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BGP Route Aggregation


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Route aggregation happens where multiple routes are rolled up into a series of shorter prefixes (ie 4
/24′s become a /22). The idea is to reduce the number of routes that need to be processed. Often, the
specifics don’t matter. If I’m advertising the 4 /24′s as above and they all go the the same place, why
does the whole Internet need to know about all four of them when a single /22 will describe the whole
lot?
This also leads to some global routing stability. If one of the /24′s went down, I don’t have to tell the
rest of the Internet since the /22 covers three other networks that are working. Yes, any packets
destined to the downed network will return an error, but it’s a small price to pay to reduce the amount
of flapping on the Internet.
While getting the size of the global route tables down is a great idea, sites that are multihomed face
challenges with route aggregation, which means that BGP has to handle the exceptions.
To illustrate the last point, consider this example network. It’s similar to what we’ve been following
along with except that I split AS1 into two separate ASNs for later examples.
Imagine that AS1 advertised a /24 prefix (1.1.42.0/24) to AS2 and AS3, and that AS2 aggregated this
to a /16 (1.1.0.0/16) before sending it to AS3. Now, further imagine that both AS2 and AS3 were
transit providers to the rest of the Internet, and advertised their prefixes out.
The rest of the Internet would see a /24 via AS3, and a /16 via AS2. Following the longest match rule,
all packets to anything in 1.1.42.0/24 would go via AS3 even though R3 in AS1 indicated that both
links were available.
The solution is that AS2 must also advertise the /24 in addition to the /16. It is not necessary to
advertise all the component routes, just the ones that need to stand alone on the Internet. This is
called “punching a hole”, and is often necessary for sites to be properly multihomed. This comes up in
many cases where an AS got its address space from a provider rather than obtaining provider
independant space from ARIN. In this example, it is possible that AS1 started off with address space
from AS2 before becoming multihomed.
In the example above, R3 has several networks in the 10/8 space it can aggregate to R0 in AS4:

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r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0/8 longer­prefixes 
BGP table version is 7, local router ID is 10.0.0.1
Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal,
              r RIB­failure, S Stale
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.1.1.0/24      10.50.0.2                              0 1 2 i
*> 10.2.2.0/24      10.50.0.2                              0 1 3 i
*> 10.3.3.0/24      10.50.0.2                0             0 1 i

Using “aggregate-address” under the BGP configuration on R3, we can force it to only advertise a
summary route:

r3(config­router)#aggregate­address 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 summary­only 

r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0/8 longer­prefixes 
BGP table version is 11, local router ID is 10.0.0.1
Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal,
              r RIB­failure, S Stale
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         10.50.0.2                              0 1 i

R3 doesn’t discriminate when it sends out the summary, so R2 and R1 also see it:

r2#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0/8 longer­prefixes 
BGP table version is 14, local router ID is 10.2.2.1
Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         192.168.3.5                            0 1 i
*> 10.1.1.0/24      192.168.3.9              0    200      0 2 i
*> 10.2.2.0/24      0.0.0.0                  0         32768 i

Interestingly enough, r3 shows that it is suppressing the more specific routes, and has created a route
to Null0 representing the aggregate (remember anything more specific that exists will be in R3′s
routing table, and won’t hit the Null0 bit bucket)

r3#show ip bgp
BGP table version is 16, local router ID is 10.3.3.1
Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         0.0.0.0                            32768 i
s> 10.1.1.0/24      192.168.3.2              0             0 2 i
s> 10.2.2.0/24      192.168.3.6              0             0 3 i
s                   192.168.3.2                            0 2 3 i
s> 10.3.3.0/24      0.0.0.0                  0         32768 i
r3#show ip route
...
     10.0.0.0/8 is variably subnetted, 5 subnets, 2 masks
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B       10.0.0.0/8 [200/0] via 0.0.0.0, 00:44:14, Null0
B       10.2.2.0/24 [20/0] via 192.168.3.6, 02:37:15
B       10.1.1.0/24 [20/0] via 192.168.3.2, 02:42:55
C       10.3.3.0/24 is directly connected, Loopback5
C       10.50.0.0/24 is directly connected, Ethernet0

In this case it’s fine because the intended goal is met, but if anything in the 10/8 space existed
elsewhere we might find some bad routing.
On R0 it knows this is an aggregate:

r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0
BGP routing table entry for 10.0.0.0/8, version 11
Paths: (1 available, best #1, table Default­IP­Routing­Table)
  Not advertised to any peer
  1, (aggregated by 1 10.3.3.1)
    10.50.0.2 from 10.50.0.2 (10.3.3.1)
      Origin IGP, localpref 100, valid, external, atomic­aggregate, best

The problem, though, is that the AS-PATH to the aggregate doesn’t include any of the component
ASNs. Since this is used for loop avoidance, routing loops can be introduced in larger systems.
The as-set option to the aggregate-address command brings forward some of these things:

r3(config)#router bgp 1
r3(config­router)#no  aggregate­address 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 summary­only
r3(config­router)# aggregate­address 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 summary­only as­set 
r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 longer­prefixes 
...
   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         10.50.0.2                              0 1 {2,3} i
r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0
BGP routing table entry for 10.0.0.0/8, version 19
Paths: (1 available, best #1, table Default­IP­Routing­Table)
Flag: 0x820
  Not advertised to any peer
  1 {2,3}, (aggregated by 1 10.3.3.1)
    10.50.0.2 from 10.50.0.2 (10.3.3.1)
      Origin IGP, localpref 100, valid, external, best

The {2,3} shows that these AS contributed to the aggregate. atomic-aggregate has also disappeared,
since the information has been included.
The last thing I’ll try today is leaving out summary-only and putting in as-set:

r3#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 longer­prefixes 
BGP table version is 5, local router ID is 10.3.3.1
Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         0.0.0.0                            32768 {2,3} i
*> 10.1.1.0/24      192.168.3.2              0             0 2 i
*> 10.2.2.0/24      192.168.3.6              0             0 3 i
*                   192.168.3.2                            0 2 3 i
*> 10.3.3.0/24      0.0.0.0                  0         32768 i
r0#show ip bgp 10.0.0.0 255.0.0.0 longer­prefixes 
BGP table version is 30, local router ID is 10.0.0.1

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Status codes: s suppressed, d damped, h history, * valid, > best, i ­ internal,
              r RIB­failure, S Stale
Origin codes: i ­ IGP, e ­ EGP, ? ­ incomplete

   Network          Next Hop            Metric LocPrf Weight Path
*> 10.0.0.0         10.50.0.2                              0 1 {2,3} i
*> 10.1.1.0/24      10.50.0.2                              0 1 2 i
*> 10.2.2.0/24      10.50.0.2                              0 1 3 i
*> 10.3.3.0/24      10.50.0.2                0             0 1 i

As expected, we see an aggregate and the specific routes.

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