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Explorer Suite Version 17.3 – BGP Peering Traffic Analysis and More!

Supporting our goal to deliver new features and enhancements to our users regularly and frequently, we are happy to announce the availability of the Explorer Suite version 17.3. The major focus for this release is BGP peering traffic analysis, which will help network operators and service providers make informed decisions for BGP peering based on traffic flows.

Other enhancements in Explorer Suite version 17.3 include options to view summaries of IGP metric changes, link flap reports, L3VPN reachability by subscriber, plus support for constrained-shortest path first (CSPF) across areas when creating tunnels using the Explorer SDN Traffic Engineering application. Here are more details on some of these features and enhancements.

BGP Peering Traffic Analysis

Network operators and service providers deliver content to its intended destination by establishing BGP peering relationships with other network operators. Some of these peering relationships are settlement free, where the operators or providers involved assure that the traffic exchanged by one provider will be not greater than the traffic from the other. In other peering relationships, the transit cost is paid by the sender to the transit service provider.

In either of these relationships, it is important for the network operator to make informed peering decisions. To achieve this, they need insights into traffic behavior, such as 95th percentile, average, maximum, peak, and total rate of traffic sent and received from all source and destination ASes, transit ASes, ingress and egress interfaces as well as next-hop information. For more on peering, see these blog posts: Internet Routing 101: Tiers, Peers and More, Hot Potatoes and Network Neutrality, and Everyday BGP Peering Challenges. You can also download this technical white paper: Understanding and Optimizing BGP Peering Relationships.

Explorer Suite version 17.3 provides traffic reports in the context of BGP peering and delivers all the previously mentioned traffic reports for the last day, week, and month. This data can help the network operator see how peering traffic is transiting, find if a higher volume of traffic is being sent over expensive transit links, decide if a link needs capacity upgrades, and if the traffic being sent or received in settlement-free peering is not symmetrical.

BGP Peering Traffic Analysis

BGP Peering Report Displaying Transit AS Traffic

You can see the new BGP peering traffic analysis in v17.3 in this product demo video.

IGP Changed Metrics

Our latest release also adds enhancements to IGP reports. Route Explorer now displays IGP metric changes on links along with details of the link’s source and destination interfaces, the new and original metric, and the date and time when the metric changed. This is especially useful to ensure that planned metric changes made during scheduled maintenance have indeed taken place.

Link Flaps

In any network, a link continuously going up and down can affect data delivery and connectivity. Usually caused by Layer 1 issues such as a faulty cable, interface card or duplex mismatch, link flaps are challenging to detect and pinpoint as the root cause of a connectivity issue.

With Explorer Suite v17.3, users can see the Link Flap count – which is the number of times a link went from down to up or vice versa – from device, IGP, path, VPN, and link context pages and drill down on the Link Flap count to see the detailed list of events.

Real-time Route Map Showing Link Flaps

Real-time Route Map Showing Link Flaps

L3VPN Reachability Reports

Layer 3 VPN services are a major source of revenue for many service providers. A service provider can have hundreds of customers, each subscribing to numerous L3VPN services. Under such circumstances, reachability issues for a single L3VPN may easily be overlooked, leading to support tickets and customer dissatisfaction.

With Explorer Suite version 17.3, service providers can see an L3VPN reachability graph in percentages for all subscribers. In addition, they can see the deviation in route reachability from the baseline, number of active routes, down routes, and new routes. Service providers can thus quickly detect if any of their L3VPN subscribers have reachability issues and quickly resolve them before their customers begin to complain.

Interested to know more about BGP peering traffic analysis and other features in the Packet Design Explorer Suite?

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