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Graceful Restart and Routing Protocols

This section covers the following topics:


When a router enabled for BGP graceful restart restarts, it retains BGP peer routes in its forwarding table and marks them as stale. However, it continues to forward traffic to other peers (or receiving peers) during the restart. To reestablish sessions, the restarting router sets the “restart state” bit in the BGP OPEN message and sends it to all participating peers. The receiving peers reply to the restarting router with messages containing end-of-routing-table markers. When the restarting router or switch receives all replies from the receiving peers, the restarting router performs route selection, the forwarding table is updated, and the routes previously marked as stale are discarded. At this point, all BGP sessions are reestablished and the restarting peer can receive and process BGP messages as usual.

While the restarting router does its processing, the receiving peers also temporarily retain routing information. When a receiving peer detects a TCP transport reset, it retains the routes received and marks the routes as stale. After the session is reestablished with the restarting router or switch , the stale routes are replaced with updated route information.


Normally, IS-IS routers move neighbor adjacencies to the down state when changes occur. However, a router enabled for IS-IS graceful restart sends out Hello messages with the Restart Request (RR) bit set in a restart type length value (TLV) message. This indicates to neighboring routers that a graceful restart is in progress and to leave the IS-IS adjacency intact. The neighboring routers must interpret and implement restart signaling themselves. Besides maintaining the adjacency, the neighbors send complete sequence number PDUs (CSNPs) to the restarting router and flood their entire database.

The restarting router never floods any of its own link-state PDUs (LSPs), including pseudonode LSPs, to IS-IS neighbors while undergoing graceful restart. This enables neighbors to reestablish their adjacencies without transitioning to the down state and enables the restarting router to reinitiate a smooth database synchronization.


When a router enabled for OSPF graceful restart restarts, it retains routes learned before the restart in its forwarding table. The router does not allow new OSPF link-state advertisements (LSAs) to update the routing table. This router continues to forward traffic to other OSPF neighbors (or helper routers), and sends only a limited number of LSAs during the restart period. To reestablish OSPF adjacencies with neighbors, the restarting router must send a grace LSA to all neighbors. In response, the helper routers enter helper mode and send an acknowledgement back to the restarting router. If there are no topology changes, the helper routers continue to advertise LSAs as if the restarting router had remained in continuous OSPF operation.

When the restarting router receives replies from all the helper routers, the restarting router selects routes, updates the forwarding table, and discards the old routes. At this point, full OSPF adjacencies are reestablished and the restarting router receives and processes OSPF LSAs as usual. When the helper routers no longer receive grace LSAs from the restarting router or the topology of the network changes, the helper routers also resume normal operation.


For more information about the standard helper mode implementation, see RFC 3623, Graceful OSPF Restart.

Starting with Release 11.3, Junos OS supports the restart signaling-based helper mode for OSPF graceful restart configurations. The helper modes, both standard and restart signaling-based, are enabled by default. In restart signaling-based helper mode implementations, the restarting router relays the restart status to its neighbors only after the restart is complete. When the restart is complete, the restarting router sends hello messages to its helper routers with the restart signal (RS) bit set in the hello packet header. When a helper router receives a hello packet with the RS bit set in the header, the helper router returns a hello message to the restarting router. The reply hello message from the helper router contains the ResyncState flag and the ResyncTimeout timer that enable the restarting router to keep track of the helper routers that are syncing up with it. When all helpers complete the synchronization, the restarting router exits the restart mode.


For more information about restart signaling-based graceful restart helper mode implementation, see RFC 4811, OSPF Out-of-Band Link State Database (LSDB) Resynchronization, RFC 4812, OSPF Restart Signaling, and RFC 4813, OSPF Link-Local Signaling.

Restart signaling-based graceful restart helper mode is not supported for OSPFv3 configurations.

PIM Sparse Mode

PIM sparse mode uses a mechanism called a generation identifier to indicate the need for graceful restart. Generation identifiers are included by default in PIM hello messages. An initial generation identifier is created by each PIM neighbor to establish device capabilities. When one of the PIM neighbors restarts, it sends a new generation identifier to its neighbors. All neighbors that support graceful restart and are connected by point-to-point links assist by sending multicast updates to the restarting neighbor.

The restart phase completes when either the PIM state becomes stable or when the restart interval timer expires. If the neighbors do not support graceful restart or connect to each other using multipoint interfaces, the restarting router uses the restart interval timer to define the restart period.

RIP and RIPng

When a router enabled for RIP graceful restart restarts, routes that have been configured are protected. Because no helper router assists in the restart, these routes are retained in the forwarding table while the router restarts (rather than being discarded or refreshed).