Capabilities Advertisement with BGP-4
RFC 2842

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (May 2000; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 3392
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IESG IESG state RFC 2842 (Proposed Standard)
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Network Working Group                                        R. Chandra
Request for Comments: 2842                        Redback Networks Inc.
Category: Standards Track                                    J. Scudder
                                                          cisco Systems
                                                               May 2000

                 Capabilities Advertisement with 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 (2000).  All Rights Reserved.


   Currently BGP-4 [BGP-4] requires that when a BGP speaker receives an
   OPEN message with one or more unrecognized Optional Parameters, the
   speaker must terminate BGP peering. This complicates introduction of
   new capabilities in BGP.

   This document defines new Optional Parameter, called Capabilities,
   that is expected to facilitate introduction of new capabilities in
   BGP by providing graceful capability advertisement without requiring
   that BGP peering be terminated.

1. Overview of Operations

   When a BGP speaker that supports capabilities advertisement sends an
   OPEN message to its BGP peer, the message may include an Optional
   Parameter, called Capabilities. The parameter lists the capabilities
   supported by the speaker.

   A BGP speaker determines the capabilities supported by its peer by
   examining the list of capabilities present in the Capabilities
   Optional Parameter carried by the OPEN message that the speaker
   receives from the peer.

   A BGP speaker that supports a particular capability may use this
   capability with its peer after the speaker determines (as described
   above) that the peer supports this capability.

Chandra & Scudder           Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 2842         Capabilities Advertisement with BGP-4          May 2000

   A BGP speaker determines that its peer doesn't support capabilities
   advertisement, if in response to an OPEN message that carries the
   Capabilities Optional Parameter, the speaker receives a NOTIFICATION
   message with the Error Subcode set to Unsupported Optional Parameter.
   In this case the speaker should attempt to re-establish a BGP
   connection with the peer without sending to the peer the Capabilities
   Optional Parameter.

   If a BGP speaker that supports a certain capability determines that
   its peer doesn't support this capability, the speaker may send a
   NOTIFICATION message to the peer, and terminate peering. The Error
   Subcode in the message is set to Unsupported Capability. The message
   should contain the capability (capabilities) that causes the speaker
   to send the message.  The decision to send the message and terminate
   peering is local to the speaker.  Such peering should not be re-
   established automatically.

2. Capabilities Optional Parameter (Parameter Type 2):

   This is an Optional Parameter that is used by a BGP speaker to convey
   to its BGP peer the list of capabilities supported by the speaker.

   The parameter contains one or more triples <Capability Code,
   Capability Length, Capability Value>, where each triple is encoded as
   shown below:

      | Capability Code (1 octet)    |
      | Capability Length (1 octet)  |
      | Capability Value (variable)  |

   The use and meaning of these fields are as follows:

      Capability Code:

         Capability Code is a one octet field that unambiguously
         identifies individual capabilities.

      Capability Length:

         Capability Length is a one octet field that contains the length
         of the Capability Value field in octets.

Chandra & Scudder           Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 2842         Capabilities Advertisement with BGP-4          May 2000

      Capability Value:

         Capability Value is a variable length field that is interpreted
         according to the value of the Capability Code field.

   A particular capability, as identified by its Capability Code, may
   occur more than once within the Optional Parameter.

3. Extensions to Error Handling

   This document defines new Error Subcode - Unsupported Capability.
   The value of this Subcode is 7. The Data field in the NOTIFICATION
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