Searching for stability in interdomain routing

Rahul Sami*, Michael Schapira, Aviv Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) handles the task of establishing routes between the Autonomous Systems (ASes) that make up the Internet. It is known that it is possible for a group of ASes to define local BGP policies that lead to global BGP protocol oscillations. We close a long standing open question by showing that, for any network, if two stable routing outcomes exist then persistent BGP route oscillations are possible. This is the first non-trivial necessary condition for BGP safety. It shows that BGP safety must always come at the price of severe restrictions on ASes' expressiveness in their choice of routing policies. The technical tools used in our proof may be helpful in the detection of potential route oscillations and their debugging. We also address the question of how long it takes BGP to converge to a stable routing outcome. We analyze a formal measure of the convergence time of BGP for the policy class defined by Gao and Rexford, which is said to accurately depict the business structure underlying the Internet. We prove that, even for this restricted class of preferences, the convergence time might be linear in the size of the network. However, we show a much more reasonable bound if the network structure is similar to the current Internet: we prove that the number of phases required for convergence is bounded by approximately twice the depth of the customer-provider hierarchy.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIEEE INFOCOM 2009 - The 28th Conference on Computer Communications
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2009
Event28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 19 Apr 200925 Apr 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009
CityRio de Janeiro


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