About Policy Based Routing
Traditional routing is destination-based, meaning packets are routed based on destination IP address. However, it is difficult to change the routing of specific traffic in a destination-based routing system. With Policy Based Routing (PBR), you can define routing based on criteria other than destination network—PBR lets you route traffic based on source address, source port, destination address, destination port, protocol, or a combination of these.
Policy Based Routing:
Lets you provide Quality of Service (QoS) to differentiated traffic.
Lets you distribute interactive and batch traffic across low-bandwidth, low-cost permanent paths and high-bandwidth, high-cost switched paths.
Allows Internet service providers and other organizations to route traffic originating from various sets of users through well-defined Internet connections.
Policy Based Routing can implement QoS by classifying and marking traffic at the network edge, and then using PBR throughout the network to route marked traffic along a specific path. This permits routing of packets originating from different sources to different networks, even when the destinations are the same, and it can be useful when interconnecting several private networks.
Why Use Policy Based Routing?
Consider a company that has two links between locations: one a high-bandwidth, low-delay expensive link, and the other a low-bandwidth, higher-delay, less-expensive link. While using traditional routing protocols, the higher-bandwidth link would get most, if not all, of the traffic sent across it based on the metric savings obtained by the bandwidth and/or delay (using EIGRP or OSPF) characteristics of the link. PBR allows you to route higher priority traffic over the high-bandwidth/low-delay link, while sending all other traffic over the low-bandwidth/high-delay link.
Some applications of policy based routing are:
Equal-Access and Source-Sensitive Routing
In this topology, traffic from HR network & Mgmt network can be configured to go through ISP1 and traffic from Eng network can be configured to go through ISP2. Thus, policy based routing enables the network administrators to provide equal-access and source-sensitive routing, as shown here.
Quality of Service
By tagging packets with policy based routing, network administrators can classify the network traffic at the perimeter of the network for various classes of service and then implementing those classes of service in the core of the network using priority, custom or weighted fair queuing (as shown in the figure below). This setup improves network performance by eliminating the need to classify the traffic explicitly at each WAN interface in the core of backbone network.
An organization can direct the bulk traffic associated with a specific activity to use a higher-bandwidth high-cost link for a short time and continues basic connectivity over a lower-bandwidth low-cost link for interactive traffic by defining the topology, as show here.
In addition to the dynamic load-sharing capabilities offered by ECMP load balancing, network administrators can now implement policies to distribute traffic among multiple paths based on the traffic characteristics.
As an example, in the topology depicted in the Equal-Access Source Sensitive Routing scenario, an administrator can configure policy based routing to load share the traffic from HR network through ISP1 and traffic from Eng network through ISP2.
Implementation of PBR
The ASA uses ACLs to match traffic and then perform routing actions on the traffic. Specifically, you configure a route map that specifies an ACL for matching, and then you specify one or more actions for that traffic. Finally, you associate the route map with an interface where you want to apply PBR on all incoming traffic.