Dynamics of hot-potato routing in IP networks

Renata Teixeira, Aman Shaikh, Tim Griffin, Jennifer L. Rexford

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Despite the architectural separation between intradomain and inter-domain routing in the Internet, intradomain protocols do influence the path-selection process in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). When choosing between multiple equally-good BGP routes, a router selects the one with the closest egress point, based on the intradomain path cost. Under such hot-potato routing, an intradomain event can trigger BGP routing changes. To characterize the influence of hot-potato routing, we conduct controlled experiments with a commercial router. Then, we propose a technique for associating BGP routing changes with events visible in the intradomain protocol, and apply our algorithm to AT&T's backbone network. We show that (i) hot-potato routing can be a significant source of BGP updates, (ii) BGP updates can lag 60 seconds or more behind the intradomain event, (iii) the number of BGP path changes triggered by hot-potato routing has a nearly uniform distribution across destination prefixes, and (iv) the fraction of BGP messages triggered by intradomain changes varies significantly across time and router locations. We show that hot-potato routing changes lead to longer delays in forwarding-plane convergence, shifts in the flow of traffic to neighboring domains, extra externally-visible BGP update messages, and inaccuracies in Internet performance measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
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
  • Convergence
  • Hot-potato routing
  • OSPF


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