BGP Optimisation — why do we need it?

Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is today’s Internet routing protocol. What this means is that BGP determines the path your traffic takes across the Internet to its destination — and back.

BGP is effective and stable, and was developed more than 20+ years ago (that’s last century, BTW).

As a route selection process BGP relies on a single metric: AS-PATH. This metric selects routing based on the fewest ‘hops’ between Autonomous Systems (AS). Today, more than 60,000 AS make up “the Internet”.

As you can imagine, BGP’s job is becoming increasingly harder as the number of AS continue to grow.

BGP doesn’t look at any other performance factors to make routing decisions. It doesn’t know if an AS is short or long (does it cross a state, a country or go across an ocean?) and is likely to route traffic through a path with high round trip delay, even though a more efficient path exists. BGP is also not able to detect packet loss, saturated transit services, or other performance limitations across networks.

The protocol also cannot detect and mitigate traffic bursts that go above any committed data rates, leading to unpleasant cost surprises.

How do BGP limitations affect a business and its customers?

BGP does not have the ability to detect failures and poor performance, and in many cases can contribute to these issues.

BGP Limitations

BGP does not take into consideration several performance issues facing the Internet today:

1. Long paths:

· Large delays cause frustration to users

· Corporate SaaS application users can suffer from low productivity and low morale as a result of constant delays

· B2C e-commerce application users do not tolerates delays and this will directly affect the actual sales conversion rates

· Gaming applications will also suffer with delays

· Delays also severely impact the quality of voice communication and are another source of user frustration

2. Packet loss:

· Packet loss rates usually produce the same issues and frustrations as high delays.

· Packet loss turns into a bigger issue with corporate video conferencing quality, and applications that provide document collaboration capability

· Corporate training video services or consumer video streaming can also be negatively impacted

3. Broken links:

· Routing equipment can malfunction or experience inconsistencies in the routing and control planes

· Even in this situation, BGP still sees the network as properly functioning, even though the routing process is not actually forwarding packets

· Users cannot access their applications until the network equipment is restored

· Similar situations also occur when operators implement incorrect access-lists, or flood protection mechanisms actually block legitimate user traffic

What can you do about it?

WAN optimisation, Cloud Acceleration: these are some of the terms you’ll hear to describe BGP optimisation services. These have become increasingly important as SaaS application adoption increases, and Internet becomes the default network connectivity method.

What’s important to know is that you can deliver great Quality of Service (QoS) from the Internet with these tools.

Expereo Cloud Acceleration

Expereo Cloud Acceleration services — also known as XCA — optimises BGP with performance and traffic measurement based analysis, detecting any abnormal routing situation and working around it in milliseconds.

XCA will improve both the application performance and availability by probing all internet destination networks for performance metrics including packet loss, latency, historical reliability, throughput, and peering capacity, and continually selects the best routing in real-time, based on these statistics, not just the shortest path between the individual networks that make up the Internet