A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)
RFC 1654

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (July 1994; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1771
Authors Yakov Rekhter  , Tony Li 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                         Y. Rekhter
Request for Comments: 1654        T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corp.
Category: Standards Track                                          T. Li
                                                           cisco Systems
                                                               July 1994

                  A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1. Acknowledgements

   This document was originally published as RFC 1267 in October 1991,
   jointly authored by Kirk Lougheed (cisco Systems) and Yakov Rekhter

   We would like to express our thanks to Guy Almes (Rice University),
   Len Bosack (cisco Systems), and Jeffrey C. Honig (Cornell University)
   for their contributions to the earlier version of this document.

   We like to explicitly thank Bob Braden (ISI) for the review of the
   earlier version of this document as well as his constructive and
   valuable comments.

   We would also like to thank Bob Hinden, Director for Routing of the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group, and the team of reviewers he
   assembled to review the previous version (BGP-2) of this document.
   This team, consisting of Deborah Estrin, Milo Medin, John Moy, Radia
   Perlman, Martha Steenstrup, Mike St. Johns, and Paul Tsuchiya, acted
   with a strong combination of toughness, professionalism, and

   This updated version of the document is the product of the IETF BGP
   Working Group with Yakov Rekhter and Tony Li as editors. Certain
   sections of the document borrowed heavily from IDRP [7], which is the
   OSI counterpart of BGP. For this credit should be given to the ANSI
   X3S3.3 group chaired by Lyman Chapin (BBN) and to Charles Kunzinger
   (IBM Corp.) who was the IDRP editor within that group.  We would also
   like to thank Mike Craren (Proteon, Inc.), Dimitry Haskin
   (Wellfleet), John Krawczyk (Wellfleet), and Paul Traina (cisco) for

Rekhter & Li                                                    [Page 1]
RFC 1654                         BGP-4                         July 1994

   their insightful comments.

   We would like to specially acknowledge numerous contributions by
   Dennis Ferguson (ANS).

2.  Introduction

   The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is an inter-Autonomous System
   routing protocol.  It is built on experience gained with EGP as
   defined in RFC 904 [1] and EGP usage in the NSFNET Backbone as
   described in RFC 1092 [2] and RFC 1093 [3].

   The primary function of a BGP speaking system is to exchange network
   reachability information with other BGP systems.  This network
   reachability information includes information on the list of
   Autonomous Systems (ASs) that reachability information traverses.
   This information is sufficient to construct a graph of AS
   connectivity from which routing loops may be pruned and some policy
   decisions at the AS level may be enforced.

   BGP-4 provides a new set of mechanisms for supporting classless
   interdomain routing.  These mechanisms include support for
   advertising an IP prefix and eliminates the concept of network
   "class" within BGP.  BGP-4 also introduces mechanisms which allow
   aggregation of routes, including aggregation of AS paths.  These
   changes provide support for the proposed supernetting scheme [8, 9].

   To characterize the set of policy decisions that can be enforced
   using BGP, one must focus on the rule that a BGP speaker advertise to
   its peers (other BGP speakers which it communicates with) in
   neighboring ASs only those routes that it itself uses.  This rule
   reflects the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm generally used throughout
   the current Internet.  Note that some policies cannot be supported by
   the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm and thus require techniques such as
   source routing to enforce.  For example, BGP does not enable one AS
   to send traffic to a neighboring AS intending that the traffic take a
   different route from that taken by traffic originating in the
   neighboring AS.  On the other hand, BGP can support any policy
   conforming to the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm.  Since the current
   Internet uses only the "hop-by-hop" routing paradigm and since BGP
   can support any policy that conforms to that paradigm, BGP is highly
   applicable as an inter-AS routing protocol for the current Internet.

   A more complete discussion of what policies can and cannot be
   enforced with BGP is outside the scope of this document (but refer to
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