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BGP Overview

The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is an exterior gateway protocol (EGP) that is used to exchange routing information among routers in different autonomous systems (ASs). BGP routing information includes the complete route to each destination. BGP uses the routing information to maintain a database of network reachability information, which it exchanges with other BGP systems. BGP uses the network reachability information to construct a graph of AS connectivity, thus allowing BGP to remove routing loops and enforce policy decisions at the AS level.

Multiprotocol BGP (MBGP) extensions enable BGP to support IPv6. MBGP defines the attributes MP_REACH_NLRI and MP_UNREACH_NLRI, which are used to carry IPv6 reachability information. Network layer reachability information (NLRI) update messages carry IPv6 address prefixes of feasible routes.

BGP allows for policy-based routing. You can use routing policies to choose among multiple paths to a destination and to control the redistribution of routing information.

BGP uses the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) as its transport protocol, using port 179 for establishing connections. Running over a reliable transport protocol eliminates the need for BGP to implement update fragmentation, retransmission, acknowledgment, and sequencing.

The JUNOS routing protocol software supports BGP Version 4. This version of BGP adds support for classless interdomain routing (CIDR), which eliminates the concept of network classes. Instead of assuming which bits of an address represent the network by looking at the first octet, CIDR allows you to explicitly specify the number of bits in the network address, thus providing a means to decrease the size of the routing tables. BGP Version 4 also supports aggregation of routes, including the aggregation of AS paths.

This chapter discusses the following topics that provide background information about BGP:

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