A model of BGP routing for network engineering

Nicholas G. Feamster, Jared Winick, Jennifer L. Rexford

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The performance of IP networks depends on a wide variety of dynamic conditions. Traffic shifts, equipment failures, planned maintenance, and topology changes in other parts of the Internet can all degrade performance. To maintain good performance, network operators must continually reconfigure the routing protocols. Operators configure BGP to control how traffic flows to neighboring Autonomous Systems (ASes), as well as how traffic traverses their networks. However, because BGP route selection is distributed, indirectly controlled by configurable policies, and influenced by complex interactions with intradomain routing protocols, operators cannot predict how a particular BGP configuration would behave in practice. To avoid inadvertently degrading network performance, operators need to evaluate the effects of configuration changes before deploying them on a live network We propose an algorithm that computes the outcome of the BGP route selection process for each router in a single AS, given only a static snapshot of the network state, without simulating the complex details of BGP message passing. We describe a BGP emulator based on this algorithm; the emulator exploits the unique characteristics of routing data to reduce computational overhead. Using data from a large ISP, we show that the emulator correctly computes BGP routing decisions and has a running time that is acceptable for many tasks, such as traffic engineering and capacity planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-342
Number of pages12
JournalPerformance Evaluation Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
EventSIGMETRICS 2004/Performance 2004: Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2004Jun 16 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • BGP
  • Modeling
  • Routing
  • Traffic engineering


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