Domain-wide Prefix Distribution with Two-Level IS-IS
RFC 2966

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 2000; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 5302
Authors Tony Li  , Tony Przygienda  , Henk Smit 
Last updated 2015-10-14
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This information refers to IESG processing after the RFC was initially published:
IESG IESG state RFC 2966 (Informational)
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Network Working Group                                              T. Li
Request for Comments: 2966                              Procket Networks
Category: Informational                                    T. Przygienda
                                                                 H. Smit
                                                        Procket Networks
                                                            October 2000

          Domain-wide Prefix Distribution with Two-Level IS-IS

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document describes extensions to the Intermediate System to
   Intermediate System (IS-IS) protocol to support optimal routing
   within a two-level domain.  The IS-IS protocol is specified in ISO
   10589, with extensions for supporting IPv4 (Internet Protocol)
   specified in RFC 1195 [2].

   This document extends the semantics presented in RFC 1195 so that a
   routing domain running with both level 1 and level 2 Intermediate
   Systems (IS) [routers] can distribute IP prefixes between level 1 and
   level 2 and vice versa.  This distribution requires certain
   restrictions to insure that persistent forwarding loops do not form.
   The goal of this domain-wide prefix distribution is to increase the
   granularity of the routing information within the domain.

1. Introduction

   An IS-IS routing domain (a.k.a., an autonomous system running IS-IS)
   can be partitioned into multiple level 1 (L1) areas, and a level 2
   (L2) connected subset of the topology that interconnects all of the
   L1 areas.  Within each L1 area, all routers exchange link state
   information.  L2 routers also exchange L2 link state information to
   compute routes between areas.

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RFC 2966            Domain-wide Prefix Distribution         October 2000

   RFC 1195 [2] defines the Type, Length and Value (TLV) tuples that are
   used to transport IPv4 routing information in IS-IS.  RFC 1195 also
   specifies the semantics and procedures for interactions between
   levels.  Specifically, routers in a L1 area will exchange information
   within the L1 area.  For IP destinations not found in the prefixes in
   the L1 database, the L1 router should forward packets to the nearest
   router that is in both L1 and L2 (i.e., an L1L2 router) with the
   "attached bit" set in its L1 Link State Protocol Data Unit (LSP).

   Also per RFC 1195, an L1L2 router should be manually configured with
   a set of prefixes that summarizes the IP prefixes reachable in that
   L1 area.  These summaries are injected into L2.  RFC 1195 specifies
   no further interactions between L1 and L2 for IPv4 prefixes.

1.1 Motivations for domain-wide prefix distribution

   The mechanisms specified in RFC 1195 are appropriate in many
   situations, and lead to excellent scalability properties.  However,
   in certain circumstances, the domain administrator may wish to
   sacrifice some amount of scalability and distribute more specific
   information than is described by RFC 1195.  This section discusses
   the various reasons why the domain administrator may wish to make
   such a tradeoff.

   One major reason for distributing more prefix information is to
   improve the quality of the resulting routes.  A well know property of
   prefix summarization or any abstraction mechanism is that it
   necessarily results in a loss of information.  This loss of
   information in turn results in the computation of a route based upon
   less information, which will frequently result in routes that are not

   A simple example can serve to demonstrate this adequately.  Suppose
   that a L1 area has two L1L2 routers that both advertise a single
   summary of all prefixes within the L1 area.  To reach a destination
   inside the L1 area, any other L2 router is going to compute the
   shortest path to one of the two L1L2 routers for that area.  Suppose,
   for example, that both of the L1L2 routers are equidistant from the
   L2 source, and that the L2 source arbitrarily selects one L1L2
   router.  This router may not be the optimal router when viewed from
   the L1 topology.  In fact, it may be the case that the path from the
   selected L1L2 router to the destination router may traverse the L1L2
   router that was not selected.  If more detailed topological
   information or more detailed metric information was available to the
   L2 source router, it could make a more optimal route computation.

                             Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2966            Domain-wide Prefix Distribution         October 2000
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