The case for separating routing from routers

Nicholas G. Feamster, Hari Balakrishnan, Jennifer L. Rexford, Aman Shaikh, Jacobus Van Der Merwe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

195 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, the complexity of the Internet's routing infrastructure has increased dramatically. This complexity and the problems it causes stem not just from various new demands made of the routing infrastructure, but also from fundamental limitations in the ability of today's distributed infrastructure to scalably cope with new requirements. The limitations in today's routing system arise in large part from the fully distributed path-selection computation that the IP routers in an autonomous system (AS) must perform. To overcome this weakness, interdomain routing should be separated from today's IP routers, which should simply forward packets (for the most part). Instead, a separate Routing Control Platform (RCP) should select routes on behalf of the IP routers in each AS and exchange reachability information with other domains. Our position is that an approach like RCP is a good way of coping with complexity while being responsive to new demands and can lead to a routing system that is substantially easier to manage than today. We present a design overview of RCP based on three architectural principles-path computation based on a consistent view of network state, controlled interactions between routing protocol layers, and expressive specification of routing policies-and discuss the architectural strengths and weaknesses of our proposal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2004 Workshops
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)158113942X, 9781581139426
StatePublished - 2004
EventProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2004 Workshops - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Aug 30 2004Sep 3 2004

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2004 Workshops


OtherProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2004 Workshops
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland, OR

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


  • BGP
  • Interdomain routing
  • Routing architecture


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