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RFC 1074 - NSFNET backbone SPF based Interior Gateway Protocol


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Network Working Group                        J. Rekhter
Request for Comments 1074                    T.J. Watson Research Center
                                             IBM Corporation
                                             October 1988

        The NSFNET Backbone SPF based Interior Gateway Protocol

Status of this Memo

   This memo is an implementation description of the standard ANSI IS-IS
   and ISO ES-IS routing protocols within the NSFNET backbone network.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Acknowledgements

   I would like to express my thanks to Hans-Werner Braun (MERIT) for
   his contribution to this document.

1.  Overview

   This document provides an overview of the NSFNET Backbone routing
   with specific emphasis on the intra-backbone routing.

   By the end of 1987, the American National Standardization Institute
   (ANSI) forwarded a specification for an Intermediate System to
   Intermediate System routing protocol to the International
   Standardization Organizations (ISO) for the adaptation as an
   international standard.  This ANSI IS-IS protocol is used as the
   interior gateway protocol (IGP) of the NSFNET backbone.  Documented
   here is an implementation description which also includes further
   definitions that were necessary for the integration into an Internet
   Protocol (IP) environment.  Therefore, it should be viewed as a
   continuation of the specifications of the ANSI IS-IS protocol [1] and
   the ISO standard End System to Intermediate System (ES-IS) protocol
   [2].  While the ANSI IS-IS protocol suffices as an IGP, additional
   methods are used to orchestrate routing between the backbone and the
   attached mid-level networks; most notably the Exterior Gateway
   Protocol (EGP).  Further information about the overall NSFNET routing
   as well as some future aspects can be found in [3], [4], [5] and [6].

2.  A brief overview of the NSFNET backbone

   The NSFNET backbone is a wide area network which currently connects
   thirteen sites within the continental United States.  All connections
   are permanent point-to-point links at T1 speed (1.544Mbps).  These T1
   links may contain multiple logical links at sub-T1 and up to the full
   T1 speed.  The result is a hybrid circuit/packet switching network
   able to contain a connectivity-richer logical topology than the

   underlying physical topology would allow by itself.  Each site has a
   Nodal Switching Subsystem (NSS) which is responsible for packet
   switching.  Each NSS is a RISC technology based multiprocessor system
   using IBM RT/PC processors which operate a modified version of a
   4.3BSD kernel.  For the purpose of routing, each NSS is considered as
   a single entity which has connections to both other NSS (via the
   logical network infrastructure) and to regional networks (via local
   area network attachments; typically an Ethernet).

   The routing protocol which is used for the inter-NSS routing within
   the NSFNET backbone is an adaptation of the ANSI IS-IS routing
   protocol [1].  The routing protocol which is used between the
   backbone and the attached mid-level networks is the Exterior Gateway
   Protocol (EGP) [3].  The information exchange between the backbone
   and its connected EGP peers is subject to policy based routing
   restrictions which are maintained in the Policy Based Routing
   Database [4,5].

3.  An overview of the ANSI IS-IS routing document

   The ANSI IS-IS routing protocol specifies a two level hierarchical
   routing where Level 1 routing deals with routing within an area,
   while Level 2 routing deals with routing between different areas.

   This routing protocol belongs to a class of so called "Link State"
   protocols where each node maintains a complete topology of the whole
   network.  The route computation is based on a modified version of
   Dijkstra's Shortest Path First (SPF) algorithm.

   Both Level 1 and Level 2 routing use two types of Protocol Data Units
   (PDU):

        The Level 1 Router Link PDU lists IS neighbors.  The Level 1 End
        System PDU lists ES neighbors.

        The Level 2 Router Link PDU lists neighbor Level 2 routes.  The
        Level 2 End System PDU lists address prefixes for systems in
        other Routing Domains.

   The ANSI IS-IS document separates subnetwork independent functions
   from the subnetwork dependent functions.  Subnetwork independent
   functions include dissemination of Router Link and End System Link
   PDU's and the Routing Algorithm.  The subnetwork dependent functions
   cover different types of subnets such as X.25, permanent point-to-
   point links and LANs.

   The IS-IS Protocol is designed to interoperate with the End System to
   Intermediate System (ES-IS) routing exchange protocol [2].  The ES-IS

   protocol is used to determine connectivity and network layer
   addresses.  This information is used to construct the Router Link
   PDUs.

4.  How the ANSI IS-IS protocol is adapted for the NSFNET backbone
    routing

   The NSFNET backbone implements a subset of the ANSI IS-IS protocol.
   With respect to subnetwork independent functions, it only supports
   Level 2 routing.  With respect to subnetwork dependent functions, it
   only supports general topology subnetworks with permanent point-to-
   point links.  Since the ANSI IS-IS protocol is designed for ISO
   Network Service Access Point (NSAP) addresses, there is a need to
   encapsulate IP addresses into NSAP addresses.

   For this, the Initial Domain Part (IDP) is unused.  The Domain
   Specific Part (DSP) includes nine bytes which are partitioned as
   follows:

        2 bytes - administrative domain

        2 bytes - empty

        4 bytes - IP address

        1 byte  - empty

   In the ANSI IS-IS protocol, each router has its own identifier (ID)
   which is 6 bytes long.  For the NSFNET implementation, the first 2
   bytes of the ID are empty and the last four bytes include the IP
   address of a particular router.

   The NSFNET backbone PDUs (both IS-IS and IS-ES) are transmitted as a
   protocol on top of IP, with "85" being the assigned protocol number
   for this purpose.  The IS-IS PDUs are distinguished from the IS-ES
   PDUs by the Protocol Discriminator Field within the PDUs.  The IP
   fragmentation/reassembly mechanism provides support for transmission
   of up to 64 kilobytes in a single IP packet.  Within the backbone, it
   is highly unlikely that the size of IS-IS PDUs will exceed this
   limit.  Therefore, no IS-IS fragmentation/reassembly is implemented
   for this environment.  This is different from the ISO framework where
   the ISIS is located directly on top of the Data Link Layer.

   For the purpose of the NSFNET Backbone routing, each Autonomous
   System (AS) is treated as a separate Administrative Domain (AD).  The
   list of administrative domains (as obtained via EGP and filtered
   through the Policy Based Routing Database) which are connected
   directly to a particular NSS is distributed in the set of the

   partitionAreaAddresses part of the Level 2 Router Links PDU.  Each
   area address is 5 bytes long and consists of 3 empty bytes (IDP)
   followed by 2 bytes of the Administrative Domain.

   The reachability information obtained from regional networks via EGP
   is distributed within the backbone by End System PDUs.  In order to
   support multi-domain topologies, the ANSI IS-IS protocol allows for a
   set of Address Prefixes to be entered by the System Management at the
   boundary IS.  In the NSFNET Backbone, these Address Prefixes are
   obtained via the Exterior Gateway Protocol.  For each network listed
   in EGP NR packets which is received from an EGP peer, the network and
   administrative domain number of the EGP peer are encapsulated into
   NSAP addresses (as described above).  A complete NSAP address is used
   as an address prefix in the reachable address prefix neighbor part of
   the End System PDU.  The cost field in the reachable address prefix
   neighbor part of the End System PDU is derived from the Policy Based
   Routing Database maintained in each NSS.

   At each NSS, the reachability information obtained from other nodes
   (via their End System PDU's) is passed on to the mid-level network
   EGP peers, following the appropriate processing and filtering
   according to the Policy Based Routing Database.

   The Network Entity Title (NET) (which is used in the IS-ES protocol)
   is eleven bytes long and is constructed by first encapsulating an IP
   address into a NSAP address, then taking the first 11 bytes of this
   address as a NET.

5.  Current timer parameters

   The following timer parameters are currently implemented:

        Hello Interval (IS-ES Hello):  10 seconds

        Hold Time (ES-IS protocol):    40 seconds

        Other timer parameters for the IS-IS protocol are taken from  the
        section 6.3.7 of [1].

6.  References

     [1]  "Intermediate System to Intermediate System Intra-Domain
          Routing Exchange Protocol", ANSI X3S3.3/87-150R, 1987-10-29.

     [2]  "End System to Intermediate System Routing Exchange Protocol
          for use in conjunction with the Protocol for providing the
          Connectionless-Mode Network Service (ISO8473)", ISO
          JTC1/SC6/N4802R, 1988-03-26.

     [3]  Mills, D., "Exterior Gateway Formal Specification", RFC 904,
          University of Delaware, April 1984.

     [4]  Rekhter, J., "EGP and Policy Based Routing in the New NSFNET
          Backbone", IBM, March 1988.

     [5]  Braun, H-W., "The NSFNET Routing Architecture", Merit Computer
          Network, University of Michigan, April 1988.

     [6]  Braun, H-W., "NSFNET Inter Autonomous System Routing", Merit
          Computer Network, University of Michigan, September 1988.

 

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