FAQ: Why Use a Routing Registry?

A thread that appeared on the NANOG email list during fall 2000 raised the question, "why should I bother to register in the RADB?" We've posted some of the responses here, for those of you've asked yourselves the same question.

From oberman@es.net Thu Nov  9 09:21:54 2000
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 16:21:23 -0700
From: Kevin Oberman <oberman@es.net>
To: Todd Caine <todd_caine@eli.net>
Cc: nanog@merit.edu
Subject: Re: Route Registry: who uses them? 

> Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 14:39:01 -0700
> From: "Todd Caine" <todd_caine@eli.net>
> Sender: owner-nanog@merit.edu
> I've been talking with our router geeks and we have been
> debating over the usefulness of route registries.  We were
> asked recently on an application for peering if we consult
> RADB, and our response was, "We have used it although it's
> not up to date; Why do you use it?", and we received no
> response.  In my experience, I've never heard of any cases
> where it has been used.

OK. We use it. If you peer with ESnet you must register 
routes or we will not accept them. If you wonder why, 
ask Randy Bush. (He has made the pitch for prefix filtering 
at several NANOG meetings.) I might mention that the AS707 
goof had no impact on us because of this filtering.

Beyond this, the peering agreement with at least one 
major network mandates that you register routes if you 
want to peer with them and that you filter. 

> Who should use Route Registries?  Why?

Anyone who peers at public peering points. If you have 
customers who want to reach any of our sites (and these 
include most of the major US Government research laboratories), 
you need to register or use one of the big transit 
providers which we don't filter.

On a more pragmatic level, it provides information to 
troubleshooting failures. If a customer reports that 
he can't reach and it's not registered, it takes 
a LOT longer to figure out who to call to resolve the problem.

> Is it worth the time?

The time is pretty minimal as long as you don't get behind. 
It's just a standard part of setting up a new prefix in our 
network. Takes only a couple of minutes.
> Do people trust that the information is accurate enough to
> let a route server automate establishing your peering
> sessions?  Is there a limit to the detail that you should
> provide?

Yes. We do many peerings with providers via the route servers
with good results. The only problem is when a provider stops
registering his nets and RA peers can't get there.

Detail? All you REALLY need is an AS-SET defining what 
ASes you provide transit for, a maintainer object to allow 
updates to other objects, an inet-rtr object telling the 
route servers who to talk to and whether to add the RS AS 
to the path or not, and a record for each prefix you announce. 
The aut-num object is a good idea, but I don't use it to 
generate policy, so I don't really care if it is there. 
I use it most for troubleshooting. Since we are non-commercial, 
we are probably more willing than most to disclose the
details of our peerings.

> I've looked at some of the information that other providers
> have put in the route registry, but nothing really seemed
> all that useful to us.  Would anyone agree or disagree?

It's useful to me and my organization.

> Am I missing something here?

I think so.

R. Kevin Oberman, Network Engineer
Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
Ernest O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)

From jeffhaas@merit.edu Wed Nov  8 17:02:29 2000
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 19:57:41 -0400
From: Jeff Haas <jeffhaas@merit.edu>
To: NANOG <nanog@merit.edu>
Subject: Re: Route Registry: who uses them?

On Wed, Oct 25, 2000 at 02:39:01PM -0700, Todd Caine wrote:
> I've been talking with our router geeks and we have been
> debating over the usefulness of route registries.

You wouldn't be the first. :-)

> Who should use Route Registries?  Why?
> Is it worth the time?

In an ideal world, everyone would register their routes, 
their policies, their contact info and their PGP keys in 
the RR's.

Lets talk reality.

For a large number of the people using the routing 
registries - not necessarily the RADB - they are best 
used for filtering routing announcements along your edges.  
In this case, your clients register the routes they 
are going to be sending you and then you filter based 
on registered routes.  This prevents OOPS.

(Note that I said registered routes - not policy.)

In the case where you have two providers who wish to exchange
a limited set of routing data with each other - i.e. not a 
transit connection to the whole Internet - you can register 
your routes and filter each other.  Again, this prevents OOPS.

To reduce this to its component issues:

1. I want to filter someone.
   This prevents an accident in their network from be propogated
   propagated through mine.
2. I need a way to represent the things to filter.
   RPSL provides a standardized way to do this.
3. Ideally, the people I'm filtering will be able to see my 
   filtering criteria.  Possibly, they should be allowed to 
   update the list of the networks we accept from them.
   IRRd, etc. permits whois access to the policy and the 
   ability to update it.
4. I want to generate my filters programmatically.
   RtConfig, et alia will do this from IRRd.

You can't sanely expect to filter the Internet through IRRd 
right now, too much of the data is (to quote someone at NANOG) "grot".

However, if both parties register the data for their nets in the RADB,
it saves them the grief of setting up their own IRR repository.

If you setup your own repository and get it mirrored, you 
provide your info to the Internet at large, possibly helping 
others solve operational issues with your net.

Jeffrey Haas - Merit RSng project - jeffhaas@merit.edu

Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 19:56:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Sprickman <spork@inch.com>
To: Kevin Oberman <oberman@es.net>
Cc: Todd Caine <todd_caine@eli.net>, nanog@merit.edu
Subject: Re: Route Registry: who uses them? 

And if you haven't been to radb.net lately, the How-To's are
an excellent place to start.  There is also a new java tool
to send objects in or edit objects if you prefer pointing and 
clicking.  I was able to move to pgp auth on our objects in 
about 15 minutes using the directions posted on the site.

All in all, I found it pretty painless to register our info.
We don't publically peer with anyone (yet), but it seemed
like a good idea to put all the info on our AS in the radb
and give people another place to find up-to-date contact

In other words, I see no reason *not* to register your AS,
maintainer and route objects there...

Charles Sprickman