Internet Engineering Task Force                        Curtis Villamizar
INTERNET-DRAFT                                                       ANS
draft-ietf-idr-route-damp-02                               Ravi Chandra
                                                        Ramesh Govindan
                                                      February 15, 1998

                          BGP Route Flap Damping

Status of this Memo

  This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
  documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
  and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
  working documents as Internet-Drafts.

  Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
  and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
  time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet- Drafts as reference
  material or to cite them other than as ``work in progress.''

  To view the entire list of current Internet-Drafts, please check the
  ``1id-abstracts.txt'' listing contained in the Internet-Drafts Shadow
  Directories on (Africa), (Europe), (Pacific Rim), (US East Coast), or (US West Coast).


  A usage of the BGP routing protocol is described which is capable of
  reducing the routing traffic passed on to routing peers and therefore
  the load on these peers without adversely affecting route convergence
  time for relatively stable routes.  This technique has been
  implemented in commercial products supporting BGP. The technique is
  also applicable to IDRP.

  The overall goals are:

  o  to provide a mechanism capable of reducing router processing load

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     caused by instability

  o  in doing so prevent sustained routing oscillations

  o  to do so without sacrificing route convergence time for generally
     well behaved routes.

  This must be accomplished keeping other goals of BGP in mind:

  o  pack changes into a small number of updates

  o  preserve consistent routing

  o  minimal addition space and computational overhead

  An excessive rate of update to the advertised reachability of a subset
  of Internet prefixes has been widespread in the Internet.  This
  observation was made in the early 1990s by many people involved in
  Internet operations and remains the case.  These excessive updates are
  not necessarily periodic so route oscillation would be a misleading
  term.  The informal term used to describe this effect is ``route
  flap''.  The techniques described here are now widely deployed and are
  commonly referred to as ``route flap damping''.

1  Overview

  To maintain scalability of a routed internet, it is necessary to
  reduce the amount of change in routing state propagated by BGP in
  order to limit processing requirements.  The primary contributors of
  processing load resulting from BGP updates are the BGP decision
  process and adding and removing forwarding entries.

  Consider the following example.  A widely deployed BGP implementation
  may tend to fail due to high routing update volume.  For example, it
  may be unable to maintain it's BGP or IGP sessions if sufficiently
  loaded.  The failure of one router can further contribute to the load
  on other routers.  This additional load may cause failures in other
  instances of the same implementation or other implementations with a
  similar weakness.  In the worst case, a stable oscillation could
  result.  Such worse cases have already been observed in practice.

  A BGP implementation must be prepared for a large volume of routing
  traffic.  A BGP implementation cannot rely upon the sender to
  sufficiently shield it from route instabilities.  The guidelines here

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 2]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  are designed to prevent sustained oscillations, but do not eliminate
  the need for robust and efficient implementations.  The mechanisms
  described here allow routing instability to be contained at an AS
  border router bordering the instability.

  Even where BGP implementations are highly robust, the performance of
  the routing process is limited.  Limiting the propagation of
  unnecessary change then becomes an issue of maintaining reasonable
  route change convergence time as a routing topology grows.

2  Methods of Limiting Route Advertisement

  Two methods of controlling the frequency of route advertisement are
  described here.  The first involves fixed timers.  The fixed timer
  technique has no space overhead per route but has the disadvantage of
  slowing route convergence for the normal case where a route does not
  have a history of instability.  The second method overcomes this
  limitation at the expense of maintaining some additional space
  overhead.  The additional overhead includes a small amount of state
  per route and a very small processing overhead.

  It is possible and desirable to combine both techniques.  In practice,
  fixed timers have been set to very short time intervals and have
  proven useful to pack routes (NLRI) into a smaller number of updates
  when routes arrive in separate updates.

  Seldom are fixed timers set to the tens of minutes to hours that would
  be necessary to actually damp route flap.  To do so would produce the
  undesirable effect of severely limiting routing convergence.

2.1  Existing Fixed Timer Recommendations

  BGP-3 does not make specific recommendations in this area [1].  The
  short section entitled ``Frequency of Route Selection'' simply
  recommends that something be done and makes broad statements regarding
  certain properties that are desirable or undesirable.

  BGP4 retains the ``Frequency of Route Advertisement'' section and adds
  a ``Frequency of Route Origination'' section.  BGP-4 describes a
  method of limiting route advertisement involving a fixed
  (configurable) MinRouteAdvertisementInterval timer and fixed
  MinASOriginationInterval timer [5].  The recommended timer values of
  MinRouteAdvertisementInterval is 30 seconds and
  MinASOriginationInterval is 15 seconds.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 3]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

2.2  Desirable Properties of Damping Algorithms

  Before describing damping algorithms the objectives need to be clearly
  defined.  Some key properties are examined to clarify the design

  The overall objective is to reduce the route update load without
  limiting convergence time for well behaved routes.  To accomplish
  this, criteria must be defined for well behaved and poorly behaved
  routes.  An algorithm must be defined which allows poorly behaved
  routes to be identified.  Ideally, this measure would be a prediction
  of the future stability of a route.

  Any delay in propagation of well behaved routes should be minimal.
  Some delay is tolerable to support better packing of updates.  Delay
  of poorly behave routes should, if possible, be proportional to a
  measure of the expected future instability of the route.  Delay in
  propagating an unstable route should cause the unstable route to be
  suppressed until there is some degree of confidence that the route has

  If a large number of route changes are received in separate updates
  over some very short period of time and these updates have the
  potential to be combined into a single update then these should be
  packed as efficiently as possible before propagating further.  Some
  small delay in propagating well behaved routes is tolerable and is
  necessary to allow better packing of updates.

  Where routes are unstable, use and announcement of the routes should
  be suppressed rather than suppressing their removal.  Where one route
  to a destination is stable, and another route to the same destination
  is somewhat unstable, if possible, the unstable route should be
  suppressed more aggressively than if there were no alternate path.

  Routing consistency within an AS is very important.  Only very minimal
  delay of internal BGP (IBGP) should be done.  Routing consistency
  across AS boundaries is also very important.  It is highly undesirable
  to advertise a route that is different from the route that is being
  used, except for a very minimal time.  It is more desirable to
  suppress the acceptance of a route (and therefore the use of that
  route in the IGP) rather than suppress only the redistribution.

  It is clearly not possible to accurately predict the future stability
  of a route.  The recent history of stability is generally regarded as
  a good basis for estimating the likelihood of future stability.  The
  criteria that is used to distinguish well behaved from poorly behaved
  routes is therefore based on the recent history of stability of the
  route.  There is no simple quantitative expression of recent stability
  so a figure of merit must be defined.  Some desirable characteristics
  of this figure of merit would be that the farther in the past that

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 4]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  instability occurred, the less it's affect on the figure of merit and
  that the instability measure would be cumulative rather than
  reflecting only the most recent event.

  The algorithms should behave such that for routes which have a history
  of stability but make a few transitions, those transitions should be
  made quickly.  If transitions continue, advertisement of the route
  should be suppressed.  There should be some memory of prior instabil-
  ity.  The degree to which prior instability is considered should be
  gradually reduced as long as the route remains announced and stable.

2.3  Design Choices

  After routes have been accepted their readvertisement will be briefly
  suppressed to improve packing of updates.  There may be a lengthy
  suppression of the acceptance of an external route.  How long a route
  will be suppressed is based on a figure of merit that is expected to
  be correlated to the probability of future instability of a route.
  Routes with high figure of merit values will be suppressed.  An
  exponential decay algorithm was chosen as the basis for reducing the
  figure of merit over time.  These choices should be viewed as
  suggestions for implementation.

  An exponential decay function has the property that previous
  instability can be remembered for a fairly long time.  The rate at
  which the instability figure of merit decays slows as time goes on.
  Exponential decay has the following property.

        f(f(figure-of-merit, t1), t2) = f(figure-of-merit, t1+t2)

  This property allows the decay for a long period to be computed in a
  single operation regardless of the current value (figure-of-merit).
  As a performance optimization, the decay can be applied in fixed time
  increments.  Given a desired decay half life, the decay for a single
  time increment can be computed ahead of time.  The decay for multiple
  time increments is expressed below.

        f(figure-of-merit, n*t0) = f(figure-of-merit, t0)**n = K**n

  The values of K ** n can be precomputed for a reasonable number of
  ``n'' and stored in an array.  The value of ``K'' is always less than

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 5]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  one.  The array size can be bounded since the value quickly approaches
  zero.  This makes the decay easy to compute using an array bound
  check, an array lookup and a single multiply regardless as to how much
  time has elapsed.

3  Limiting Route Advertisements using Fixed Timers

  This method of limiting route advertisements involves the use of fixed
  timers applied to the process of sending routes.  It's primary purpose
  is to improve the packing of routes in BGP update messages.  The delay
  in advertising a stable route should be bounded and minimal.  The
  delay in advertising an unreachable need not be zero, but should also
  be bounded and should probably have a separate bound set less than or
  equal to the bound for a reachable advertisement.

  Routes that need to be readvertised can be marked in the RIB or an
  external set of structures maintained, which references the RIB.
  Periodically, a subset of the marked routes can be flushed.  This is
  fairly straightforward and accomplishes the objectives.  Computation
  for too simple an implementation may be order N squared.  To avoid N
  squared performance, some form of data structure is needed to group
  routes with common attributes.

  An implementation should pack updates efficiently, provide a minimum
  readvertisement delay, provide a bounds on the maximum readvertisement
  delay that would be experienced solely as a result of the algorithm
  used to provide a minimum delay, and must be computationally efficient
  in the presence of a very large number of candidates for

4  Stability Sensitive Suppression of Route Advertisement

  This method of limiting route advertisements uses a measure of route
  stability applied on a per route basis.  This technique is applied
  when receiving updates from external peers only (EBGP). Applying this
  technique to IBGP learned routes or to advertisement to IBGP or EBGP
  peers after making a route selection can result in routing loops.

  A figure of merit based on a measure of instability is maintained on a
  per route basis.  This figure of merit is used in the decision to
  suppress the use of the route.  Routes with high figure of merit are
  suppressed.  Each time a route is withdrawn, the figure of merit is
  incremented.  While the route is not changing the figure of merit
  value is decayed exponentially with separate decay rates depending on
  whether the route is stable and reachable or has been stable and
  unreachable.  The decay rate may be slower when the route is unreach-

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 6]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  able, or the stability figure of merit could remain fixed (not decay
  at all) while the route remains unreachable.  Whether to decay un-
  reachable routes at the same rate, a slower rate, or not at all is an im-
  plementation choice.  Decaying at a slower rate is recommended.

  A very efficient implementation is suggested in the following
  sections.  The implementation only requires computation for the routes
  contained in an update, when an update is received or withdrawn (as
  opposed to the simplistic approach of periodically decaying each
  route).  The suggested implementation involves only a small number of
  simple operations, and can be implemented using scaled integers.

  The behavior of unstable routes is fairly predictable.  Severely
  flapping routes will often be advertised and withdrawn at regular time
  intervals corresponding to the timers of a particular protocol (the
  IGP or exterior protocol in use where the problem exists).  Marginal
  circuits or mild congestion can result in a long term pattern of
  occasional brief route withdrawal or occasional brief connectivity.

4.1  Single vs.  Multiple Configuration Parameter Sets

  The behavior of the algorithm is modified by a number of configurable
  parameters.  It is possible to configure separate sets of parameters
  designed to handle short term severe route flap and chronic milder
  route flap (a pattern of occasional drops over a long time period).
  The former would require a fast decay and low threshold (allowing a
  small number of consecutive flaps to cause a route to be suppressed,
  but allowing it to be reused after a relatively short period of
  stability).  The latter would require a very slow decay and a higher
  threshold and might be appropriate for routes for which there was an
  alternate path of similar bandwidth.

  It may also be desirable to configure different thresholds for routes
  with roughly equivalent alternate paths than for routes where the
  alternate paths have a lower bandwidth or tend to be congested.  This
  can be solved by associating a different set of parameters with
  different ranges of preference values.  Parameter selection could be
  based on BGP LOCAL_PREF.

  Parameter selection could also be based on whether an alternate route
  was known.  A route would be considered if, for any applicable
  parameter set, an alternate route with the specified preference value
  existed and the figure of merit associated with the parameter set did
  not indicate a need to suppress the route.  A less aggressive
  suppression would be applied to the case where no alternate route at
  all existed.  In the simplest case, a more aggressive suppression
  would be applied if any alternate route existed.  Only the highest
  preference (most preferred) value needs to be specified, since the
  ranges may overlap.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 7]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  It might also be desirable to configure a different set of thresholds
  for routes which rely on switched services and may disconnect at times
  to reduce connect charges.  Such routes might be expected to change
  state somewhat more often, but should be suppressed if continuous
  state changes indicate instability.

  While not essential, it might be desirable to be able to configure
  multiple sets of configuration parameters per route.  It may also be
  desirable to be able to configure sets of parameters that only
  correspond to a set of routes (identified by AS path, peer router,
  specific destinations or other means).  Experience may dictate how
  much flexibility is needed and how to best to set the parameters.
  Whether to allow different damping parameter sets for different
  routes, and whether to allow multiple figures of merit per route is an
  implementation choice.

  Parameter selection can also be based on prefix length.  The rationale
  is that longer prefixes tend to reach less end systems and are less
  important and these less important prefixes can be damped more
  aggressively.  This technique is in fairly widespread use.  Small
  sites or those with dense address allocation who are multihomed are
  often reachable by long prefixes which are not easily aggregated.
  These sites tend to dispute the choice of prefix length for parameter
  selection.  Advocates of the technique point out that it encourages
  better aggregation.

4.2  Configuration Parameters

  At configuration time, a number of parameters may be specified by the
  user.  The configuration parameters are expressed in units meaningful
  to the user.  These differ from the parameters used at run time which
  are in unit convenient for computation.  The run time parameters are
  derived from the configuration parameters.  Suggested configuration
  parameters are listed below.

cutoff threshold (cut)

     This value is expressed as a number of route withdrawals.  It is
     the value above which a route advertisement will be suppressed.

reuse threshold (reuse)

     This value is expressed as a number of route withdrawals.  It is
     the value below which a suppressed route will now be used again.

maximum hold down time (T-hold)

     This value is the maximum time a route can be suppressed no matter

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 8]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     how unstable it has been prior to this period of stability.

decay half life while reachable (decay-ok)

     This value is the time duration in minutes or seconds during which
     the accumulated stability figure of merit will be reduced by half
     if the route if considered reachable (whether suppressed or not).

decay half life while unreachable (decay-ng)

     This value is the time duration in minutes or seconds during which
     the accumulated stability figure of merit will be reduced by half
     if the route if considered unreachable.  If not specified or set to
     zero, no decay will occur while a route remains unreachable.

decay memory limit (Tmax-ok or Tmax-ng)

     This is the maximum time that any memory of previous instability
     will be retained given that the route's state remains unchanged,
     whether reachable or unreachable.  This parameter is generally used
     to determine array sizes.

  There may be multiple sets of the parameters above as described in
  Section 4.1.  The configuration parameters listed below would be
  applied system wide.  These include the time granularity of all
  computations, and the parameters used to control reevaluation of
  routes that have previously been suppressed.

time granularity (delta-t)

     This is the time granularity in seconds used to perform all decay

reuse list time granularity (delta-reuse)

     This is the time interval between evaluations of the reuse lists.
     Each reuse lists corresponds to an additional time increment.

reuse list memory reuse-list-max

     This is the time value corresponding to the last reuse list.  This
     may be the maximum value of T-hold for all parameter sets of may be

number of reuse lists (reuse-list-size)

     This is the number of reuse lists.  It may be determined from
     reuse-list-max or set explicitly.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998       [Page 9]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  A necessary optimization is described in Section 4.8.6 that involves
  an array referred to as the ``reuse index array''.  A reuse index
  array is needed for each decay rate in use.  The reuse index array is
  used to estimate which reuse list to place a route when it is
  suppressed.  Proper placement avoids the need to periodically evaluate
  decay to determine if a route can be reused.  Using the reuse index
  array avoids the need to compute a logarithm to determine placement.
  One additional system wide parameter can be introduced.

reuse index array size (reuse-index-array-size)

     This is the size of reuse index arrays.  This size determines the
     accuracy with which suppressed routes can be placed within the set
     of reuse lists when suppressed for a long time.

4.3  Guidelines for Setting Parameters

  The decay half life should be set to a time considerably longer than
  the period of the route flap it is intended to address.  For example,
  if the decay is set to ten minutes and a route is withdrawn and
  readvertised exactly every ten minutes, the route would continue to
  flap if the cutoff was set to a value of 2 or above.

  The stability figure of merit itself is an accumulated time decayed
  total.  This must be kept in mind in setting the decay time, cutoff
  values and reuse values.  For example, if a route flaps at four times
  the decay rate, it will reach 3 in 4 cycles, 4 in 6 cycles, 5 in 10
  cycles, and will converge at about 6.3.  At twice the decay time, it
  will reach 3 in 7 cycles, and converge at a value of less than 3.5.

  Figure 1 shows the stability figure of merit for route flap at a
  constant rate.  The time axis is labeled in multiples of the decay
  half life.  The plots represent route flap with a period of 1/2, 1/3,
  1/4, and 1/8 times the decay half life.  A ceiling of 4.5 was set,
  which can be seen to affect three of the plots, effectively limiting
  the time it takes to readvertise the route regardless of the prior
  history.  With the cutoff and reuse thresholds suggested by the dotted
  lines, routes would be suppressed after being declared unreachable 2-3
  times and be used again after approximately 2 decay half life periods
  of stability.

  From either maximum hold time value (Tmax-ok or Tmax-ng), a ratio of
  the cutoff to a ceiling can be determined.  An integer value for the
  ceiling can then be chosen such that overflow will not be a problem
  and all other values can be scaled accordingly.  If both cutoffs are
  specified or if multiple parameter sets are used the highest ceiling
  will be used.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 10]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     time      figure-of-merit as a function of time

     0.00    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.08    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.16    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.973  .
     0.24    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.920  .
     0.32    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.946  .        1.817    .
     0.40    0.000 .         0.953  .        0.895  .        2.698     .
     0.48    0.000 .         0.901  .        0.847  .        2.552     .
     0.56    0.953  .        0.853  .        1.754    .      3.367      .
     0.64    0.901  .        0.807  .        1.659   .       4.172        .
     0.72    0.853  .        1.722    .      1.570   .       3.947        .
     0.80    0.807  .        1.629   .       2.444     .     4.317        .
     0.88    0.763  .        1.542   .       2.312     .     4.469        .
     0.96    0.722  .        1.458   .       2.188    .      4.228        .
     1.04    1.649   .       2.346     .     3.036      .    4.347        .
     1.12    1.560   .       2.219    .      2.872      .    4.112        .
     1.20    1.476   .       2.099    .      2.717     .     4.257        .
     1.28    1.396   .       1.986    .      3.543       .   4.377        .
     1.36    1.321   .       2.858      .    3.352      .    4.141        .
     1.44    1.250   .       2.704     .     3.171      .    4.287        .
     1.52    2.162    .      2.558     .     3.979        .  4.407        .
     1.60    2.045    .      2.420     .     3.765       .   4.170        .
     1.68    1.935    .      3.276      .    3.562       .   4.317        .
     1.76    1.830    .      3.099      .    4.356        .  4.438        .
     1.84    1.732    .      2.932      .    4.121        .  4.199        .
     1.92    1.638   .       2.774     .     3.899       .   3.972        .
     2.00    1.550   .       2.624     .     3.688       .   3.758       .
     2.08    1.466   .       2.483     .     3.489       .   3.555       .
     2.16    1.387   .       2.349     .     3.301      .    3.363      .
     2.24    1.312   .       2.222    .      3.123      .    3.182      .
     2.32    1.242   .       2.102    .      2.955      .    3.010      .
     2.40    1.175   .       1.989    .      2.795     .     2.848      .
     2.48    1.111  .        1.882    .      2.644     .     2.694     .
     2.56    1.051  .        1.780    .      2.502     .     2.549     .
     2.64    0.995  .        1.684   .       2.367     .     2.411     .
     2.72    0.941  .        1.593   .       2.239    .      2.281     .
     2.80    0.890  .        1.507   .       2.118    .      2.158    .
     2.88    0.842  .        1.426   .       2.004    .      2.042    .
     2.96    0.797  .        1.349   .       1.896    .      1.932    .
     3.04    0.754  .        1.276   .       1.794    .      1.828    .
     3.12    0.713  .        1.207   .       1.697    .      1.729    .
     3.20    0.675  .        1.142   .       1.605   .       1.636   .
     3.28    0.638  .        1.081  .        1.519   .       1.547   .
     3.36    0.604  .        1.022  .        1.437   .       1.464   .
     3.44    0.571  .        0.967  .        1.359   .       1.385   .

    Figure 1:  Instability figure of merit for flap at a constant rate

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 11]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     time      figure-of-merit as a function of time

     0.00    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.20    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.40    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.60    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.80    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     1.00    0.999  .        0.999  .        0.999  .
     1.20    0.971  .        0.971  .        0.929  .
     1.40    0.945  .        0.945  .        0.809  .
     1.60    0.919  .        0.865  .        0.704  .
     1.80    0.894  .        0.753  .        0.613  .
     2.00    1.812    .      1.657   .       1.535   .
     2.20    1.762    .      1.612   .       1.428   .
     2.40    1.714    .      1.568   .       1.244   .
     2.60    1.667   .       1.443   .       1.083  .
     2.80    1.622   .       1.256   .       0.942  .
     3.00    1.468   .       1.094  .        0.820  .
     3.20    2.400     .     2.036    .      1.694    .
     3.40    2.335     .     1.981    .      1.475   .
     3.60    2.271     .     1.823    .      1.284   .
     3.80    2.209    .      1.587   .       1.118  .
     4.00    1.999    .      1.381   .       0.973  .
     4.20    2.625     .     2.084    .      1.727    .
     4.40    2.285     .     1.815    .      1.503   .
     4.60    1.990    .      1.580   .       1.309   .
     4.80    1.732    .      1.375   .       1.139   .
     5.00    1.508   .       1.197   .       0.992  .
     5.20    1.313   .       1.042  .        0.864  .
     5.40    1.143   .       0.907  .        0.752  .
     5.60    0.995  .        0.790  .        0.654  .
     5.80    0.866  .        0.688  .        0.570  .
     6.00    0.754  .        0.599  .        0.496 .
     6.20    0.656  .        0.521 .         0.432 .
     6.40    0.571  .        0.454 .         0.376 .
     6.60    0.497 .         0.395 .         0.327 .
     6.80    0.433 .         0.344 .         0.285 .
     7.00    0.377 .         0.299 .         0.248 .
     7.20    0.328 .         0.261 .         0.216 .
     7.40    0.286 .         0.227 .         0.188 .
     7.60    0.249 .         0.197 .         0.164 .
     7.80    0.216 .         0.172 .         0.142 .
     8.00    0.188 .         0.150 .         0.124 .

           Figure 2:  Separate decay constants when unreachable

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 12]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  Figure 2 show the effect of configuring separate decay rates to be
  used when the route is reachable or unreachable.  The decay rate is
  5 times slower when the route is unreachable.  In the three case
  shown, the period of the route flap is equal to the decay half life
  but the route is reachable 1/8 of the time in one, reachable 1/2 the
  time in one, and reachable 7/8 of the time in the other.  In the last
  case the route is not suppressed until after the third unreachable
  (when it is above the top threshold after becoming reachable again).

  In both Figure 1 and Figure 2, routes would be suppressed.  Routes
  flapping at the decay half life or less would be withdrawn two or
  three times and then remain withdrawn until they had remained stably
  announced and stable for on the order of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the
  decay half life (given the ceiling in the example).

  A larger time granularity will keep table storage down.  The time
  granularity should be less than a minimal reasonable time between
  expected worse case route flaps.  It might be reasonable to fix this
  parameter at compile time or set a default and strongly recommend that
  the user leave it alone.  With an exponential decay, array size can be
  greatly reduced by setting a period of complete stability after which
  the decayed total will be considered zero rather than retaining a tiny
  quantity.  Alternately, very long decays can be implemented by
  multiplying more than once if array bounds are exceeded.

  The reuse lists hold suppressed routes grouped according to how long
  it will be before the routes are eligible for reuse.  Periodically
  each list will be advanced by one position and one list removed as de-
  scribed in Section 4.8.7.  All of the suppressed routes in the removed
  list will be reevaluated and either used or placed in another list
  according to how much additional time must elapse before the route can
  be reused.  The last list will always contain all the routes which
  will not be advertised for more time than is appropriate for the re-
  maining list heads.  When the last list advances to the front, some of
  the routes will not be ready to be used and will have to be requeued.
  The time interval for reconsidering suppressed routes and number of list
  heads should be configurable.  Reasonable defaults might be 30 seconds and
  64 list heads.  A route suppressed for a long time would need to be reeval-
  uated every 32 minutes.

4.4  Run Time Data Structures

  A fixed small amount of per system storage will be required.  Where
  sets of multiple configuration parameters are used, storage will be
  required per set of parameters.  A small amount of per route storage
  is required.  A set of list heads is needed.  These list heads are
  used to arrange suppressed routes according to the time remaining
  until they can be reused.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 13]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  If multiple sets of configuration parameters are allowed per route,
  there is a need for some means of associating more than one figure of
  merit and set of parameters with each route.  Building a linked list
  of these objects seems like one of a number of reasonable
  implementations.  Similarly, a means of associating a route to a reuse
  list is required.  A small overhead will be required for the pointers
  needed to implement whatever data structure is chosen for the reuse
  lists.  The suggested implementation uses a double linked lists and so
  requires two pointers per figure of merit.

  Each set of configuration parameters can reference decay arrays and
  reuse arrays.  These arrays should be shared among multiple sets of
  parameters since their storage requirement is not negligible.  There
  will be only one set of reuse list heads for the entire router.

4.4.1  Data Structures for Configuration Parameter Sets

  Based on the configuration parameters described in the previous
  section, the following values can be computed as scaled integers
  directly from the corresponding configuration parameters.

  o  decay array scale factor (decay-array-scale-factor)

  o  cutoff value (cut)

  o  reuse value (reuse)

  o  figure of merit ceiling (ceiling)

  Each configuration parameter set will reference one or two decay
  arrays and one or two reuse arrays.  Only one array will be needed if
  the decay rate is the same while a route is unreachable as while it is
  reachable, or if the stability figure of merit does not decay while a
  route is unreachable.

4.4.2  Data Structures per Decay Array and Reuse Index Array

  The following are also computed from the configuration parameters
  though not as directly.

  o  decay rate per tick (decay-delta-t)

  o  decay array size (decay-array-size)

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 14]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  o  decay array (decay)

  o  reuse index array size (reuse-index-array-size)

  o  reuse index array (reuse-index-array)

  For each decay rate specified, an array will be used to store the
  value of a computed parameter raised to the power of the index of each
  array element.  This is to speed computations.  The decay rate per
  tick is an intermediate value expressed as a real number and used to
  compute the values stored in the decay arrays.  The array size is
  computed from the decay memory limit configuration parameter expressed
  as an array size or as a maximum hold time.

  The decay array size must be of sufficient size to accommodate the
  specified decay memory given the time granularity, or sufficient to
  hold the number of array elements until integer rounding produces a
  zero result if that value is smaller, or a implementation imposed
  reasonable size to prevent configurations which use excessive memory.
  Implementations may chose to make the array size shorter and multiply
  more than once when decaying a long time interval to reduce storage.

  The reuse index arrays serve a similar purpose to the decay arrays.
  The amount of time until a route can be reused can be determined using
  a array lookup.  The array can be built given the decay rate.  The
  array is indexed using a scaled integer proportional to the ratio
  between a current stability figure of merit value and the value needed
  for the route to be reused.

4.4.3  Per Route State

  Information must be maintained per some tuple representing a route.
  At the very minimum, the NLRI (BGP prefix and length) must be
  contained in the tuple.  Different BGP attributes may be included or
  excluded depending on the specific situation.  The AS path should also
  be contained in the tuple be default.  The tuple may also optionally
  contain other BGP attributes such as MULTI_EXIT_DISCRIMINATOR (MED).

  The tuple representing a route for the purpose of route flap damping

      tuple entry            default      options
        prefix               required
        length               required

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 15]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

      AS path                included     option to exclude
      last AS set in path    excluded     option to include
      next hop               excluded     option to include
      MED                    excluded     option to include
                                          in comparisons only

  The AS path is generally included in order to identify downstream
  instability which is not being damped or not being sufficiently damped
  and is alternating between a stable and an unstable path.  Under rare
  circumstances it may be desirable to exclude AS path for all or a
  subset of prefixes.  If an AS path ends in an AS set, in practice the
  path is always for an aggregate.  Changes to the trailing AS set
  should be ignored.  Ideally the AS path comparison should insure that
  at least one AS has remained constant in the old and new AS set, but
  completely ignoring the contents of a trailing AS set is also

  Including next hop and MED changes can help suppress the use of an AS
  which is internally unstable or avoid a next hop which is closer to an
  unstable IGP path in the adjacent AS. If a large number of MED values
  are used, the increase in the amount of state may become a problem.
  For this reason MED is disabled by default and enabled only as part of
  the tuple comparison, using a single state entry regardless of MED
  value.  Including MED will suppress the use of the adjacent AS even
  though the change need not be propagated further.  Using MED is only a
  safe practice if a path is known to exist through another AS or where
  there are enough peering sites with the adjacent AS such that routes
  heard at only a subset of the peering sites will be suppressed.

4.4.4  Data Structures per Route

  The following information must be maintained per route.  A route here
  is considered to be a tuple usually containing NLRI, next hop, and AS
  path as defined in Section 4.4.3.

stability figure of merit (figure-of-merit)

     Each route must have a stability figure of merit per applicable
     parameter set.

last time updated (time-update)

     The exact last time updated must be maintained to allow exponential
     decay of the accumulated figure of merit to be deferred until the
     route might reasonable be considered eligible for a change in

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 16]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     status (having gone from unreachable to reachable or advancing
     within the reuse lists).

config block pointer

     Any implementation that supports multiple parameter sets must
     provide a means of quickly identifying which set of parameters
     corresponds to the route currently being considered.  For
     implementations supporting only parameter sets where all routes
     must be treated the same, this pointer is not required.

reuse list traversal pointers

     If doubly linked lists are used to implement reuse lists, then two
     pointers will be needed, previous and next.  Generally there is a
     double linked list which is unused when a route is suppressed from
     use that can be used for reuse list traversal eliminating the need
     for additional pointer storage.

4.5  Processing Configuration Parameters

  From the configuration parameters, it is possible to precompute a
  number of values that will be used repeatedly and retain these to
  speed later computations that will be required frequently.

  The methods of scaled integer arithmetic are not described in detail
  here.  The methods of determining the real values are given.
  Translation into scaled integer values and the details of scaled
  integer arithmetic are left up to the individual implementations.

figure of merit scale factor ( scale-figure-of-merit )

     The ceiling value can be set to be the largest integer that can fit
     in half the bits available for an unsigned integer.  This will
     allow the scaled integers to be multiplied by the scaled decay
     value and then shifted down.  Implementations may prefer to use
     real numbers or may use any integer scaling deemed appropriate for
     their architecture.

penalty value and thresholds (as proportional scaled integers)

     The figure of merit penalty for one route withdrawal and the cutoff
     values must be scaled according to the above scaling factor.

decay rate per tick (decay[1])

     The decay value per increment of time as defined by the time
     granularity must be determined (at least initially as a floating

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 17]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     point number).  The per tick decay is a number slightly less than
     one.  It is the Nth root of the one half where N is the half life
     divided by the time granularity.

          decay[1] = exp ((1 / (decay-rate/delta-t)) * log (1/2))

decay array size (decay-array-size)

     The decay array size is the decay memory divided by the time
     granularity.  If integer truncation brings the value of an array
     element to zero, the array can be made smaller.  An implementation
     should also impose a maximum reasonable array size or allow more
     than one multiplication.

          decay-array-size = (Tmax/delta-t)

decay array (decay[])

     Each i-th element of the decay array is the per tick delay raised
     to the i-th power.  This might be best done by successive floating
     point multiplies followed by scaling and integer rounding or
     truncation.  The array itself need only be computed at startup.

          decay[i] = decay[1] ** i

4.6  Building the Reuse Index Arrays

  The reuse lists may be accessed quite frequently if a lot of routes
  are flapping sufficiently to be suppressed.  A method of speeding the
  determination of which reuse list to use for a given route is
  suggested.  This method is introduced in Section 4.2, its
  configuration described in Section 4.4.2 and the algorithms described
  in Section 4.8.6 and Section 4.8.7.  This section describes building
  the reuse list index arrays.

  A ratio of the figure of merit of the route under consideration to the
  cutoff value is used as the basis for an array lookup.  The ratio is
  scaled and truncated to an integer and used to index the array.  The
  array entry is an integer used to determine which reuse list to use.

reuse array maximum ratio (max-ratio)

     This is the maximum ratio between the current value of the

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 18]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     stability figure of merit and the target reuse value that can be
     indexed by the reuse array.  It may be limited by the ceiling
     imposed by the maximum hold time or by the amount of time that the
     reuse lists cover.

          max-ratio = min(ceiling/reuse, exp((1 /
       (half-life/reuse-array-time)) * log(1/2)))

reuse array scale factor ( scale-factor )

     Since the reuse array is an estimator, the reuse array scale factor
     has to be computed such that the full size of the reuse array is

          scale-factor = (max-ratio - 1) / reuse-array-size

reuse index array (reuse)

     Each reuse index array entry should contain an index into the reuse
     list array pointing to one of the list heads.  This index should
     corresponding to the reuse list that will be evaluated just after a
     route would be eligible for reuse given the ratio of current value
     of the stability figure of merit to target reuse value
     corresponding the the reuse array entry.

          reuse-array[j] = integer(log(1 / (1 + ((j+1) *
       (max-ratio-1)))) / reuse-time-granularity)

  To determine which reuse queue to place a route which is being
  suppressed, the following procedure is used.  Divide the current
  figure of merit by the cutoff.  Subtract one.  Multiply by the scale
  factor.  This is the array index.  If it is off the end of the array
  use the last queue otherwise look in the array and pick the number of
  the queue from the array at that index.  This is quite fast and well
  worth the setup and storage required.

4.7  A Sample Configuration

  A simple example is presented here in which the space overhead is
  estimated for a set of configuration parameters.  The design here

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 19]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

 1.  there is a single parameter set used for all routes,

 2.  decay time for unreachable routes is slower than for reachable

 3.  the arrays must be full size, rather than allow more than one
     multiply per decay operation to reduce the array size.

  This example is used in later sections.  The use of multiple parameter
  sets complicates the examples somewhat.  Where multiple parameter sets
  are allowed for a single route, the decay portion of the algorithm is
  repeated for each parameter set.  If different routes are allowed to
  have different parameter sets, the routes must have pointers to the
  parameter sets to keep the time to locate to a minimum, but the
  algorithms are otherwise unchanged.

  A sample set of configuration parameters and a sample set of
  implementation parameters are provided in in the two following lists.

 1.  Configuration Parameters

     o cut = 1.25

     o reuse = 0.5

     o T-hold = 15 mins

     o decay-ok = 5 min

     o decay-ng = 15 min

     o Tmax-ok, Tmax-ng = 15, 30 mins

 2.  Implementation Parameters

     o delta-t = 1 sec

     o delta-reuse

     o reuse-list-size = 256

     o reuse-index-array-size = 1,024

  Using these configuration and implementation parameters and the
  equations in Section 4.5, the space overhead can be computed.  There

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 20]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  is a fixed space overhead that is independent of the number of routes.
  There is a space requirement associated with a stable route.  There is
  a larger space requirement associated with an unstable route.  The
  space requirements for the parameters above are provide in the lists

 1.  fixed overhead (using parameters from previous example)

     o 900 * integer - decay array

     o 1,800 * integer - decay array

     o 120 * pointer - reuse list-heads

     o 2,048 * integer - reuse index arrays

 2.  overhead per stable route

     o pointer - containing null entry

 3.  overhead per unstable route

     o pointer - to a damping structure containing the following

     o integer - figure of merit  + bit for state

     o integer - last time updated

     o pointer (optional) to configuration parameter block

     o 2 * pointer - reuse list pointers (prev, next)

  Figure 3 shows the behavior of the algorithm with the parameters given
  above.  Four cases are given in this example.  In all four, there is a
  twelve minute period of route oscillations.  Two periods of oscilla-
  tion are used, 2 minutes and 4 minutes.  Two duty cycles are used, one
  in which the route is reachable during 20% of the cycle and the other
  where the route is reachable during 80% of the cycle.  In all four
  cases, the route becomes suppressed after it becomes unreachable the
  second time.  Once suppressed, it remains suppressed until some period
  after becoming stable.  The routes which oscillate over a 4 minute pe-
  riod are no longer suppressed within 9-11 minutes after becoming sta-
  ble.  The routes with a 2 minute period of oscillation are suppressed for
  nearly the maximum 15 minute period after becoming stable.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 21]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

     time      figure-of-merit as a function of time

     0.00    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     0.62    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     1.25    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     1.88    0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .         0.000 .
     2.50    0.977  .        0.968  .        0.000 .         0.000 .
     3.12    0.949  .        0.888  .        0.000 .         0.000 .
     3.75    0.910  .        0.814  .        0.000 .         0.000 .
     4.37    1.846    .      1.756    .      0.983  .        0.983  .
     5.00    1.794    .      1.614    .      0.955  .        0.935  .
     5.63    1.735    .      1.480   .       0.928  .        0.858  .
     6.25    2.619      .    2.379     .     0.901  .        0.786  .
     6.88    2.544      .    2.207     .     0.876  .        0.721  .
     7.50    2.472     .     2.024     .     0.825  .        0.661  .
     8.13    3.308       .   2.875      .    1.761    .      1.608    .
     8.75    3.213       .   2.698      .    1.711    .      1.562    .
     9.38    3.122       .   2.474     .     1.662    .      1.436   .
    10.00    3.922        .  3.273       .   1.615    .      1.317   .
    10.63    3.810        .  3.107       .   1.569    .      1.207   .
    11.25    3.702        .  2.849      .    1.513    .      1.107   .
    11.88    3.498       .   2.613      .    1.388   .       1.015   .
    12.50    3.904        .  3.451       .   2.312     .     1.953    .
    13.13    3.580        .  3.164       .   2.120     .     1.791    .
    13.75    3.283       .   2.902      .    1.944    .      1.643    .
    14.38    3.010       .   2.661      .    1.783    .      1.506    .
    15.00    2.761      .    2.440     .     1.635    .      1.381   .
    15.63    2.532      .    2.238     .     1.499   .       1.267   .
    16.25    2.321     .     2.052     .     1.375   .       1.161   .
    16.88    2.129     .     1.882    .      1.261   .       1.065   .
    17.50    1.952    .      1.725    .      1.156   .       0.977  .
    18.12    1.790    .      1.582    .      1.060   .       0.896  .
    18.75    1.641    .      1.451   .       0.972  .        0.821  .
    19.38    1.505    .      1.331   .       0.891  .        0.753  .
    20.00    1.380   .       1.220   .       0.817  .        0.691  .
    20.62    1.266   .       1.119   .       0.750  .        0.633  .
    21.25    1.161   .       1.026   .       0.687  .        0.581  .
    21.87    1.064   .       0.941  .        0.630  .        0.533  .
    22.50    0.976  .        0.863  .        0.578  .        0.488 .
    23.12    0.895  .        0.791  .        0.530  .        0.448 .
    23.75    0.821  .        0.725  .        0.486 .         0.411 .
    24.37    0.753  .        0.665  .        0.446 .         0.377 .
    25.00    0.690  .        0.610  .        0.409 .         0.345 .

  Figure 3:  Some fairly long route flap cycles, repeated for 12
  minutes, followed by a period of stability.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 22]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

4.8  Processing Routing Protocol Activity

  The prior sections concentrate on configuration parameters and their
  relationship to the parameters and arrays used at run time and provide
  the algorithms for initializing run time storage.  This section
  provides the steps taken in processing routing events and timer events
  when running.

  The routing events are:

 1.  A BGP peer or new route comes up for the first time (or after an
     extended down time) (Section 4.8.1)

 2.  A route becomes unreachable (Section 4.8.2)

 3.  A route becomes reachable again (Section 4.8.3)

 4.  A route changes (Section 4.8.4)

 5.  A peer goes down (Section 4.8.5)

  The reuse list is used to provide a means of fast evaluation of route
  that had been suppressed, but had been stable long enough to be reused
  again or had been suppressed long enough that it can be treated as a
  new route.  The following two operations are described.

 1.  Inserting into a reuse list (Section 4.8.6)

 2.  Reuse list processing every delta-t seconds (Section 4.8.7)

4.8.1  Processing a New Peer or New Routes

  When a peer comes up, no action is required if the routes had no
  previous history of instability, for example if this is the first time
  the peer is coming up and announcing these routes.  For each route,
  the pointer to the damping structure would be zeroed and route used.
  The same action is taken for a new route or a route that has been down
  long enough that the figure of merit reached zero and the damping
  structure was deleted.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 23]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

4.8.2  Processing Unreachable Messages

  When a route is withdrawn or changed (Section 4.8.4 describes how a
  change is handled), the following procedure is used.

  If there is no previous stability history (the damping structure
  pointer is zero), then:

 1.  allocate a damping structure

 2.  set figure-of-merit = 1

 3.  withdraw the route

  Otherwise, if there is an existing damping structure, then:

 1.  set t-diff = t-now - t-updated

 2.  if ( t-diff puts you off the end of the array ) {

       set figure-of-merit = 1

     } else {

       set figure-of-merit = figure-of-merit * decay-array-ok [ t-diff ] + 1

       if ( figure-of-merit > ceiling ) {

         set figure-of-merit = ceiling



 3.  remove the route from a reuse list if it is on one

 4.  withdraw the route unless it is already suppressed

  In either case then:

 1.  set t-updated = t-now

 2.  insert into a reuse list (see Section 4.8.6)

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 24]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  If there was a stability history, the previous value of the stability
  figure of merit is decayed.  This is done using the decay array
  (decay-array).  The index is determined by subtracting the current
  time and the last time updated, then dividing by the time granularity.
  If the index is zero, the figure of merit is unchanged (no decay).  If
  it is greater than the array size, it is zeroed.  Otherwise use the
  index to fetch a decay array element and multiply the figure of merit
  by the array element.  If using the suggested scaled integer method,
  shift down half an integer.  Add the scaled penalty for one more un-
  reachable (shown above as 1).  If the result is above the ceiling re-
  place it with the ceiling value.  Now update the last time updated field
  (preferably taking into account how much time was truncated before doing
  the decay calculation).

  When a route becomes unreachable, alternate paths must be considered.
  This process is complicated slightly if different configuration param-
  eters are used in the presence or absence of viable alternate paths.
  If all of these alternate paths have been suppressed because there had
  previously been an alternate route and the new route withdrawal
  changes that condition, the suppressed alternate paths must be reeval-
  uated.  They should be reevaluated in order of normal route prefer-
  ence.  When one of these alternate routes is encountered that had been
  suppressed but is now usable since there is no alternate route, no
  further routes need to be reevaluated.  This only applies if routes
  are given two different reuse thresholds, one for use when there is an al-
  ternate path and a higher threshold to use when suppressing the route would
  result in making the destination completely unreachable.

4.8.3  Processing Route Advertisements

  When a route is readvertised if there is no damping structure, then
  the procedure is the same as in Section 4.8.1.

 1.  don't create a new damping structure

 2.  use the route

  If an damping structure exists, the figure of merit is decayed and the
  figure of merit and last time updated fields are updated.  A decision
  is now made as to whether the route can be used immediately or needs
  to be suppressed for some period of time.

 1.  set t-diff = t-now - t-updated

 2.  if ( t-diff puts you off the end of the array ) {

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 25]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

       set figure-of-merit = 0

     } else {

       set figure-of-merit = figure-of-merit * decay-array-ng [ t-diff ]


 3.  if ( not suppressed and figure-of-merit < cut ) {

       use the route

     } else if ( suppressed and figure-of-merit < reuse ) {

       set state to not suppressed

       remove the route from a reuse list

       use the route

     } else {

       set state to suppressed

       don't use the route

       insert into a reuse list (see Section 4.8.6)


 4.  if ( figure-of-merit > 0 ) {

       set t-updated= t-now

     } else {

       recover memory for damping struct

       zero pointer to damping struct


  If the route is deemed usable, a search for the current best route
  must be made.  The newly reachable route is then evaluated according
  to the BGP protocol rules for route selection.

  If the new route is usable, the previous best route is examined.
  Prior to route comparisons, the current best route may have to be
  reevaluated if separate parameter sets are used depending on the
  presence or absence of an alternate route.  If there had been no

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 26]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  alternate the previous best route may be suppressed.

  If the new route is to be suppressed it is placed on a reuse list only
  if it would have been preferred to the current best route had the new
  route been accepted as stable.  There is no reason to queue a route on
  a reuse list if after the route becomes usable it would not be used
  anyway due to the existence of a more preferred route.  Such a route
  would not have to be reevaluated unless the preferred route became
  unreachable.  As specified here, the less preferred route would be
  reevaluated and potentially used or potentially added to a reuse list
  when processing the withdrawal of a more preferred best route.

4.8.4  Processing Route Changes

  If a route is replaced by a peer router by supplying a new path, the
  route that is being replaced should be treated as if an unreachable
  were received (see Section 4.8.2).  This will occur when a peer
  somewhere back in the AS path is continuously switching between two AS
  paths and that peer is not damping route flap (or applying less
  damping).  There is no way to determine if one AS path is stable and
  the other is flapping, or if they are both flapping.  If the cycle is
  sufficiently short compared to convergence times neither route through
  that peer will deliver packets very reliably.  Since there is no way
  to affect the peer such that it chooses the stable of the two AS
  paths, the only viable option is to penalize both routes by considering
  each change as an unreachable followed by a route advertisement.

4.8.5  Processing A Peer Router Loss

  When a peer routing session is broken, either all individual routes
  advertised by that peer may be marked as unstable, or the peering
  session itself may be marked as unstable.  Marking the peer will save
  considerable memory.  Since the individual routes are advertised as
  unreachable to routers beyond the immediate problem, per route state
  will be incurred beyond the peer immediately adjacent to the BGP
  session that went down.  If the instability continues, the immediately
  adjacent router need only keep track of the peer stability history.
  The routers beyond that point will receive no further advertisements
  or withdrawal of routes and will dispose of the damping structure over

  BGP notification through an optional transitive attribute that damping
  will already be applied may be considered in the future to reduce the
  number of routers that incur damping structure storage overhead.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 27]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

4.8.6  Inserting into the Reuse Timer List

  The reuse lists are used to provide a means of fast evaluation of
  route that had been suppressed, but had been stable long enough to be
  reused again.  The data structure consists of a series of list heads.
  Each list contains a set of routes that are scheduled for reevaluation
  at approximately the same time.  The set of reuse list heads are
  treated as a circular array.

  A simple implementation of the circular array of list heads would be
  an array containing the list heads with an offset.  The offset would
  identify the first list.  The Nth list would be at the index
  corresponding to N plus the offset modulo the number of list heads.
  This design will be assumed in the examples that follow.

  A key requirement is to be able to insert an entry in the most
  appropriate queue with a minimum of computation.  The computation is
  given only the current value of figure-of-merit.  The array, scale,
  and bounds are precomputed to map figure-of-merit to the nearest list
  head without requiring a logarithm to be computed (see Section 4.5).

 1.  scale figure-of-merit for the index array lookup producing index

 2.  check index against the array bound

 3.  if ( within the array bound ) {

       set index = reuse-array [ index ]

     } else {

       set index = reuse-list-size - 1


  4. insert into the list

       reuse-list [ modulo reuse-list-size ( index + offset ) ]

  Choosing the correct reuse list involves only a multiply and shift to
  do the scaling, an integer truncation, then an array lookup.  The most
  common method of implementing a circular array is to use an array and
  apply an offset and modulo operation to pick the correct array entry.
  The offset is incremented to rotate the the circular array.

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 28]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

4.8.7  Handling Reuse Timer Events

  The granularity of the reuse timer should be more course that that of
  the decay timer.  As a result, when the reuse timer fires, suppressed
  routes should be decayed by multiple increments of decay time.  Some
  computation can be avoided by always inserting into the reuse list
  corresponding to one time increment past reuse eligibility.  In cases
  where the reuse lists have a longer ``memory'' than the ``decay
  memory'' (described above), all of the routes in the first queue will
  be available for immediate reuse if reachable or the history entry
  could be disposed of if unreachable.

  When it is time to advance the lists, the first queue on the reuse
  list must be processed and the circular queue must be rotated.  Using
  an array and an offset as a circular array (as described in
  Section 4.8.6), the algorithm below is repeated every t-reuse seconds.

 1.  save a pointer to the current zeroth queue head and zero the list
     head entry

 2.  set offset = modulo reuse-list-size ( offset + 1 ), thereby
     rotating the circular queue of list-heads

 3.  if ( the saved list head pointer is non-empty )

     foreach entry {

       set t-diff = t-now - t-updated

       set figure-of-merit = figure-of-merit * decay-array-ok [ t-diff ]

       set t-updated = t-now

       if ( figure-of-merit < reuse )

         reuse the route


         re-insert into another list (see Section 4.8.6)


  The value of the zeroth list head would be saved and the array entry
  itself zeroed.  The list heads would then be advanced by incrementing
  the offset.  Starting with the saved head of the old zeroth list, each
  route would be reevaluated and used, disposed of entirely or requeued

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 29]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  if it were not ready for reuse.  If a route is used, it must be
  treated as if it were a new route advertisement as described in
  Section 4.8.3.

5  Implementation Experience

  The first implementations of ``route flap damping'' were the route
  server daemon (rsd) coding by Ramesh Govindan (ISI) and the Cisco IOS
  implementation by Ravi Chandra.  Both implementations first became
  available in 1995 and have been used extensively.  The rsd
  implementation has been in use in route servers at the NSF funded
  Network Access Points (NAPs) and at other major Internet
  interconnects.  The Cisco IOS version has been in use by Internet
  Service Providers worldwide.  The rsd implementation has been
  integrated in releases of gated (see and is
  available in commercial routers using gated.

  There are now more than 2 years of BGP route damping deployment
  experience.  Some problems have occurred in deployment.  So far these
  are solvable by careful implementation of the algorithm and by careful
  deployment.  In some topologies coordinated deployment can be helpful
  and in all cases disclosure of the use of route damping and the param-
  eters used is highly beneficial in debugging connectivity problems.

  Some of the problems have occurred due to subtle implementation
  errors.  Route damping should never be applied on IBGP learned routes.
  To do so can open the possibility for persistent route loops.
  Implementations should disallow this configuration.  Penalties for
  flapping should only be applied when a route is removed or replaced
  and not when a route is added.  If damping parameters are applied
  consistently, this implementation constraint will result in a stable
  secondary path being preferred over an unstable primary path due to
  damping of the primary path near the source.

  In topologies where multiple AS paths to a given destination exist
  flapping of the primary path can result in suppression of the
  secondary path.  This can occur if no damping is being done near the
  cause of the route flap or if damping is being applied more
  aggressively by a distant AS. This problem can be solved in one of two
  ways.  Damping can be done near the source of the route flap and the
  damping parameters can be made consistent.  Alternately, a distant AS
  which insists on more aggressive damping parameters can disable
  penalizing routes on AS path change, penalizing routes only if they
  are withdrawn completely.  In order to do so, the implementation must
  support this option (as described in Section 4.4.3).

  Route flap should be damped near the source.  Single homed
  destinations can be covered by static routes.  Aggregation provides

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 30]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  another means of damping.  Providers should damp their own internal
  problems, however damping on IGP link state origination is not yet
  implemented by router vendors.  Providers which use multiple AS within
  their own topology should damp between their own AS. Providers should
  damp adjacent providers AS.

  Damping provides a means to limit propagation excessive route change
  when connectivity is highly intermittent.  Once a problem is
  corrected, select damping state can be manually cleared.  In order to
  determine where damping may have occurred after connectivity problems,
  providers should publish their damping parameters.  Providers should
  be willing to manually clear damping on specific prefixes or AS paths
  at the request of other providers when the request is accompanied by
  assurance that the problem has truly been addressed.

  By damping their own routing information, providers can reduce their
  own need to make requests of other providers to clear damping state
  after correcting a problem.  Providers should be pro-active and
  monitor what prefixes and paths are suppressed in addition to
  monitoring link states and BGP session state.


  This work and this document may not have been completed without the
  advise, comments and encouragement of Yakov Rekhter (Cisco).  Dennis
  Ferguson (MCI) provided a description of the algorithms in the gated
  BGP implementation and many valuable comments and insights.  David
  Bolen (ANS) and Jordan Becker (ANS) provided valuable comments,
  particularly regarding early simulations.  Over four years elapsed
  between the initial draft presented to the BGP WG (October 1993) and
  this iteration.  At the time of this writing there is significant
  experience with two implementations, each having been deployed since
  1995.  One was led by Ramesh Govindan (ISI) for the NSF Routing Ar-
  biter project.  The second was led by Ravi Chandra (Cisco).  Sean Doran
  (Sprintlink) and Serpil Bayraktar (ANS) were among the early independent
  testers of the Cisco pre-beta implementation.  Valuable comments and im-
  plementation feedback were shared by many individuals on the IETF IDR WG
  and the RIPE Routing Work Group and in NANOG and IEPG.


  [1]  P. Gross and Y. Rekhter. Application of the border gateway proto-
       col in
       the internet. Request for Comments (Draft Standard) RFC 1268, In-
       ternet Engineering Task Force, October 1991. (Obsoletes RFC1164);
       (Obsoleted by RFC1655).

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 31]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  [2]  ISO/IEC.  Iso/iec 10747 - information technology - telecommunica-
       tions and information exchange between systems - protocol for
       exchange of inter-domain routeing information among intermediate
       systems to support forwarding of iso
       8473 pdus. Technical report, International Organization for Stan-
       dardization, August 1994.

  [3]  K. Lougheed and Y. Rekhter.  A border gateway protocol 3 (BGP-3).
       Request for Comments (Draft Standard) RFC 1267, In-
       ternet Engineering Task Force, October 1991. (Obsoletes RFC1163).

  [4]  Y. Rekhter and P. Gross. Application of the border gateway proto-
       col in the internet.        Request for Comments (Draft Standard)
       RFC 1772, Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1995. (Obsoletes
  [5]  Y. Rekhter and T. Li.                                    A border
       gateway protocol 4 (BGP-4). Request for Comments (Draft Standard)
       RFC 1771, Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1995. (Obsoletes

  [6]  Y. Rekhter and C. Topolcic. Exchanging routing information across
       provider boundaries in the CIDR environment. Request for Comments
       (Informational) RFC 1520, Internet Engineering Task Force,
       September 1993.
  [7]  P. Traina. BGP-4 protocol analysis.  Request for Comments (Infor-
       mational) RFC 1774, Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1995.

  [8]  P. Traina.  Experience with the BGP-4 protocol.  Request for Com-
       ments (Informational) RFC 1773,
       Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1995. (Obsoletes RFC1656).

Security Considerations

  The practices outlined in this document do not further weaken the
  security of the routing protocols.  Denial of service is possible in
  an already insecure routing environment but these practices only
  contribute to the persistence of such attacks and do not impact the
  methods of prevention and the methods of determining the source.

Author's Addresses

  Curtis Villamizar
  ANS Communications

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 32]

INTERNET-DRAFT           BGP Route Flap Damping           February 15, 1998

  Ravi Chandra
  Cisco Systems

  Ramesh Govindan

Villamizar, Chandra, Govindan      Expires  August 15, 1998      [Page 33]