Network Working Group                                           T. Bates
Request for Comments: 2283                                 Cisco Systems
Category: Standards Track                                     R. Chandra
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                                 D. Katz
                                                        Juniper Networks
                                                              Y. Rekhter
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                           February 1998


                   Multiprotocol Extensions for 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.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

2. Abstract

   Currently BGP-4 [BGP-4] is capable of carrying routing information
   only for IPv4 [IPv4]. This document defines extensions to BGP-4 to
   enable it to carry routing information for multiple Network Layer
   protocols (e.g., IPv6, IPX, etc...). The extensions are backward
   compatible - a router that supports the extensions can interoperate
   with a router that doesn't support the extensions.

3. Overview

   The only three pieces of information carried by BGP-4 that are IPv4
   specific are (a) the NEXT_HOP attribute (expressed as an IPv4
   address), (b) AGGREGATOR (contains an IPv4 address), and (c) NLRI
   (expressed as IPv4 address prefixes). This document assumes that any
   BGP speaker (including the one that supports multiprotocol
   capabilities defined in this document) has to have an IPv4 address
   (which will be used, among other things, in the AGGREGATOR
   attribute). Therefore, to enable BGP-4 to support routing for
   multiple Network Layer protocols the only two things that have to be
   added to BGP-4 are (a) the ability to associate a particular Network
   Layer protocol with the next hop information, and (b) the ability to
   associated a particular Network Layer protocol with NLRI. To identify



Bates, et. al.              Standards Track                     [Page 1]

RFC 2283           Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4      February 1998


   individual Network Layer protocols this document uses Address Family,
   as defined in [RFC1700].

   One could further observe that the next hop information (the
   information provided by the NEXT_HOP attribute) is meaningful (and
   necessary) only in conjunction with the advertisements of reachable
   destinations - in conjunction with the advertisements of unreachable
   destinations (withdrawing routes from service) the next hop
   information is meaningless. This suggests that the advertisement of
   reachable destinations should be grouped with the advertisement of
   the next hop to be used for these destinations, and that the
   advertisement of reachable destinations should be segregated from the
   advertisement of unreachable destinations.

   To provide backward compatibility, as well as to simplify
   introduction of the multiprotocol capabilities into BGP-4 this
   document uses two new attributes, Multiprotocol Reachable NLRI
   (MP_REACH_NLRI), and Multiprotocol Unreachable NLRI
   (MP_UNREACH_NLRI). The first one (MP_REACH_NLRI) is used to carry the
   set of reachable destinations together with the next hop information
   to be used for forwarding to these destinations. The second one
   (MP_UNREACH_NLRI) is used to carry the set of unreachable
   destinations.  Both of these attributes are optional and non-
   transitive.  This way a BGP speaker that doesn't support the
   multiprotocol capabilities will just ignore the information carried
   in these attributes, and will not pass it to other BGP speakers.

4. Multiprotocol Reachable NLRI - MP_REACH_NLRI (Type Code 14):

   This is an optional non-transitive attribute that can be used for the
   following purposes:

      (a) to advertise a feasible route to a peer

      (b) to permit a router to advertise the Network Layer address of
      the router that should be used as the next hop to the destinations
      listed in the Network Layer Reachability Information field of the
      MP_NLRI attribute.

      (c) to allow a given router to report some or all of the
      Subnetwork Points of Attachment (SNPAs) that exist within the
      local system

   The attribute contains one or more triples 
, where each triple is encoded as shown below: Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 2] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Address Family Identifier (2 octets) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Subsequent Address Family Identifier (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Length of Next Hop Network Address (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Network Address of Next Hop (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Number of SNPAs (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Length of first SNPA(1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | First SNPA (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Length of second SNPA (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Second SNPA (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | ... | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Length of Last SNPA (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Last SNPA (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Network Layer Reachability Information (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ The use and meaning of these fields are as follows: Address Family Identifier: This field carries the identity of the Network Layer protocol associated with the Network Address that follows. Presently defined values for this field are specified in RFC1700 (see the Address Family Numbers section). Subsequent Address Family Identifier: This field provides additional information about the type of the Network Layer Reachability Information carried in the attribute. Length of Next Hop Network Address: A 1 octet field whose value expresses the length of the "Network Address of Next Hop" field as measured in octets Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 3] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 Network Address of Next Hop: A variable length field that contains the Network Address of the next router on the path to the destination system Number of SNPAs: A 1 octet field which contains the number of distinct SNPAs to be listed in the following fields. The value 0 may be used to indicate that no SNPAs are listed in this attribute. Length of Nth SNPA: A 1 octet field whose value expresses the length of the "Nth SNPA of Next Hop" field as measured in semi-octets Nth SNPA of Next Hop: A variable length field that contains an SNPA of the router whose Network Address is contained in the "Network Address of Next Hop" field. The field length is an integral number of octets in length, namely the rounded-up integer value of one half the SNPA length expressed in semi-octets; if the SNPA contains an odd number of semi-octets, a value in this field will be padded with a trailing all-zero semi-octet. Network Layer Reachability Information: A variable length field that lists NLRI for the feasible routes that are being advertised in this attribute. When the Subsequent Address Family Identifier field is set to one of the values defined in this document, each NLRI is encoded as specified in the "NLRI encoding" section of this document. The next hop information carried in the MP_REACH_NLRI path attribute defines the Network Layer address of the border router that should be used as the next hop to the destinations listed in the MP_NLRI attribute in the UPDATE message. When advertising a MP_REACH_NLRI attribute to an external peer, a router may use one of its own interface addresses in the next hop component of the attribute, provided the external peer to which the route is being advertised shares a common subnet with the next hop address. This is known as a "first party" next hop. A BGP speaker can advertise to an external peer an interface of any internal peer router in the next hop component, provided the external peer to which the route is being advertised shares a common subnet with the next hop address. This is known as a "third party" next hop information. A BGP speaker can advertise any external peer router in the next hop component, Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 4] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 provided that the Network Layer address of this border router was learned from an external peer, and the external peer to which the route is being advertised shares a common subnet with the next hop address. This is a second form of "third party" next hop information. Normally the next hop information is chosen such that the shortest available path will be taken. A BGP speaker must be able to support disabling advertisement of third party next hop information to handle imperfectly bridged media or for reasons of policy. A BGP speaker must never advertise an address of a peer to that peer as a next hop, for a route that the speaker is originating. A BGP speaker must never install a route with itself as the next hop. When a BGP speaker advertises the route to an internal peer, the advertising speaker should not modify the next hop information associated with the route. When a BGP speaker receives the route via an internal link, it may forward packets to the next hop address if the address contained in the attribute is on a common subnet with the local and remote BGP speakers. An UPDATE message that carries the MP_REACH_NLRI must also carry the ORIGIN and the AS_PATH attributes (both in EBGP and in IBGP exchanges). Moreover, in IBGP exchanges such a message must also carry the LOCAL_PREF attribute. If such a message is received from an external peer, the local system shall check whether the leftmost AS in the AS_PATH attribute is equal to the autonomous system number of the peer than sent the message. If that is not the case, the local system shall send the NOTIFICATION message with Error Code UPDATE Message Error, and the Error Subcode set to Malformed AS_PATH. 5. Multiprotocol Unreachable NLRI - MP_UNREACH_NLRI (Type Code 15): This is an optional non-transitive attribute that can be used for the purpose of withdrawing multiple unfeasible routes from service. The attribute contains one or more triples
, where each triple is encoded as shown below: +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Address Family Identifier (2 octets) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Subsequent Address Family Identifier (1 octet) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ | Withdrawn Routes (variable) | +---------------------------------------------------------+ Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 5] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 The use and the meaning of these fields are as follows: Address Family Identifier: This field carries the identity of the Network Layer protocol associated with the NLRI that follows. Presently defined values for this field are specified in RFC1700 (see the Address Family Numbers section). Subsequent Address Family Identifier: This field provides additional information about the type of the Network Layer Reachability Information carried in the attribute. Withdrawn Routes: A variable length field that lists NLRI for the routes that are being withdrawn from service. When the Subsequent Address Family Identifier field is set to one of the values defined in this document, each NLRI is encoded as specified in the "NLRI encoding" section of this document. An UPDATE message that contains the MP_UNREACH_NLRI is not required to carry any other path attributes. 6. NLRI encoding The Network Layer Reachability information is encoded as one or more 2-tuples of the form , whose fields are described below: +---------------------------+ | Length (1 octet) | +---------------------------+ | Prefix (variable) | +---------------------------+ The use and the meaning of these fields are as follows: a) Length: The Length field indicates the length in bits of the address prefix. A length of zero indicates a prefix that matches all (as specified by the address family) addresses (with prefix, itself, of zero octets). Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 6] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 b) Prefix: The Prefix field contains address prefixes followed by enough trailing bits to make the end of the field fall on an octet boundary. Note that the value of trailing bits is irrelevant. 7. Subsequent Address Family Identifier This document defines the following values for the Subsequent Address Family Identifier field carried in the MP_REACH_NLRI and MP_UNREACH_NLRI attributes: 1 - Network Layer Reachability Information used for unicast forwarding 2 - Network Layer Reachability Information used for multicast forwarding 3 - Network Layer Reachability Information used for both unicast and multicast forwarding This document reserves values 128-255 for vendor-specific applications. This document reserves value 0. Subsequent Address Family Identifiers (other than those reserved for vendor specific use) are assigned only by the IETF consensus process and IESG approval. 8. Security Considerations This extension to BGP does not change the underlying security issues. 9. Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank members of the IDR Working Group for their review and comments. Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 7] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 10. References [BGP-4] Rekhter, Y., and T. Li, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 1771, March 1995. [IPv4] Postel, J., "Internet Protocol", STD 5, RFC 791, September 1981. [RFC1700] Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers," STD 2, RFC 1700, October 1994. (see also http://www.iana.org/iana/assignments.html) 11. Author Information Tony Bates Cisco Systems, Inc. 170 West Tasman Drive San Jose, CA 95134 EMail: tbates@cisco.com Ravi Chandra Cisco Systems, Inc. 170 West Tasman Drive San Jose, CA 95134 EMail: rchandra@cisco.com Dave Katz Juniper Networks, Inc. 3260 Jay St. Santa Clara, CA 95054 EMail: dkatz@jnx.com Yakov Rekhter Cisco Systems, Inc. 170 West Tasman Drive San Jose, CA 95134 EMail: yakov@cisco.com Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 8] RFC 2283 Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4 February 1998 12. Full Copyright Statement Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998). All Rights Reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than English. The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Bates, et. al. Standards Track [Page 9]