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Versions: 00                                                            
Internet Engineering Task Force                   A. Patel/T. Przygienda
INTERNET DRAFT                                                 Bell Labs
                                                        15 February 1999

                      L1/L2 Optimal IS-IS Routing

Status of This Memo
   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 except that the right to
   produce derivative works is not granted.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
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   This draft describes an optional extension within IS-IS [Cal90a,
   Cal90b, ISO90] for leaking level 2 IP prefixes into level 1.  IS-IS
   is an interior gateway routing protocol developed originally by OSI
   and used with IP extensions as IGP. This draft describes how to allow
   for optimal routing in L1/L2 per destination prefix and to support
   BGP [RL95] MEDs derived from level 1 and level 2 IGP metric when
   using ISIS.

1. Introduction
   In IS-IS extensions described in RFC 1195 [Cal90b] all level 1
   routers are equivalent to ``stub'' routers which translates into the
   fact that no level 2 routes are being leaked actively into level
   1.  Globally optimal routing across levels is hard since routers in

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   level 1 are forced to route to the closest level 2 gateway due to
   the lack of more specific information than just the default route.
   For scalability and management reasons it is preferable to divide
   the topology into level 1 and level 2 from a certain size on.  With
   the extension proposed, globally optimal routing is possible that
   does route per destination prefix to the appropriate level 2 gateway.
   Moreover, beside the scalability and optimality reasons, given a case
   where an ISP desires to advertise MEDs to their customer based on
   IGP metric to BGP next hops [LMJ99], it is not possible or at least
   misleading to use today's metrics.  The metric consists of the cost
   to traverse the area to the closest level 2 router and a default
   level 2 cost which is inaccurate.  This documents proposes to use
   existing TLVs and extended processing rules to allow for routing
   where such cost is adequately computed.

   It is important for the understanding of this draft to properly
   differentiate between level 1 routes, level 2 routes, level 2
   external routes with internal metrics (1) and level 2 external routes
   with external metrics.

2. Description

   We extend the usual preference within IS-IS with a new type of
   routes called level 1 external route which is not defined within RFC
   1195 [Cal90b].  To advertise such routes, as an optional capability
   described in this RFC, IP external reachability information (TLV
   130) is allowed within level 1 TLVs.  Level 2 routes or level 2
   external routes with internal metric are leaked using internal metric
   translated into an external level 1 metric.  Level 2 external routes
   with external metrics MUST NOT be leaked.  (TLV 130) with internal
   metrics in level 1 are undefined and MUST be ignored.
   At this point, we introduce a simple topology in Figure 1 to discuss
   scenarios encountered.  Lines between routers indicate physical
   point-to-point networks.  RT1 is a level-1 router deploying the
   proposed extension.  RT2 is a conventional level-1 router.  RT7 is a
   level-2-only router.  RT3, RT4 and RT6 are level-1-2 routers and also
   participate in level-2 to level-1 leaking.  Links between RT3 and RT4
   and RT0 and RT3 are level-2-only links.  Naturally, links between RT4

1. which is equivalent to a (TLV 130) in level-2 with the I/E bit not

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   and RT7 and RT6 are level-2-only as well.  A cost for each physical
   point-to-point network is being assumed as having the cost of 1,
   except between RT3 and RT2 having a cost of 3.  On RT0, RT3 and RT4
   externally derived data (e.g., BGP-learned routes) are leaked into
   level-2 as an external route with internal cost of 1.  Therefore,
   network N-8 will be present in RT3's level-2 LSP as external route
   with internal cost of 1 and within the level-1 as external route with
   external cost of 1.

   An implementation that does not supports the proposed extension and
   receives such a TLV MAY ignore it.  Traditional RFC 1195 [Cal90b]
   implementations ignoring this TLV can form routing loops if deployed
   in a level-1-only domain mixed with level-1-only routers supporting
   this capability.  This happens since routers can disagree on the
   best possible level-2 gateway for a destination for which no level-1
   internal route exists.  No routing loops can be formed if traditional
   RFC 1195 routers are run in level-1-2 or level-2 only mixed with
   routers deploying the proposed capability.
   To see why routing loops in mixed level-1 deployment are possible,
   consider RT1 that sees an level 1 external route for N-8 with
   external cost 1 from RT3 and cost 2 from RT0.  To route towards N-8
   it will choose RT2 as its next hop.  RT2 does not understand level 1
   external routes and will therefore try to forward towards the closest
   level-2 gateway, which happens to be RT0.

   An implementation that supports handling of the (TLV 130) at level 1
   MUST not leak level 1 external prefixes into level 2 since otherwise
   persistent routing loops are possible if metrics conversions are not
   executed carefully.  To understand why level 1 external prefixes must
   not be leaked into level 2 consider again the simple topology given
   in Figure 1.  We assume that RT4 leaks N-8 as level 1 external with
   external cost of 2 to RT5.  If RT6 does not leak N-8 into level-1
   but would re-advertise level 1 N-8 again into level 2 as external
   with internal cost of less or equal to 3, RT4 would form a persistent
   routing loop (2)

2. it would be theoretically possible to leak
   level 1 external routes (that always have internal metric) into level
   2 external routes with external metrics.

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3. Order of Preference of Routes

   In order to ensure correct inter-operation of different
   implementations, it is necessary to specify the order of preference
   of routes in the forwarding decision which is an extension of the one
   used today.
   For routers participating in level 1 and level 2 and leaking level 2
   into level 1, the routes are preferred in the following sequence:

    1. Amongst all routes, if the specified destination address matches
       more than one [IP address, subnet mask] pair, then the most
       specific address match (the one with more "1" bits in the mask)
       is preferred.

    2. Among the routes with equal address match the preference is
       determined by the type in the following sequence:

        -  level 1

        -  level 2

        -  level 2 external with internal metric type

        -  level 1 external with external metric type (3)

        -  level 2 external with external metric type

    3. Amongst routes of the same type with equal cost, multi-path load
       balancing may be performed.
   To visualize the concept, consider again Figure 1.  After ISIS
   converges, RT4 will see following entries for network N-8.

    -  level-2-external route with internal metric 2 with next-hop
       towards RT3 generated by RT3.

    -  level-1-external route with next-hop towards RT5 with external
       metric 3 obtained from RT6 that leaked it from within L2 into L1

3. observe again that level 1 external with internal metric are not

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               | N-8
          +====+======+            +===========+
          I RT3       +==L2 only===+ RT4       I
    +=====+ Level-1-2 I            I Level-1-2 +=====+
    I     +=====v=====+            +===v====== +     I
    I           |                      |           L2 only
    I        cost 3                    |             I
    I           |                      |             I
    I     +%%%%%+%%%%+           +-----+----+    +~~~+~~~~~~~+
    I     ! RT2      !           | RT5      |    : RT7       :
    I     + L1,no 130!           | L1 only  |    : L2 only   :
    I     +%%%%%%%%%%+           +-----+----+    +~~~+~~~~~~~+
 L2 only        |                      |             I
    I           |                      |           L2 only
    I     +-----+----+             +===^=======+     I
    I     | RT1      |             I RT6       +=====+
    I     | L1 only  |             I Level-1-2 I
    I     +-----+----+             +===========+
    I           |
    I           |
    I     +=====^=====+
    +=====+ RT0       I
          I Level-1-2 I

+==+                      +--+
I  I  Level-1-2 Router    |  | Level-1 Only Router
+==+                      +--+

+~~+                      +%%+
:  :  Level-2 Only Router !  ! Level-1 Only Router
+~~+                      +%%+ without Level 1 TLV 130 Support

                Figure 1: Topology used in our examples

   From those entries, route towards N-8 must be chosen according to
   preferences specified above.  Following the rules, level 2 external
   route through RT3 with internal metric 2 must be preferred, otherwise

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   a stable loop through RT6 would exist if e.g.  level-1 external would
   be given preference over level-2 external route with internal metric.

4. Acknowledgments
   Rohit Dube reviewed the draft carefully and helped to clarify it.

5. Security Consideration
   ISIS security applies to the work presented.  No specific security
   issues with the proposed solutions are known.


   [Cal90a] R. Callon.  OSI ISIS Intradomain Routing Protocol.
           INTERNET-RFC, Internet Engineering Task Force, February 1990.

   [Cal90b] R. Callon.  Use of OSI ISIS for Routing in TCP/IP and Dual
           Environments.  INTERNET-RFC, Internet Engineering Task Force,
           December 1990.

   [ISO90] ISO.  Information Technology - Telecommunications and
           Information Exchange between Systems - Intermediate System
           to Intermediate System Routing Exchange Protocol for
           Use in Conjunction with the Protocol for Providing the
           Connectionless-Mode Network Service.  ISO, 1990.

   [LMJ99] C. Labovitz, G. Malan, and F. Jahanian.  Origins of internet
           routing instability.  In Proceedings of Infocomm'99
           New York, USA, 3 1999.

   [RL95]  Y. Rekhter and T. Li.  A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4),
           RFC 1771.  Internet Engineering Task Force, March 1995.

Authors' Addresses

Ajay Patel
Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies
101 Crawfords Corner Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733-3030

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Tony Przygienda
Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies
101 Crawfords Corner Road
Holmdel, NJ 07733-3030

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