Information About BGP Additional Paths
This section includes the following topics:
Problem That Additional Paths Can Solve
BGP routers and route reflectors (RRs) propagate only their best path over their sessions. The advertisement of a prefix replaces the previous announcement of that prefix (this behavior is known as an implicit withdraw). The implicit withdraw can achieve better scaling, but at the cost of path diversity.
Path hiding can prevent efficient use of BGP multipath, prevent hitless planned maintenance, and can lead to MED oscillations and suboptimal hot-potato routing. Upon nexthop failures, path hiding also inhibits fast and local recovery because the network has to wait for BGP control plane convergence to restore traffic. The BGP Additional Paths feature provides a generic way of offering path diversity; the Best External or Best Internal features offer path diversity only in limited scenarios.
The BGP Additional Paths feature provides a way for multiple paths for the same prefix to be advertised without the new paths implicitly replacing the previous paths. Thus, path diversity is achieved instead of path hiding.
This section describes in more detail how path hiding can occur. In the following figure, we have prefix p with paths p1 and p2 advertised from BR1 and BR4 to RR1. RR1 selects the bestpath of the two and then advertises to PE only p1.
In the figure RR Hiding an Additional Path, we also see prefix x with path x1 being advertised from BR2 to BR3 (which has path x2) with local preference 100. BR3 also has path x2, but due to routing policy, BR3 will advertise to the RRs x1 (not shown) instead of x2, and x2 will be suppressed. A user could turn on the advertisement of best external on BR3 and thereby advertise x2 to the RRs, but, again, the RRs advertise only the best path.
Suboptimal Hot-Potato Routing Scenario
In order to minimize internal transport costs, transit ISPs try to forward packets to the closest exit point (according to IGP cost). This behavior is known as hot-potato routing. In the distributed RR cluster model of the following figure, assume traffic coming from LA must go to Mexico. All links have the same IGP cost. If there are two exit points toward Mexico—one toward Austin and one toward Atlanta—the border router will try to send traffic to Austin based on the lower IGP cost from LA toward Austin than toward Atlanta. In a centralized RR model where the central RR resides where RR3 is (and RR1, RR2, RR4, and RR5 do not exist), the closest exit point toward Mexico, as seen from RR3, might be Atlanta. Sending the traffic from LA toward the Atlanta BR and thus resulting in suboptimal hot-potato routing is not desirable.
Benefits of Additional BGP Paths
BGP routers and route reflectors (RR) propagate only their best path over their sessions. The advertisement of a prefix replaces the previous announcement of that prefix (this in known as an implicit withdraw).
While this behavior may achieve better scaling, it can prevent path diversity, which tends to be poor or completely lost. The behavior in turn prevents efficient use of BGP multipath, prevents hitless planned maintenance, and can lead to multi-exit discriminator (MED) oscillations and suboptimal hot-potato routing. It also inhibits fast and local recovery upon nexthop failures, because the network has to wait for BGP control plane convergence to restore traffic.
The BGP Additional Paths feature is a BGP extension that allows the advertisement of multiple paths for the same prefix without the new paths implicitly replacing any previous paths. This behavior promotes path diversity and reduces MED oscillations.
BGP Additional Paths Functionality
The BGP Additional Paths feature is implemented by adding a path identifier to each path in the NLRI. The path identifier (ID) can be considered as something similar to a route distinguisher (RD) in VPNs, except that a path ID can apply to any address family. Path IDs are unique to a peering session and are generated for each network. The path identifier is used to prevent a route announcement from implicitly withdrawing the previous one. The Additional Paths feature allows the advertisement of more paths, in addition to the bestpath. The Additional Paths feature allows the advertisement of multiple paths for the same prefix, without the new paths implicitly replacing any previous paths.
The BGP Additional Paths feature requires you to take three general steps:
Specify whether the device can send, receive, or send and receive additional paths. This is done at the address family level or the neighbor level. During session establishment, two BGP neighbors negotiate the additional path capabilities (whether they can send and/or receive) between them.
Select a set or sets of candidate paths for advertisement by specifying selection criteria.
Advertise for a neighbor a set or sets of additional paths from the candidate paths marked.
To send or receive additional paths, the additional path capability must be negotiated. If it is not negotiated, even if the selection criteria are such that more than the bestpath is marked and the neighbor is configured to advertise the marked paths, the selections would be useless because without the capability negotiated, only the bestpath can be sent.
Configuring BGP to send or receive additional paths triggers negotiation of additional path capability with the device's peers. Neighbors that have negotiated the capability will be grouped together in an update group (if other update group policies allow), and in a separate update group from those peers that have not negotiated the capability. Therefore, additional path capability causes the neighbor's update group membership to be recalculated.
Additional Path Selection
Only the best-path is advertised to peers unless you configure the set path-selection all advertise command which advertises all BGP paths as additional paths to peers if the receive capability is enabled.
Advertise a Subset of the Paths Selected
Take care when you select a set of paths but want to advertise a different set of paths. If the set of paths you want to advertise is not a subset of the selected paths, then you will not advertise the paths you want advertised.
Guidelines and Limitations
Configuring BGP Additional Paths has the following guidelines and limitations:
BGP add-path is not supported as dynamic capability. It is included in OPEN but not in CAPABILITY message. The configuration will take effect upon the next session establishment and does not cause established sessions to get torn down.