It’s amazing how many people assume that The Internet is a thing, whereas in reality it’s a mishmash of interconnected independent operators running mostly on goodwill, misplaced trust in other people’s competence, and (sometimes) pure dumb luck.
I described a few consequences of this sad reality in the Internet Has More than One Administrator video (part of How Networks Really Work webinar), and Nick Buraglio and Elisa Jasinska provided even more details in their Surviving the Internet Default-Free Zone webinar.
As I explained in How Networks Really Work and Upcoming Internet Challenges webinars, routing security, and BGP security in particular remain one of the unsolved challenges we’ve been facing for decades (see also: what makes BGP a hot mess).
Fortunately, due to enormous efforts of a few persistent individuals BGP RPKI is getting traction (NTT just went all-in), and Flavio Luciani and Tiziano Tofoni decided to do their part creating an excellent in-depth document describing BGP RPKI theory and configuration on Cisco- and Juniper routers.
There are only two things you have to do:
- Read the document;
- Implement RPKI in your network.
Thank you, the Internet will be grateful.
After my response to the BGP is a hot mess topic, Corey Quinn graciously invited me to discuss BGP issues on his podcast. It took us a long while to set it up, but we eventually got there… and the results were published last week. Hope you’ll enjoy our chat.
As always, he started with an overview of what FRRouting is, and where you could use it.
Is your argument that the technology works as designed and any issues with it are a people problem?
A polite question like that deserves more than 280-character reply, but I tried to do my best:
BGP definitely works even better than designed. Is that good enough? Probably, and we could politely argue about that… but the root cause of most of the problems we see today (and people love to yammer about) is not the protocol or how it was designed but how sloppily it’s used.
Laura somewhat disagreed with my way of handling the issue:
A friend of mine sent me a short message including…
There is a number of products that recently arrived or are coming to market using group encryption systems for IP networks, but are (understandably) not using IPsec.
… which triggered an old itch of mine caused by the “We don’t need no IETF standards, code is king” stupidity.
A while ago Johannes Weber tweeted about an interesting challenge:
We want to advertise our AS and PI space over a single ISP connection. How would a setup look like with 2 Cisco routers, using them for hardware redundancy? Is this possible with only 1 neighboring to the ISP?
Hmm, so you have one cable and two router ports that you want to connect to that cable. There’s something wrong with this picture ;)
In Never-Ending Story of IP Fragmentation I described how you could use TCP Maximum Segment Size to minimize the impact of IP fragmentation and PMTUD blackholes (more details on TCP MSS clamping)… but one has to wonder how people use TCP MSS in the wild and what values you might see.
As is often the case, Geoff Houston found a way to measure them, and published the answer: TCP MSS Values
The last bits of updated Never-Ending Story of IP Fragmentation were published a few days ago: IP fragmentation and tunnels and summary and related blog posts, RFCs and other articles.
Every now and then I stumble upon a blog post saying “OSI 7-layer model sucks” or “OSI 7-layer model is a lie”, most recent one coming from Robert Graham.
Before going into the details, let’s agree on the fundamentals.
Most everyone who ever tried to build a network spanning more than one transmission technology and including intermediate nodes came to the conclusion that layered approach to networking makes sense.
Whether you have three, four, five, or seven layers in your model doesn’t matter. What really matters is that your model contains all the functionality you need to implement host-to-host networking in target environment.
Interested in similar topics? Check out How Networks Really Work webinar.
I was listening to a nice podcast with Nick Buraglio discussing the recent BGP hijack SNAFU impacting Cloudflare (and their reaction) and while I usually totally agree with Nick, I think that he tried to be way too nice when saying (paraphrasing) “I think Cloudflare was a bit harsh - I would prefer a more community-oriented approach along the lines of how could we help you do your job better”
A few years ago we “celebrated” 512K day - the size of the full Internet routing table exceeded 512K (for whatever value of K ;) prefixes, overflowing TCAMs in some IP routers and resulting in interesting brownouts.
We’re close to exceeding 768K mark and the beware 768K day blog posts have already started appearing. While you (RFC 2119) SHOULD check the size of your forwarding table and the maximum capabilities of your hardware, the more important question should be “Why do I need 768K forwarding entries if I’m not a Tier-1 provider”
Here’s another interesting talk from RIPE77: Routing Attacks in Cryptocurrencies explaining how BGP hijacks can impact cryptocurrencies.
TL&DR: Bitcoin is not nearly decentralized enough to be resistant to simple and relatively easy BGP manipulations.
A few years ago I got cornered by an enthusiastic academic praising the beauties of his cryptography-based system that would (after replacing the whole Internet) solve all the supposed woes we’re facing with BGP today.
His ideas were technically sound, but probably won’t ever see widespread adoption – it doesn’t matter if you have great ideas if there’s not enough motivation to implementing them (The Myths of Innovation is a mandatory reading if you’re interested in these topics).