Observation and Analysis of BGP Behavior under Stress


Despite BGP's critical importance as the de-facto Internet inter-domain routing protocol, there is little understanding of how BGP actually performs under stressful conditions when dependable routing is most needed. In this paper, we examine BGP's behavior during one stressful period, the Code Red/ Nimda attack on September 18, 2001. The attack was correlated with a 30-fold increase in the BGP update messages at a monitoring point which peers with a number of Internet service providers. Our examination of BGP's behavior during the event concludes that BGP exhibited no significant abnormality, and that over 40% of the observed updates can be attributed to the monitoring artifact in current BGP measurement settings. Our analysis, however, does reveal several weak points in both the protocol and its implementation, such as BGP's sensitivity to the transport session reliability, its inability to avoid the global propagation of small local changes, and its certain implementation features whose otherwise benign effects only get amplified under stressful conditions. We also identify areas for improvement in the current network measurement and monitoring effort.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2nd Internet Measurement Workshop (IMW 2002)