Monday, March 1, 2010

BGP Communities

If we used just prefix-lists and distribute lists to filter BGP updates it would be a very manual intensive job due to the size of most BGP networks and the fact that you would have to configure each router one at a time! Today I learned that you can group routers running BGP into groups that can share the same filtering information. Therefore you would only need to configure one of the routers in the group for all of the other routers to know what updates should be filtered and what shouldn't.

"BGP communities function allows routers to tag routes with an indicator (the community) and allows other routers to make decisions (filter) based on that tag. BGP communities are used for destinations (routes) that share some common properties and that, therefore, share common policies; routers, therefore, act on the community, rather than on individual routes. Communities are not restricted to one network or autonomous system, and they have no physical boundaries."

the community attribute is considered an optional transitive attribute. If a router receives an update with community attribute information but doesn't use that attribute, it will ignore it but pass it along to other BGP neighbor peers. The community attribute consists of 32-bits, 16 for the Autonomous System number (AS) and the other 16 identifies the community number.

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