BGP Labs: Reuse BGP AS Number Across Sites

When I published theĀ Bidirectional Route Redistribution lab exercise, some readers were quick to point out that you’ll probably have to reuse the same AS number across multiple sites in a real-life MPLS/VPN deployment. That’s what you can practice in today’s lab exercise – an MPLS/VPN service provider allocated the same BGP AS number to all your sites and expects you to deal with the aftermath.

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BGP Labs: Work with FRR and Cumulus Linux

FRR or (pre-NVUE) Cumulus Linux are the best bets if you want to run BGP labs in a resource-constrained environment like your laptop or a small public cloud instance. However, they both behave a bit differently from what one might expect from a networking device, including:

  • Interfaces are created through standard Linux tools;
  • You have to start the FRR management CLI from the Linux shell;
  • If you need a routing daemon (for example, the BGP daemon), you must enable it in the FRR configuration file and restart FRR.

A new lab exercise covers these intricate details and will help you get fluent in configuring BGP on FRR or Cumulus Linux virtual machines or containers.

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BGP Labs: Override Neighbor AS Number in AS Path

When I described the need to turn off the BGP AS-path loop prevention logic in scenarios where a Service Provider expects a customer to reuse the same AS number across multiple sites, someone quipped, “but that should be fixed by the Service Provider, not offloaded to the customer.

Not surprisingly, there’s a nerd knob for that (AS override), and you can practice it in the next BGP lab exercise: Fix AS-Path in Environments Reusing BGP AS Numbers.

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BGP Labs: Use Multiple AS Numbers on the Same Router

Can you use BGP to connect to the global Internet without having a public BGP AS number? Of course, assuming your Internet Service Provider is willing to run BGP with a network using a private AS number. But what happens if you want to connect to two ISPs? It’s ridiculous to expect you’ll be able to persuade them to use the same private AS number.

That’s one of the many use cases for the local-as functionality available in most BGP implementations. You can practice it in the Use Multiple AS Numbers on the Same Router lab exercise.

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BGP Labs: Session Templates

Configuring an IBGP session on a route reflector takes a half-dozen parameters, starting with the remote BGP AS number (equal to the local one), remote IP address, and the source IP address or interface. You might have to specify the propagation of BGP communities and an MD5 password, and you will definitely have to specify that the BGP neighbor is a route reflector client.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could group those parameters into a template and apply the template to a neighbor? Most BGP implementations have something along those lines. That feature could be called a session template or a peer group, and you can practice it in the next BGP lab exercise.

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BGP Labs: Remove Private AS from AS-Path

In a previous BGP lab exercise, I described how an Internet Service Provider could run BGP with a customer without the customer having a public BGP AS number. The only drawback of that approach: the private BGP AS number gets into the AS path, and everyone else on the Internet starts giving you dirty looks (or drops your prefixes).

Let’s fix that. Most BGP implementations have some remove private AS functionality that scrubs AS paths during outgoing update processing. You can practice it in the Remove Private BGP AS Numbers from the AS Path lab exercise.

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BGP Labs: Stop the Fat-Finger Incidents

Last time, we discussed the first line of defense against fat finger incidents: limiting the number of BGP prefixes your router accepts from a BGP neighbor. However, you can do much more without deploying customer-specific filters (which might require a customer database) or ROV/RPKI.

You can practice the default filters you should always deploy on EBGP sessions with your customers in the Stop the Propagation of Configuration Errors lab exercise.

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BGP Challenge: Build BGP-Free MPLS Core Network

Here’s another challenge for BGP aficionados: build an MPLS-based transit network without BGP running on core routers.

That should be an easy task if you configured MPLS in the past, so try to spice it up a bit:

  • Use SR/MPLS instead of LDP
  • Do it on a platform you’re not familiar with (hint: Arista vEOS is a bit different from Cisco IOS)
  • Try to get it running on FRR containers.
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BGP Labs: EBGP Sessions over IPv6 LLA Interfaces

If you insist on building your network with EBGP as a better IGP, make sure your implementation supports running IPv4 and IPv6 address families over EBGP sessions established between IPv6 link-local addresses (the functionality lovingly called unnumbered EBGP sessions).

Want to practice that neat trick? Check out the EBGP Sessions over IPv6 LLA Interfaces lab exercise.

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BGP Labs: Graceful Shutdown

Using the typical default router configurations, it can take minutes between a failure of an inter-AS link and the convergence of BGP routes. You can fine-tune that behavior with BGP timers and BFD (and still get pwned by Graceful Restart). While you can’t influence link failures, you could drain the traffic from a link before starting maintenance operations on it, and it would be a shame not to do that considering there’s a standard way to do that – the GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN BGP community defined in RFC 8326. That’s what you’ll practice in the next BGP lab exercise.

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