[Docs] [txt|pdf] [Tracker] [Email] [Diff1] [Diff2] [Nits]

Versions: 01 RFC 2260

INTERNET DRAFT          EXPIRES JUNE 1998       INTERNET DRAFT

Network Working Group                                         Tony Bates
Internet Draft                                             Cisco Systems
Expiration Date: June 1998                                 Yakov Rekhter
                                                           Cisco Systems


      Scalable support for multi-homed multi-provider connectivity
              <draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt>


1. Status of this Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also
distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
documents at any time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-
Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as
"work in progress."

To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check
the "1id-abstracts.txt" listing contained in the Internet-
Drafts Shadow Directories on ftp.is.co.za (Africa),
ftp.nordu.net (Europe), munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim),
ds.internic.net (US East Coast), or ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).

Distribution of this document is unlimited.



2. Abstract

   This document describes addressing and routing strategies for multi-
   homed enterprises attached to multiple Internet Service Providers
   (ISPs) that are intended to reduce the routing overhead due to these
   enterprises in the global Internet routing system.
















Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 1]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


3. Motivations

   An enterprise may acquire its Internet connectivity from more than
   one Internet Service Provider (ISP) for some of the following rea-
   sons.  Maintaining connectivity via more than one ISP could be viewed
   as a way to make connectivity to the Internet more reliable. This way
   when connectivity through one of the ISPs fails, connectivity via the
   other ISP(s) would enable the enterprise to preserve its connectivity
   to the Internet. In addition to providing more reliable connectivity,
   maintaining connectivity via more than one ISP could also allow the
   enterprise to distribute load among multiple connections. For enter-
   prises that span wide geographical area this could also enable better
   (more optimal) routing.

   The above considerations, combined with the decreasing prices for the
   Internet connectivity, motivate more and more enterprises to become
   multi-homed to multiple ISPs. At the same time, the routing overhead
   that such enterprises impose on the Internet routing system becomes
   more and more significant. Scaling the Internet, and  being able to
   support a growing number of such enterprises demands mechanism(s) to
   contain this overhead. This document assumes that an approach where
   routers in the "default-free" zone of the Internet would be required
   to maintain a route for every multi-homed enterprise that is con-
   nected to multiple ISPs does not provide an adequate scaling. More-
   over, given the nature of the Internet, this document assumes that
   any approach to handle routing for such enterprises should minimize
   the amount of coordination among ISPs, and especially the ISPs that
   are not directly connected to these enterprises.

   There is a difference of opinions on whether the driving factors
   behind multi-homing to multiple ISPs could be adequately addressed by
   multi-homing just to a single ISP, which would in turn eliminate the
   negative impact of multi-homing on the Internet routing system.  Dis-
   cussion of this topic is beyond the scope of this document.

   The focus of this document is on the routing and addressing strate-
   gies that could reduce the routing overhead due to multi-homed enter-
   prises connected to multiple ISPs in the Internet routing system.

   The strategies described in this document are equally applicable to
   both IPv4 and IPv6.










Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 2]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


4. Address allocation and assignment

   A multi-homed enterprise connected to a set of ISPs would be allo-
   cated a block of addresses (address prefix) by each of these ISPs (an
   enterprise connected to N ISPs would get N different blocks).  The
   address allocation from the ISPs to the enterprise would be based on
   the "address-lending" policy [RFC2008]. The allocated addresses then
   would be used for address assignment within the enterprise.

   One possible address assignment plan that the enterprise could employ
   is to use the topological proximity of a node (host) to a particular
   ISP (to the interconnect between the enterprise and the ISP) as a
   criteria for selecting which of the address prefixes to use for
   address assignment to the node. A particular node (host) may be
   assigned address(es) out of a single prefix, or may have addresses
   from different prefixes.


5. Routing information exchange

   The issue of routing information exchange between an enterprise and
   its ISPs is decomposed into the following components:

      a) reachability information that an enterprise border router
      advertises to a border router within an ISP

      b) reachability information that a border router within an ISP
      advertises to an enterprise border router


   The primary focus of this document is on (a); (b) is covered only as
   needed by this document.


5.1. Advertising reachability information by enterprise border routers

   When an enterprise border router connected to a particular ISP deter-
   mines that the connectivity between the enterprise and the Internet
   is up through all of its ISPs, the router advertises (to the border
   router of that ISP) reachability to only the address prefix that the
   ISP allocated to the enterprise. This way in a steady state routes
   injected by the enterprise into its ISPs are aggregated by these
   ISPs, and are not propagated into the "default-free" zone of the
   Internet.

   When an enterprise border router connected to a particular ISP deter-
   mines that the connectivity between the enterprise and the Internet
   through one or more of its other ISPs is down, the router starts



Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 3]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


   advertising reachability to the address prefixes that was allocated
   by these ISPs to the enterprise. This would result in injecting addi-
   tional routing information into the "default-free" zone of the Inter-
   net. However, one could observe that the probability of all multi-
   homed enterprises in the Internet concurrently losing connectivity to
   the Internet through one or more of their ISPs is fairly small.  Thus
   on average the number of additional routes in the "default-free" zone
   of the Internet due to multi-homed enterprises is expected to be a
   small fraction of the total number of such enterprises.

   The approach described above is predicated on the assumption that an
   enterprise border router has a mechanism(s) by which it could deter-
   mine (a) whether the connectivity to the Internet through some other
   border router of that enterprise is up or down, and (b) the address
   prefix that was allocated to the enterprise by the ISP connected to
   the other border router. One such possible mechanism could be pro-
   vided by BGP [BGP]. In this case border routers within the enterprise
   would have an IBGP peering with each other. Whenever one border
   router determines that the intersection between the set of reachable
   destinations it receives via its EBGP (from its directly connected
   ISP) peerings and the set of reachable destinations it receives from
   another border router (in the same enterprise) via IBGP is empty, the
   border router would start advertising to its external peer reachabil-
   ity to the address prefix that was allocated to the enterprise by the
   ISP connected to the other border router. The other border router
   would advertise (via IBGP) the address prefix that was allocated to
   the enterprise by the ISP connected to that router. This approach is
   known as "auto route injection".

   As an illustration consider an enterprise connected to two ISPs, ISP-
   A and ISP-B. Denote the enterprise border router that connects the
   enterprise to ISP-A as BR-A; denote the enterprise border router that
   connects the enterprise to ISP-B as BR-B. Denote the address prefix
   that ISP-A allocated to the enterprise as Pref-A; denote the address
   prefix that ISP-B allocated to the enterprise as Pref-B.  When the
   set of routes BR-A receives from ISP-A (via EBGP) has a non-empty
   intersection with the set of routes BR-A receives from BR-B (via
   IBGP), BR-A advertises to ISP-A only the reachability to Pref-A.
   When the intersection becomes empty, BR-A would advertise to ISP-A
   reachability to both Pref-A and Pref-B. This would continue for as
   long as the intersection remains empty. Once the intersection becomes
   non-empty, BR-A would stop advertising reachability to Pref-B to ISP-
   A (but would still continue to advertise reachability to Pref-A to
   ISP-A). Figure 1 below describes this method graphically.







Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 4]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


        +-------+    +-------+         +-------+    +-------+
        (       )    (       )         (       )    (       )
        ( ISP-A )    ( ISP-B )         ( ISP-A )    ( ISP-B )
        (       )    (       )         (       )    (       )
        +-------+    +-------+         +-------+    +-------+
            |   /\       |   /\            |   /\       |
            |   ||       |   ||            | Pref-A  (connection
            | Pref-A     | Pref-B          | Pref-B    broken)
            |   ||       |   ||            |   ||       |
         +-----+      +-----+           +-----+      +-----+
         | BR-A|------|BR-B |           | BR-A|------|BR-B |
         +-----+ IBGP +-----+           +-----+ IBGP +-----+

          non-empty intersection         empty intersection


             Figure 1: Reachability information advertised

   Although strictly an implementation detail, calculating the intersec-
   tion could potentially be a costly operation for a large set of
   routes. An alternate solution to this is to make use of a selected
   single (or more) address prefix received from an ISP (the ISP's back-
   bone route for example) and configure the enterprise border router to
   perform auto route injection if the selected prefix is not present
   via IBGP. Let's suppose ISP-B has a well known address prefix, ISP-
   Pref-B for its backbone. ISP-B advertises this to BR-B and BR-B in
   turn advertises this via IBGP to BR-A. If BR-A sees a withdraw for
   ISP-Pref-B it advertises Pref-B to ISP-A.

   The approach described in this section may produce less than the full
   Internet-wide connectivity in the presence of ISPs that filter out
   routes based on the length of their address prefixes. One could
   observe however, that this would be a problem regardless of how the
   enterprise would set up its routing and addressing.



5.2. Further improvements

   The approach described in the previous section allows to signifi-
   cantly reduce the routing overhead in the "default-free" zone of the
   Internet due to multi-homed enterprises. The approach described in
   this section allows to completely eliminate this overhead.

   An enterprise border router would maintain EBGP peering not just with
   the directly connected border router of an ISP, but with the border
   router(s) in one or more ISPs that have their border routers directly
   connected to the other border routers within the enterprise.  We



Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 5]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


   refer to such peering as "non-direct" EBGP.

   An ISP that maintains both direct and non-direct EBGP peering with a
   particular enterprise would advertise the same set of routes over
   both of these peerings. An enterprise border router that maintains
   either direct or non-direct peering with an ISP advertises to that
   ISP reachability to the address prefix that was allocated by that ISP
   to the enterprise.  Within the ISP routes received over direct peer-
   ing should be preferred over routes received over non-direct peering.
   Likewise, within the enterprise routes received over direct peering
   should be preferred over routes received over non-direct peering.

   Forwarding along a route received over non-direct peering should be
   accomplished via encapsulation [GRE].

   As an illustration consider an enterprise connected to two ISPs, ISP-
   A and ISP-B. Denote the enterprise border router that connects the
   enterprise to ISP-A as E-BR-A, and the ISP-A border router that is
   connected to E-BR-A as ISP-BR-A;  denote the enterprise border router
   that connects the enterprise to ISP-B as E-BR-B, and the ISP-B border
   router that is connected to E-BR-B as ISP-BR-B. Denote the address
   prefix that ISP-A allocated to the enterprise as Pref-A; denote the
   address prefix that ISP-B allocated to the enterprise as Pref-B. E-
   BR-A maintains direct EBGP peering with ISP-BR-A and advertises
   reachability to Pref-A over that peering. E-BR-A also maintain a non-
   direct EBGP peering with ISP-BR-B and advertises reachability to
   Pref-B over that peering. E-BR-B maintains direct EBGP peering with
   ISP-BR-B, and advertises reachability to Pref-B over that peering.
   E-BR-B also maintains a non-direct EBGP peering with ISP-BR-A, and
   advertises reachability to Pref-A over that peering.

   When connectivity between the enterprise and both of its ISPs (ISP-A
   and ISP-B is up, traffic destined to hosts whose addresses were
   assigned out of Pref-A would flow through ISP-A to ISP-BR-A to E-BR-
   A, and then into the enterprise. Likewise, traffic destined to hosts
   whose addresses were assigned out of Pref-B would flow through ISP-B
   to ISP-BR-B to E-BR-B, and then into the enterprise. Now consider
   what would happen when connectivity between ISP-BR-B and E-BR-B goes
   down. In this case traffic to hosts whose addresses were assigned out
   of Pref-A would be handled as before. But traffic to hosts whose
   addresses were assigned out of Pref-B would flow through ISP-B to
   ISP-BR-B, ISP-BR-B would encapsulate this traffic and send it to E-
   BR-A, where the traffic will get decapsulated and then be sent into
   the enterprise. Figure 2 below describes this approach graphically.







Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 6]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


                    +---------+         +---------+
                    (         )         (         )
                    (  ISP-A  )         (  ISP-B  )
                    (         )         (         )
                    +---------+         +---------+
                         |                   |
                     +--------+          +--------+
                     |ISP-BR-A|          |ISP-BR-B|
                     +--------+          +--------+
                          |            /+/   |
                     /\   |  Pref-B  /+/     |
                     ||   |        /+/      \./
                    Pref-A|      /+/ non-   /.\
                     ||   |    /+/  direct   |
                          |  /+/     EBGP    |
                      +------+           +-------+
                      |E-BR-A|-----------|E-BR-B |
                      +------+    IBGP   +-------+


   Figure 2: Reachability information advertised via non-direct EBGP

   Observe that with this scheme there is no additional routing informa-
   tion due to multi-homed enterprises that has to be carried in the
   "default-free" zone of the Internet. In addition this scheme doesn't
   degrade in the presence of ISPs that filter out routes based on the
   length of their address prefixes.

   Note that the set of routers within an ISP that maintain non-direct
   peering with the border routers within an enterprise doesn't have to
   be restricted to the ISP's border routers that have direct peering
   with the enterprise's border routers. The non-direct peering could be
   maintained with any router within the ISP. Doing this could improve
   the overall robustness in the presence of failures within the ISP.



5.3. Combining the two

   One could observe that while the approach described in Section 5.2
   allows to completely eliminate the routing overhead due to multi-
   homed enterprises in the "default-free" zone of the Internet, it may
   result in a suboptimal routing in the presence of link failures. The
   sub-optimality could be reduced by combining the approach described
   in Section 5.2 with a slightly modified version of the approach
   described in Section 5.1. The modification consists of constraining
   the scope of propagation of additional routes that are advertised by
   an enterprise border router when the router detects problems with the



Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 7]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


   Internet connectivity through its other border routers. A way to con-
   strain the scope is by using the BGP Community attribute [RFC1997].


5.4. Better (more optimal) routing in steady state

   The approach described in this document assumes that in a steady
   state an enterprise border router would advertise to a directly con-
   nected ISP border router only the reachability to the address prefix
   that this ISP allocated to the enterprise. As a result, traffic orig-
   inated by other enterprises connected to that ISP and destined to the
   parts of the enterprise numbered out of other address prefixes would
   not enter the enterprise at this border router, resulting in poten-
   tially suboptimal paths. To improve the situation the border router
   may (in steady state) advertise reachability not only to the address
   prefix that was allocated by the ISP that the router is directly con-
   nected to, but to the address prefixes allocated by some other ISPs
   (directly connected to some other border routers within the enter-
   prise). Distribution of such advertisements should be carefully con-
   strained, or otherwise this may result in significant additional
   routing information that would need to be maintained in the "default-
   free" part of the Internet. A way to constrain the distribution of
   such advertisements is by using the BGP Community attribute
   [RFC1997].


6. Comparison with other approaches

   CIDR [RFC1518] proposes several possible address allocation strate-
   gies for multi-homed enterprises that are connected to multiple ISPs.
   The following briefly reviews the alternatives being used today, and
   compares them with the approaches described above.


6.1. Solution 1

   One possible solution suggested in [RFC1518] is for each multi-homed
   enterprise to obtain its IP address space independently from the ISPs
   to which it is attached.  This allows each multi-homed enterprise to
   base its IP assignments on a single prefix, and to thereby summarize
   the set of all IP addresses reachable within that enterprise via a
   single prefix.  The disadvantage of this approach is that since the
   IP address for that enterprise has no relationship to the addresses
   of any particular ISPs, the reachability information advertised by
   the enterprise is not aggregatable with any, but default route.
   results in the routing overhead in the "default-free" zone of the
   Internet of O(N), where N is the total number of multi-homed enter-
   prises across the whole Internet that are connected to multiple ISPs.



Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 8]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


   As a result, this approach can't be viewed as a viable alternative
   for all, but the enterprises that provide high enough degree of
   addressing information aggregation. Since by definition the number of
   such enterprises is likely to be fairly small, this approach isn't
   viable for most of the multi-homed enterprises connected to multiple
   ISPs.


6.2. Solution 2

   Another possible solution suggested in [RFC1518] is to assign each
   multi-homed enterprise a single address prefix, based on one of its
   connections to one of its ISPs.  Other ISPs to which the multi-homed
   enterprise is attached maintain a routing table entry for the organi-
   zation, but are extremely selective in terms of which other ISPs are
   told of this route and would need to perform "proxy" aggregation.
   Most of the complexity associated with this approach is due to the
   need to perform "proxy" aggregation, which in turn requires addi-
   tional inter-ISP coordination and more complex router configuration.


7. Discussion

   The approach described in this document assumes that addresses that
   an enterprise would use are allocated based on the "address lending"
   policy. Consequently, whenever an enterprise changes its ISP, the
   enterprise would need to renumber part of its network that was num-
   bered out of the address block that the ISP allocated to the enter-
   prise.  However, these issues are not specific to multihoming and
   should be considered accepted practice in todays internet. The
   approach described in this document effectively eliminates any dis-
   tinction between single-home and multi-homed enterprise with respect
   to the impact of changing ISPs on renumbering.

   The approach described in this document also requires careful address
   assignment within an enterprise, as address assignment impacts traf-
   fic distribution among multiple connections between an enterprise and
   its ISPs.

   Both the issue of address assignment and renumbering could be
   addressed by the appropriate use of network address translation
   (NAT). The use of NAT for multi-homed enterprises is the beyond the
   scope of this document.

   Use of auto route injection (as described in Section 5.1) increases
   the number of routers in the default-free zone of the Internet that
   could be affected by changes in the connectivity of multi-homed
   enterprises, as compared to the use of provider-independed addresses



Bates, Rekhter                                                  [Page 9]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


   (as described in Section 6.1).  Specifically, with auto route injec-
   tion when a multi-homed enterprise loses its connectivity through one
   of its ISPs, the auto injected route has to be propagated to all the
   routers in the default-free zone of the Internet. In contrast, when
   an enterprise uses provider-independent addresses, only some (but not
   all) of the routers in the default-free zone would see changes in
   routing when the enterprise loses its connectivity through one of its
   ISPs.

   To supress excessive routing load due to link flapping the auto
   injected route has to be advertised until the connectivity via the
   other connection (that was previously down and that triggered auto
   route injection) becomes stable.

   Use of the non-direct EBGP approach (as described in Section 5.2)
   allows to eliminate route flapping due to multi-homed enterprises in
   the default-free zone of the Internet. That is the non-direct EBGP
   approach has better properties with respect to routing stability than
   the use of provider-independent addresses (as described in Section
   6.1).


8. Applications to multi-homed ISPs

   The approach described in this document could be applicable to a
   small to medium size ISP that is connected to several upstream ISPs.
   The ISP would acquire blocks of addresses (address prefixes) from its
   upstream ISPs, and would use these addresses for allocations to its
   customers.  Either auto route injection, or the non-direct EBGP
   approach, or a combination of both could be used by the ISP when
   peering with its upstream ISPs. Doing this would provide routability
   for the customers of such ISP, without advertsely affecting the over-
   all scalability of the Internet routing system.


9. Security Considerations

   Since the non-direct EBGP approach (as described in Section 5.2)
   requires EBGP sessions between routers that are more than one IP hop
   from each other, routers that maintain these sessions should use an
   appropriate authentication mechanism(s) for BGP peer authentication.

   Security issues related to the IBGP peering, as well as the EBGP
   peering between routers that are one IP hop from each other are out-
   side the scope of this document.






Bates, Rekhter                                                 [Page 10]

Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


10. Acknowledgments

   The authors of this document do not make any claims on the original-
   ity of the ideas described in this document. Anyone who thought about
   these ideas before should be given all due credit.


11. References


[RFC2008]
     Y. Rekhter, T. Li, "Implications of Various Address Allocation
     Policies for Internet Routing", RFC2008, BCP7, October 1996.

[RFC1918]
     Y. Rekhter, B. Moskowitz, D. Karrenberg, G. J. de Groot & E. Lear,
     "Address Allocation for Private Internets", RFC1918, February 1996.

[BGP]
     Rekhter, Y., and Li, T., "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)",
     RFC1771, March 1995.

[GRE]
     S. Hanks, T. Li, D. Farinacci, P. Traina, "Generic Routing Encapsu-
     lation over IPv4 networks", RFC1773, October 1994.

[RFC1997]
     R. Chandra, P. Traina, T. Li, "BGP Communities Attribute", RFC1997,
     August 1996

[RFC1518]
     Y. Rekhter & T. Li, "An Architecture for IP Address Allocation with
     CIDR", RFC1518, September 1993.


















Bates, Rekhter                                                 [Page 11]
Internet Draft  draft-rfced-info-bates-multihoming-01.txt  December 1997


12. Author's Addresses


Tony Bates
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
email: tbates@cisco.com

Yakov Rekhter
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
email: yakov@cisco.com


INTERNET DRAFT          EXPIRES JUNE 1998       INTERNET DRAFT


Html markup produced by rfcmarkup 1.111, available from https://tools.ietf.org/tools/rfcmarkup/