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How to Monitor and Manage BGP Peering Relationships

Network operators, service providers and enterprises use BGP peering to deliver their content across the globe. While some BGP peering relationships are settlement free (i.e. they involve no fees based on near-symmetric traffic volumes being exchanged between the peers), there are others where content is delivered for a fee across Autonomous Systems (AS) operated by transit service providers. Thus, to manage costs, organizations need to monitor the traffic exchanged with their neighbors in the context of BGP peering. Here is how organizations can monitor and manage BGP peering relationships smartly.

Why Monitor BGP Peering Relationships?

There are usually two types of peering relationships between ASes. One is a provider-customer relationship, where a customer AS, which can be an enterprise or a lower tier service provider, pays fees to a Tier 1 service provider for transiting content to its destination and back. Here, the cost is relative to the volume of traffic carried by the transit service provider. The other is a peer-peer relationship, usually established between Tier 1 service providers. In a peer-peer relationship, one service provider uses the other’s routes to send traffic destined for that AS alone. In such a relationship, the receiving AS does not transit packets to another destination AS. The traffic exchanged in peer-peer relationships is near-symmetrical.

In both types, it is important to know the following:

  • Source, destination, peer and transit ASes
  • Volume of traffic sent over transit providers
  • Volume of traffic sent and received from every source, destination, peer and neighbor Autonomous System
  • The routers and interfaces in the network over which traffic is being sent
  • Next hop details
  • If the settlement-free peering traffic is near symmetrical.

In the provider-customer scenario, this information can help the customer decide if it makes sense to establish a direct peering with a content provider or use a less expensive transit provider. In a peer-peer relationship, the information can help a service provider determine if the traffic exchanged with a peer is near symmetrical and if the traffic is being sent to an external destination AS. The information can also help fight DDoS attacks by ensuring that traffic is being received only from expected source ASes and not unknown, unexpected and suspicious ASes.

How to Monitor and Manage BGP Peering Relationships

Given the financial stakes, how can network engineers and analysts monitor and optimize BGP peering relationships?

Route analytics collects IGP and BGP routing data to map the network control plane and analyze routing path behavior. When combined with traffic flow data (such as NetFlow, IPFIX, etc.), service providers and enterprises can answer the peering questions discussed earlier.

To learn more about how the combination of route and traffic analytics technologies is used to monitor and manage BGP peering relationships, watch this video.

In this demo video, we look at how service providers and network operators can use Packet Design Explorer Suite to analyze traffic behavior with BGP Peering to make informed decisions on managing their peering relationships.

Learn more about the Packet Design Solution for Peering Analysis