length of zero indicates a prefix that matches all IP addresses (with prefix, itself, of zero octets). b) Prefix: The Prefix field contains IP address prefixes followed by enough trailing bits to make the end of the field fall on an octet boundary. Note that the value of trailing bits is irrelevant. Total Path Attribute Length: This 2-octet unsigned integer indicates the total length of the Path Attributes field in octets. Its value must allow the length of the Network Layer Reachability field to be determined as specified below. A value of 0 indicates that no Network Layer Reachability Information field is present in this UPDATE message. Path Attributes: A variable length sequence of path attributes is present in every UPDATE. Each path attribute is a triple <attribute type, attribute length, attribute value> of variable length. Attribute Type is a two-octet field that consists of the Attribute Flags octet followed by the Attribute Type Code octet. 0 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Attr. Flags |Attr. Type Code| +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Rekhter & Li [Page 12]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The high-order bit (bit 0) of the Attribute Flags octet is the Optional bit. It defines whether the attribute is optional (if set to 1) or well-known (if set to 0). The second high-order bit (bit 1) of the Attribute Flags octet is the Transitive bit. It defines whether an optional attribute is transitive (if set to 1) or non-transitive (if set to 0). For well-known attributes, the Transitive bit must be set to 1. (See Section 5 for a discussion of transitive attributes.) The third high-order bit (bit 2) of the Attribute Flags octet is the Partial bit. It defines whether the information contained in the optional transitive attribute is partial (if set to 1) or complete (if set to 0). For well-known attributes and for optional non-transitive attributes the Partial bit must be set to 0. The fourth high-order bit (bit 3) of the Attribute Flags octet is the Extended Length bit. It defines whether the Attribute Length is one octet (if set to 0) or two octets (if set to 1). Extended Length may be used only if the length of the attribute value is greater than 255 octets. The lower-order four bits of the Attribute Flags octet are . unused. They must be zero (and must be ignored when received). The Attribute Type Code octet contains the Attribute Type Code. Currently defined Attribute Type Codes are discussed in Section 5 If the Extended Length bit of the Attribute Flags octet is set to 0, the third octet of the Path Attribute contains the length of the attribute data in octets. If the Extended Length bit of the Attribute Flags octet is set to 1, then the third and the fourth octets of the path attribute contain the length of the attribute data in octets. The remaining octets of the Path Attribute represent the attribute value and are interpreted according to the Attribute Flags and the Attribute Type Code. The supported Attribute Type Codes, their attribute values and uses are the following: Rekhter & Li [Page 13]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 a) ORIGIN (Type Code 1): ORIGIN is a well-known mandatory attribute that defines the origin of the path information. The data octet can assume the following values: Value Meaning 0 IGP - Network Layer Reachability Information is interior to the originating AS 1 EGP - Network Layer Reachability Information learned via EGP 2 INCOMPLETE - Network Layer Reachability Information learned by some other means Its usage is defined in 5.1.1 b) AS_PATH (Type Code 2): AS_PATH is a well-known mandatory attribute that is composed of a sequence of AS path segments. Each AS path segment is represented by a triple <path segment type, path segment length, path segment value>. Rekhter & Li [Page 14]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The path segment type is a 1-octet long field with the following values defined: Value Segment Type 1 AS_SET: unordered set of ASs a route in the UPDATE message has traversed 2 AS_SEQUENCE: ordered set of ASs a route in the UPDATE message has traversed The path segment length is a 1-octet long field containing the number of ASs in the path segment value field. The path segment value field contains one or more AS numbers, each encoded as a 2-octets long field. Usage of this attribute is defined in 5.1.2. c) NEXT_HOP (Type Code 3): This is a well-known mandatory attribute that defines the IP address of the border router that should be used as the next hop to the destinations listed in the Network Layer Reachability field of the UPDATE message. Usage of this attribute is defined in 5.1.3. d) MULTI_EXIT_DISC (Type Code 4): This is an optional non-transitive attribute that is a four octet non-negative integer. The value of this attribute may be used by a BGP speaker's decision process to discriminate among multiple exit points to a neighboring autonomous system. Its usage is defined in 5.1.4. e) LOCAL_PREF (Type Code 5): LOCAL_PREF is a well-known discretionary attribute that is a four octet non-negative integer. It is used by a BGP speaker to inform other BGP speakers in its own autonomous system of the originating speaker's degree of preference for an advertised route. Usage of this attribute is described in 5.1.5. Rekhter & Li [Page 15]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 f) ATOMIC_AGGREGATE (Type Code 6) ATOMIC_AGGREGATE is a well-known discretionary attribute of length 0. It is used by a BGP speaker to inform other BGP speakers that the local system selected a less specific route without selecting a more specific route which is included in it. Usage of this attribute is described in 5.1.6. g) AGGREGATOR (Type Code 7) AGGREGATOR is an optional transitive attribute of length 6. The attribute contains the last AS number that formed the aggregate route (encoded as 2 octets), followed by the IP address of the BGP speaker that formed the aggregate route (encoded as 4 octets). Usage of this attribute is described in 5.1.7 Network Layer Reachability Information: This variable length field contains a list of IP address prefixes. The length in octets of the Network Layer Reachability Information is not encoded explicitly, but can be calculated as: UPDATE message Length - 23 - Total Path Attributes Length - Unfeasible Routes Length where UPDATE message Length is the value encoded in the fixed- size BGP header, Total Path Attribute Length and Unfeasible Routes Length are the values encoded in the variable part of the UPDATE message, and 23 is a combined length of the fixed- size BGP header, the Total Path Attribute Length field and the Unfeasible Routes Length field. Reachability information is encoded as one or more 2-tuples of the form <length, prefix>, whose fields are described below: +---------------------------+ | Length (1 octet) | +---------------------------+ | Prefix (variable) | +---------------------------+ Rekhter & Li [Page 16]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The use and the meaning of these fields are as follows: a) Length: The Length field indicates the length in bits of the IP address prefix. A length of zero indicates a prefix that matches all IP addresses (with prefix, itself, of zero octets). b) Prefix: The Prefix field contains IP address prefixes followed by enough trailing bits to make the end of the field fall on an octet boundary. Note that the value of the trailing bits is irrelevant. The minimum length of the UPDATE message is 23 octets -- 19 octets for the fixed header + 2 octets for the Unfeasible Routes Length + 2 octets for the Total Path Attribute Length (the value of Unfeasible Routes Length is 0 and the value of Total Path Attribute Length is 0). An UPDATE message can advertise at most one route, which may be described by several path attributes. All path attributes contained in a given UPDATE messages apply to the destinations carried in the Network Layer Reachability Information field of the UPDATE message. An UPDATE message can list multiple routes to be withdrawn from service. Each such route is identified by its destination (expressed as an IP prefix), which unambiguously identifies the route in the context of the BGP speaker - BGP speaker connection to which it has been previously been advertised. An UPDATE message may advertise only routes to be withdrawn from service, in which case it will not include path attributes or Network Layer Reachability Information. Conversely, it may advertise only a feasible route, in which case the WITHDRAWN ROUTES field need not be present. 4.4 KEEPALIVE Message Format BGP does not use any transport protocol-based keep-alive mechanism to determine if peers are reachable. Instead, KEEPALIVE messages are exchanged between peers often enough as not to cause the Hold Timer to expire. A reasonable maximum time between KEEPALIVE messages would be one third of the Hold Time interval. KEEPALIVE messages MUST NOT be sent more frequently than one per second. An implementation MAY adjust the rate at which it sends KEEPALIVE Rekhter & Li [Page 17]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 messages as a function of the Hold Time interval. If the negotiated Hold Time interval is zero, then periodic KEEPALIVE messages MUST NOT be sent. KEEPALIVE message consists of only message header and has a length of 19 octets. 4.5 NOTIFICATION Message Format A NOTIFICATION message is sent when an error condition is detected. The BGP connection is closed immediately after sending it. In addition to the fixed-size BGP header, the NOTIFICATION message contains the following fields: 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ | Error code | Error subcode | Data | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ + | | +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Error Code: This 1-octet unsigned integer indicates the type of NOTIFICATION. The following Error Codes have been defined: Error Code Symbolic Name Reference 1 Message Header Error Section 6.1 2 OPEN Message Error Section 6.2 3 UPDATE Message Error Section 6.3 4 Hold Timer Expired Section 6.5 5 Finite State Machine Error Section 6.6 6 Cease Section 6.7 Error subcode: This 1-octet unsigned integer provides more specific information about the nature of the reported error. Each Error Code may have one or more Error Subcodes associated with it. Rekhter & Li [Page 18]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 If no appropriate Error Subcode is defined, then a zero (Unspecific) value is used for the Error Subcode field. Message Header Error subcodes: 1 - Connection Not Synchronized. 2 - Bad Message Length. 3 - Bad Message Type. OPEN Message Error subcodes: 1 - Unsupported Version Number. 2 - Bad Peer AS. 3 - Bad BGP Identifier. ' 4 - Unsupported Optional Parameter. 5 - Authentication Failure. 6 - Unacceptable Hold Time. UPDATE Message Error subcodes: 1 - Malformed Attribute List. 2 - Unrecognized Well-known Attribute. 3 - Missing Well-known Attribute. 4 - Attribute Flags Error. 5 - Attribute Length Error. 6 - Invalid ORIGIN Attribute 7 - AS Routing Loop. 8 - Invalid NEXT_HOP Attribute. 9 - Optional Attribute Error. 10 - Invalid Network Field. 11 - Malformed AS_PATH. Data: This variable-length field is used to diagnose the reason for the NOTIFICATION. The contents of the Data field depend upon the Error Code and Error Subcode. See Section 6 below for more details. Note that the length of the Data field can be determined from the message Length field by the formula: Message Length = 21 + Data Length The minimum length of the NOTIFICATION message is 21 octets (including message header). Rekhter & Li [Page 19]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 5. Path Attributes This section discusses the path attributes of the UPDATE message. Path attributes fall into four separate categories: 1. Well-known mandatory. 2. Well-known discretionary. 3. Optional transitive. 4. Optional non-transitive. Well-known attributes must be recognized by all BGP implementations. Some of these attributes are mandatory and must be included in every UPDATE message. Others are discretionary and may or may not be sent in a particular UPDATE message. All well-known attributes must be passed along (after proper updating, if necessary) to other BGP peers. In addition to well-known attributes, each path may contain one or more optional attributes. It is not required or expected that all BGP implementations support all optional attributes. The handling of an unrecognized optional attribute is determined by the setting of the Transitive bit in the attribute flags octet. Paths with unrecognized transitive optional attributes should be accepted. If a path with unrecognized transitive optional attribute is accepted and passed along to other BGP peers, then the unrecognized transitive optional attribute of that path must be passed along with the path to other BGP peers with the Partial bit in the Attribute Flags octet set to 1. If a path with recognized transitive optional attribute is accepted and passed along to other BGP peers and the Partial bit in the Attribute Flags octet is set to 1 by some previous AS, it is not set back to 0 by the current AS. Unrecognized non-transitive optional attributes must be quietly ignored and not passed along to other BGP peers. New transitive optional attributes may be attached to the path by the originator or by any other AS in the path. If they are not attached by the originator, the Partial bit in the Attribute Flags octet is set to 1. The rules for attaching new non-transitive optional attributes will depend on the nature of the specific attribute. The documentation of each new non-transitive optional attribute will be expected to include such rules. (The description of the MULTI_EXIT_DISC attribute gives an example.) All optional attributes (both transitive and non-transitive) may be updated (if appropriate) by ASs in the path. Rekhter & Li [Page 20]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 OpenConfirm (5) 1 none none 5 4 Release resources none 1 6 Release resources none 1 9 Restart KeepAlive timer KEEPALIVE 5 11 Complete initialization none 6 Restart Hold Timer 13 Close transport connection 1 Release resources others Close transport connection NOTIFICATION 1 Release resources Established (6) 1 none none 6 4 Release resources none 1 6 Release resources none 1 9 Restart KeepAlive timer KEEPALIVE 6 11 Restart Hold Timer KEEPALIVE 6 12 Process UPDATE is OK UPDATE 6 Process UPDATE failed NOTIFICATION 1 13 Close transport connection 1 Release resources others Close transport connection NOTIFICATION 1 Release resources --------------------------------------------------------------------- Rekhter & Li [Page 50]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The following is a condensed version of the above state transition table. Events| Idle | Connect | Active | OpenSent | OpenConfirm | Estab | (1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6) |-------------------------------------------------------------- 1 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | | | | | | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 3 | 1 | 4 | 4 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 4 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 5 | 1 | 3 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 6 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 7 | 1 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 8 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 9 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 5 | 6 | | | | | | 10 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 or 5 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | 11 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 6 | 6 | | | | | | 12 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 or 6 | | | | | | 13 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | | | | | --------------------------------------------------------------- Appendix 2. Comparison with RFC1267 BGP-4 is capable of operating in an environment where a set of reachable destinations may be expressed via a single IP prefix. The concept of network classes, or subnetting is foreign to BGP-4. To accommodate these capabilities BGP-4 changes semantics and encoding associated with the AS_PATH attribute. New text has been added to define semantics associated with IP prefixes. These abilities allow BGP-4 to support the proposed supernetting scheme [9]. To simplify configuration this version introduces a new attribute, LOCAL_PREF, that facilitates route selection procedures. Rekhter & Li [Page 51]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The INTER_AS_METRIC attribute has been renamed to be MULTI_EXIT_DISC. A new attribute, ATOMIC_AGGREGATE, has been introduced to insure that certain aggregates are not de-aggregated. Another new attribute, AGGREGATOR, can be added to aggregate routes in order to advertise which AS and which BGP speaker within that AS caused the aggregation. To insure that Hold Timers are symmetric, the Hold Time is now negotiated on a per-connection basis. Hold Times of zero are now supported. Appendix 3. Comparison with RFC 1163 All of the changes listed in Appendix 2, plus the following. To detect and recover from BGP connection collision, a new field (BGP Identifier) has been added to the OPEN message. New text (Section 6.8) has been added to specify the procedure for detecting and recovering from collision. The new document no longer restricts the border router that is passed in the NEXT_HOP path attribute to be part of the same Autonomous System as the BGP Speaker. New document optimizes and simplifies the exchange of the information about previously reachable routes. Appendix 4. Comparison with RFC 1105 All of the changes listed in Appendices 2 and 3, plus the following. Minor changes to the RFC1105 Finite State Machine were necessary to accommodate the TCP user interface provided by 4.3 BSD. The notion of Up/Down/Horizontal relations present in RFC1105 has been removed from the protocol. The changes in the message format from RFC1105 are as follows: 1. The Hold Time field has been removed from the BGP header and added to the OPEN message. 2. The version field has been removed from the BGP header and added to the OPEN message. 3. The Link Type field has been removed from the OPEN message. 4. The OPEN CONFIRM message has been eliminated and replaced with implicit confirmation provided by the KEEPALIVE message. Rekhter & Li [Page 52]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 5. The format of the UPDATE message has been changed significantly. New fields were added to the UPDATE message to support multiple path attributes. 6. The Marker field has been expanded and its role broadened to support authentication. Note that quite often BGP, as specified in RFC 1105, is referred to as BGP-1, BGP, as specified in RFC 1163, is referred to as BGP-2, BGP, as specified in RFC1267 is referred to as BGP-3, and BGP, as specified in this document is referred to as BGP-4. Appendix 5. TCP options that may be used with BGP If a local system TCP user interface supports TCP PUSH function, then each BGP message should be transmitted with PUSH flag set. Setting PUSH flag forces BGP messages to be transmitted promptly to the receiver. If a local system TCP user interface supports setting precedence for TCP connection, then the BGP transport connection should be opened with precedence set to Internetwork Control (110) value (see also [6]). Appendix 6. Implementation Recommendations This section presents some implementation recommendations. 6.1 Multiple Networks Per Message The BGP protocol allows for multiple address prefixes with the same AS path and next-hop gateway to be specified in one message. Making use of this capability is highly recommended. With one address prefix per message there is a substantial increase in overhead in the receiver. Not only does the system overhead increase due to the reception of multiple messages, but the overhead of scanning the routing table for updates to BGP peers and other routing protocols (and sending the associated messages) is incurred multiple times as well. One method of building messages containing many address prefixes per AS path and gateway from a routing table that is not organized per AS path is to build many messages as the routing table is scanned. As each address prefix is processed, a message for the associated AS path and gateway is allocated, if it does not exist, and the new address prefix is added to it. If such a message exists, the new address prefix is just appended to it. If the message lacks the space to hold the new address prefix, it is transmitted, a new message is allocated, and the new address prefix is inserted into the new message. When the entire routing table has been scanned, all Rekhter & Li [Page 53]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 allocated messages are sent and their resources released. Maximum compression is achieved when all the destinations covered by the address prefixes share a gateway and common path attributes, making it possible to send many address prefixes in one 4096-byte message. When peering with a BGP implementation that does not compress multiple address prefixes into one message, it may be necessary to take steps to reduce the overhead from the flood of data received when a peer is acquired or a significant network topology change occurs. One method of doing this is to limit the rate of updates. This will eliminate the redundant scanning of the routing table to provide flash updates for BGP peers and other routing protocols. A disadvantage of this approach is that it increases the propagation latency of routing information. By choosing a minimum flash update interval that is not much greater than the time it takes to process the multiple messages this latency should be minimized. A better method would be to read all received messages before sending updates. 6.2 Processing Messages on a Stream Protocol BGP uses TCP as a transport mechanism. Due to the stream nature of TCP, all the data for received messages does not necessarily arrive at the same time. This can make it difficult to process the data as messages, especially on systems such as BSD Unix where it is not possible to determine how much data has been received but not yet processed. One method that can be used in this situation is to first try to read just the message header. For the KEEPALIVE message type, this is a complete message; for other message types, the header should first be verified, in particular the total length. If all checks are successful, the specified length, minus the size of the message header is the amount of data left to read. An implementation that would "hang" the routing information process while trying to read from a peer could set up a message buffer (4096 bytes) per peer and fill it with data as available until a complete message has been received. 6.3 Reducing route flapping To avoid excessive route flapping a BGP speaker which needs to withdraw a destination and send an update about a more specific or less specific route shall combine them into the same UPDATE message. Rekhter & Li [Page 54]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 6.4 BGP Timers BGP employs five timers: ConnectRetry, Hold Time, KeepAlive, MinASOriginationInterval, and MinRouteAdvertisementInterval The suggested value for the ConnectRetry timer is 120 seconds. The suggested value for the Hold Time is 90 seconds. The suggested value for the KeepAlive timer is 30 seconds. The suggested value for the MinASOriginationInterval is 15 seconds. The suggested value for the MinRouteAdvertisementInterval is 30 seconds. An implementation of BGP MUST allow these timers to be configurable. 6.5 Path attribute ordering Implementations which combine update messages as described above in 6.1 may prefer to see all path attributes presented in a known order. This permits them to quickly identify sets of attributes from different update messages which are semantically identical. To facilitate this, it is a useful optimization to order the path attributes according to type code. This optimization is entirely optional. 6.6 AS_SET sorting Another useful optimization that can be done to simplify this situation is to sort the AS numbers found in an AS_SET. This optimization is entirely optional. 6.7 Control over version negotiation Since BGP-4 is capable of carrying aggregated routes which cannot be properly represented in BGP-3, an implementation which supports BGP-4 and another BGP version should provide the capability to only speak BGP-4 on a per-peer basis. 6.8 Complex AS_PATH aggregation An implementation which chooses to provide a path aggregation algorithm which retains significant amounts of path information may wish to use the following procedure: For the purpose of aggregating AS_PATH attributes of two routes, we model each AS as a tuple <type, value>, where "type" identifies a type of the path segment the AS belongs to (e.g. AS_SEQUENCE, AS_SET), and "value" is the AS number. Two ASs are said to be the same if their corresponding <type, value> tuples are the same. Rekhter & Li [Page 55]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 The algorithm to aggregate two AS_PATH attributes works as follows: a) Identify the same ASs (as defined above) within each AS_PATH attribute that are in the same relative order within both AS_PATH attributes. Two ASs, X and Y, are said to be in the same order if either: - X precedes Y in both AS_PATH attributes, or - Y precedes X in both AS_PATH attributes. b) The aggregated AS_PATH attribute consists of ASs identified in (a) in exactly the same order as they appear in the AS_PATH attributes to be aggregated. If two consecutive ASs identified in (a) do not immediately follow each other in both of the AS_PATH attributes to be aggregated, then the intervening ASs (ASs that are between the two consecutive ASs that are the same) in both attributes are combined into an AS_SET path segment that consists of the intervening ASs from both AS_PATH attributes; this segment is then placed in between the two consecutive ASs identified in (a) of the aggregated attribute. If two consecutive ASs identified in (a) immediately follow each other in one attribute, but do not follow in another, then the intervening ASs of the latter are combined into an AS_SET path segment; this segment is then placed in between the two consecutive ASs identified in (a) of the aggregated attribute. If as a result of the above procedure a given AS number appears more than once within the aggregated AS_PATH attribute, all, but the last instance (rightmost occurrence) of that AS number should be removed from the aggregated AS_PATH attribute. References [1] Mills, D., "Exterior Gateway Protocol Formal Specification", RFC 904, BBN, April 1984. [2] Rekhter, Y., "EGP and Policy Based Routing in the New NSFNET Backbone", RFC 1092, T.J. Watson Research Center, February 1989. [3] Braun, H-W., "The NSFNET Routing Architecture", RFC 1093, MERIT/NSFNET Project, February 1989. [4] Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol - DARPA Internet Program Protocol Specification", STD 7, RFC 793, DARPA, September 1981 Rekhter & Li [Page 56]
RFC 1771 BGP-4 March 1995 [5] Rekhter, Y., and P. Gross, "Application of the Border Gateway Protocol in the Internet", RFC 1772, T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corp., MCI, March 1995. [6] Postel, J., "Internet Protocol - DARPA Internet Program Protocol Specification", STD 5, RFC 791, DARPA, September 1981. [7] "Information Processing Systems - Telecommunications and Information Exchange between Systems - Protocol for Exchange of Inter-domain Routeing Information among Intermediate Systems to Support Forwarding of ISO 8473 PDUs", ISO/IEC IS10747, 1993 [8] Fuller, V., Li, T., Yu, J., and K. Varadhan, "Classless Inter- Domain Routing (CIDR): an Address Assignment and Aggregation Strategy", RFC 1519, BARRNet, cisco, MERIT, OARnet, September 1993 [9] Rekhter, Y., Li, T., "An Architecture for IP Address Allocation with CIDR", RFC 1518, T.J. Watson Research Center, cisco, September 1993



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