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NSDI '05 — Abstract

Finding a Needle in a Haystack: Pinpointing Significant BGP Routing Changes in an IP Network

Jian Wu and Zhuoqing Morley Mao, University of Michigan; Jennifer Rexford, Princeton University; Jia Wang, AT&T Labs—Research


The performance of a backbone network is vulnerable to interdomain routing changes that affect how traffic travels to destinations in other Autonomous Systems (ASes). Despite having poor visibility into these routing changes, operators often need to react quickly by tuning the network configuration to alleviate congestion or by notifying other ASes about serious reachability problems. Fortunately, operators can improve their visibility by monitoring the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) decisions of the routers at the periphery of their AS. However, the volume of measurement data is very large and extracting the important information is challenging. In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of an online system that converts millions of BGP update messages a day into a few dozen actionable reports about significant routing disruptions. We apply our tool to two months of BGP and traffic data collected from a Tier-1 ISP backbone and discover several network problems previously unknown to the operators. Validation using other data sources confirms the accuracy of our algorithms and the tool's additional value in detecting routing disruptions.

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