Understanding Route-Target Membership Information Exchange

BGP peers exchange route-target membership information in the following sequence:

  1. When the BGP peers negotiate the BGP multiprotocol extensions capability during the establishment of a BGP session, they indicate support for the route-target address family by including the (AFI, SAFI) value pair for the route-target membership NLRI (RT-MEM-NLRI) attribute. This pair has an AFI value of 1 and a SAFI value of 132.
  2. If the capability is successfully negotiated, BGP speaker Router A expresses its interest in a VPN route target by advertising to its peers the RT-MEM-NLRI attribute that contains the particular route target. This attribute is represented as a prefix in the following format:

    AS number:route-target extended community/prefix length

    • AS number—Number of the originating AS
    • route-target extended community—Two-part number identifying the route target extended community. Consists of number1:number2, where:
      • number1—Autonomous system (AS) number or an IP address
      • number2—Unique integer; 32 bits if number1 is an AS number; 16 bits if number1 is an IP address
    • prefix length—Length of the prefix. A prefix less than 32 or greater than 96 is invalid. However, the prefix for the Default-RT-MEM-NLRI attribute is an exception to this rule. For the Default-RT-MEM-NLRI attribute, 0 is a valid prefix length.

    For example, 100:100:53/36 is a valid RT--MEM-NLRI.

  3. Remote peers of Router A use the route-target membership advertised by Router A to filter their VPN routes that are outbound to Router A. A peer advertises a VPN route to Router A only when one of the following conditions is true
    • Router A advertised a default route-target membership.
    • Router A advertised membership in any of the route targets associated with the VPN route.
  4. Router A then receives and processes the RT-MEM-NLRI attributes sent by its peers to determine which VPN routes it advertises to the peers.

BGP speakers advertise and withdraw the RT-MEM-NLRI attribute in MP-BGP update messages. BGP speakers ignore RT-MEM-NLRI attributes received from peers that have not successfully negotiated this capability with the speaker.

If dynamic negotiation for the route-refresh capability is enabled, BGP negotiates the route-refresh capability for the RT-MEM-AFI-SAFI address family when a peer is activated in that family. As a consequence, you can use the clear ip bgp soft command to refresh the RT-MEM-NLRI routes in the BGP speaker’s Adj-RIBs-Out table.

The usefulness of BGP VPN route-target filtering depends on the sparseness of route target membership among the VPN sites. In configurations where VPNs are members of many route target communities—that is, route target membership is dense—the amount of VPN NLRI exchange traffic is about the same regardless of whether route-target filtering is configured.

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