Network Working Group                                          D. Walton
Internet-Draft                                          Cumulus Networks
Intended status: Standards Track                               A. Retana
Expires: May 7, June 13, 2016                                           E. Chen
                                                     Cisco Systems, Inc.
                                                              J. Scudder
                                                        Juniper Networks
                                                        November 4,
                                                       December 11, 2015

                 Advertisement of Multiple Paths in BGP


   This document defines a BGP extension that allows the advertisement
   of multiple paths for the same address prefix without the new paths
   implicitly replacing any previous ones.  The essence of the extension
   is that each path is identified by a path identifier in addition to
   the address prefix.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Specification of Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  How to Identify a Path  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Extended NLRI Encodings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  ADD-PATH Capability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   5.  Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   6.  Applications  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Deployment Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   9.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   10. Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   11. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     11.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     11.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7   8

1.  Introduction

   The BGP specification [RFC4271] defines an Update-Send Process to
   advertise the routes chosen by the Decision Process to other BGP
   speakers.  No provisions are made to allow the advertisement of
   multiple paths for the same address prefix, or Network Layer
   Reachability Information (NLRI).  In fact, a route with the same NLRI
   as a previously advertised route implicitly replaces the previous

   This document defines a BGP extension that allows the advertisement
   of multiple paths for the same address prefix without the new paths
   implicitly replacing any previous ones.  The essence of the extension
   is that each path is identified by a path identifier in addition to
   the address prefix.

1.1.  Specification of Requirements

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.  How to Identify a Path

   As defined in [RFC4271], a path refers to the information reported in
   the path attribute field of an UPDATE message.  As the procedures
   specified in [RFC4271] allow only the advertisement of one path for a
   particular address prefix, a path for an address prefix from a BGP
   peer can be keyed on the address prefix.

   In order for a BGP speaker to advertise multiple paths for the same
   address prefix, a new identifier (termed "Path Identifier" hereafter)
   needs to be introduced so that a particular path for an address
   prefix can be identified by the combination of the address prefix and
   the Path Identifier.

   The assignment of the Path Identifier for a path by a BGP speaker is
   purely a local matter.  However, the Path Identifier MUST be assigned
   in such a way that the BGP speaker is able to use the (prefix, path
   identifier) to uniquely identify a path advertised to a neighbor.  A
   BGP speaker that re-advertises a route MUST generate its own Path
   Identifier to be associated with the re-advertised route.  A BGP
   speaker that receives a route SHOULD NOT assume that the identifier
   carries any particular semantics; it SHOULD be treated as an opaque

3.  Extended NLRI Encodings

   In order to carry the Path Identifier in an UPDATE message, the NLRI
   encoding MUST be extended by prepending the Path Identifier field,
   which is of four-octets.

   For example, the NLRI encoding specified in [RFC4271] is extended as
   the following:

                  | Path Identifier (4 octets)     |
                  | Length (1 octet)               |
                  | Prefix (variable)              |

   The usage of the extended NLRI encodings is specified in Section 5.

4.  ADD-PATH Capability

   The ADD-PATH Capability is a new BGP capability [RFC5492].  The
   Capability Code for this capability is specified in the IANA
   Considerations section of this document.  The Capability Length field
   of this capability is variable.  The Capability Value field consists
   of one or more of the following tuples:

                | Address Family Identifier (2 octets)           |
                | Subsequent Address Family Identifier (1 octet) |
                | Send/Receive (1 octet)                         |

   The meaning and use of the fields are as follows:

      Address Family Identifier (AFI):

         This field is the same as the one used in [RFC4760].

      Subsequent Address Family Identifier (SAFI):

         This field is the same as the one used in [RFC4760].


         This field indicates whether the sender is (a) able to receive
         multiple paths from its peer (value 1), (b) able to send
         multiple paths to its peer (value 2), or (c) both (value 3) for
         the <AFI, SAFI>.

         If any other value is received, then the capability SHOULD be
         treated as not understood and ignored [RFC5492].

   A BGP speaker that wishes to indicate support for multiple AFI/SAFI
   MUST do so by including the information in a single instance of the
   ADD-PATH Capability.

5.  Operation

   The Path Identifier specified in the previous section can be used to
   advertise multiple paths for the same address prefix without
   subsequent advertisements replacing the previous ones.  Apart from
   the fact that this is now possible, the route advertisement rules of
   [RFC4271] are not changed.  In particular, a new advertisement for a
   given address prefix and a given path identifier replaces a previous
   advertisement for the same address prefix and path identifier.  If a
   BGP speaker receives a message to withdraw a prefix with a path
   identifier not seen before, it SHOULD silently ignore it.

   For a BGP speaker to be able to send multiple paths to its peer, that
   BGP speaker MUST advertise the ADD-PATH capability with the Send/
   Receive field set to either 2 or 3, and MUST receive from its peer
   the ADD-PATH capability with the Send/Receive field set to either 1
   or 3, for the corresponding <AFI, SAFI>.

   A BGP speaker MUST follow the procedures defined in [RFC4271] when
   generating an UPDATE message for a particular <AFI, SAFI> to a peer
   unless the BGP speaker advertises the ADD-PATH Capability to the peer
   indicating its ability to send multiple paths for the <AFI, SAFI>,
   and also receives the ADD-PATH Capability from the peer indicating
   its ability to receive multiple paths for the <AFI, SAFI>, in which
   case the speaker MUST generate a route update for the <AFI, SAFI>
   based on the combination of the address prefix and the Path
   Identifier, and use the extended NLRI encodings specified in this
   document.  The peer SHALL act accordingly in processing an UPDATE
   message related to a particular <AFI, SAFI>.

   A BGP speaker SHOULD include the bestpath when more than one path are
   advertised to a neighbor unless the bestpath is a path received from
   that neighbor.

   As the Path Identifiers are locally assigned, and may or may not be
   persistent across a control plane restart of a BGP speaker, an
   implementation SHOULD take special care so that the underlying
   forwarding plane of a "Receiving Speaker" as described in [RFC4724]
   is not affected during the graceful restart of a BGP session.

6.  Applications

   The BGP extension specified in this document can be used by a BGP
   speaker to advertise multiple paths in certain applications.  The
   availability of the additional paths can help reduce or eliminate
   persistent route oscillations [RFC3345].  It can also help with
   optimal routing and routing convergence in a network.  The
   applications are detailed in separate documents.

7.  Deployment Considerations

   The extension proposed in this document provides a mechanism for a
   BGP speaker to advertise multiple paths over a BGP session.  Care
   needs to be taken in its deployment to ensure consistent routing and
   forwarding in a network, the details of which will be described in
   separate application documents.

   When deployed as a provider edge router or a peering router that
   interacts with external neighbors, a BGP speaker usually advertises
   at most one path to the internal neighbors in a network.  In the case
   the speaker is configured to advertise multiple paths to the internal
   neighbors, and additional information is needed for the application,
   the speaker could use attributes such as the Edge_Discriminator
   attribute [I-D.pmohapat-idr-fast-conn-restore].  The use of that type
   of additional information is outside the scope of this document.

8.  IANA Considerations

   IANA has assigned capability number 69 for the ADD-PATH Capability
   described in this document.  This registration is in the BGP
   Capability Codes registry.

9.  Security Considerations

   This document defines a BGP extension that allows the advertisement
   of multiple paths for the same address prefix without the new paths
   implicitly replacing any previous ones.  As a result, multiple paths
   for a large number of prefixes may be received by a BGP speaker
   potentially depleting memory resources or even causing network-wide
   instability.  The use of the ADD-PATH Capability is intended to
   address specific needs related to, for example, eliminating the MED-
   induced route oscillations in a network
   [I-D.ietf-idr-route-oscillation-stop].  While the applications for
   the ADD-PATH Capability are outside the scope of this document, the
   users are enouraged encouraged to exhamine examine their behavior and potential impact
   by studying the best practices described in

   This document introduces no new security concerns in the base
   operation of BGP [RFC4271].

10.  Acknowledgments

   We would like to thank David Cook and Naiming Shen for their
   contributions to the design and development of the extension.

   Many people have made valuable comments and suggestions, including
   Rex Fernando, Eugene Kim, Danny McPherson, Dave Meyer, Pradosh
   Mohapatra, Keyur Patel, Robert Raszuk, Eric Rosen, Srihari Sangli,
   Dan Tappan, Mark Turner, Jeff Haas, Jay Borkenhagen and Mach Chen.

11.  References

11.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC4271]  Rekhter, Y., Ed., Li, T., Ed., and S. Hares, Ed., "A
              Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 4271,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4271, January 2006,

   [RFC4760]  Bates, T., Chandra, R., Katz, D., and Y. Rekhter,
              "Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4", RFC 4760,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4760, January 2007,

   [RFC5492]  Scudder, J. and R. Chandra, "Capabilities Advertisement
              with BGP-4", RFC 5492, DOI 10.17487/RFC5492, February
              2009, <>.

11.2.  Informative References

              Uttaro, J., Francois, P., Patel, K., Mohapatra, P., Haas,
              J., Simpson, A., and R. Fragassi, "Best Practices for
              Advertisement of Multiple Paths in IBGP", draft-ietf-idr-
              add-paths-guidelines-07 (work in progress), December 2014.

              Walton, D., Retana, A., Chen, E., and J. Scudder, "BGP
              Persistent Route Oscillation Solutions", draft-ietf-idr-
              route-oscillation-stop-01 (work in progress), October

              Mohapatra, P., Fernando, R., Filsfils, C., and R. Raszuk,
              "Fast Connectivity Restoration Using BGP Add-path", draft-
              pmohapat-idr-fast-conn-restore-03 (work in progress),
              January 2013.

   [RFC3345]  McPherson, D., Gill, V., Walton, D., and A. Retana,
              "Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Persistent Route
              Oscillation Condition", RFC 3345, DOI 10.17487/RFC3345,
              August 2002, <>.

   [RFC4724]  Sangli, S., Chen, E., Fernando, R., Scudder, J., and Y.
              Rekhter, "Graceful Restart Mechanism for BGP", RFC 4724,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4724, January 2007,

Authors' Addresses

   Daniel Walton
   Cumulus Networks
   185 E. Dana Street
   Mountain View, CA  94041


   Alvaro Retana
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   Kit Creek Rd.
   Research Triangle Park, NC  27709


   Enke Chen
   Cisco Systems, Inc.
   170 W. Tasman Dr.
   San Jose, CA  95134


   John Scudder
   Juniper Networks
   1194 N. Mathilda Ave
   Sunnyvale, CA  94089