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The Internet, an upstart academic experiment in the late 1960s, struggles with identity and success in the late 1990s. From the ARPANET to the NSFNET to ANYBODYSNET, the Internet is no longer owned by a single entitity; it is owned by anybody who can afford to buy space on it. Millions of users are seeking connectivity and thousands of companies are feeling left out if they do not tap into the Internet. This has put network designers and administrators under a lot of pressure to keep up with networking and connectivity needs. Learning about networking, and especially routing, has become a necessity.

People get surprised when networks fail and melt down; I get surprised when they don't. I say that because there is so little useful information out there. Much of the information on routing that has been available to designers and administrators up until now is doubly frustrating: The information makes you think that you know how to build your network until you try, and find out that you don't. I wrote Internet Routing Architectures to be the first book that addresses real routing issues, using real scenarios, in a comprehensive and accessible treatment.


The purpose of this book is to make you an expert on integrating your network into the global Internet. By presenting practical addressing, routing, and connectivity issues both conceptually and in the context of practical scenarios, the book aims to foster your understanding of routing so that you can plan and implement major network designs in an objective and informed way. Whether you are a customer or provider (or both) of Internet connectivity, this book anticipates and addresses the routing challenges facing your network.


This book is intended for any organization that might have the need to tap into the Internet. Whether you are becoming a service provider or you are connecting to one you will find all you need to integrate your network. The perspectives of network administrators, integrators, and architects are considered throughout this book. Even though this book addresses different levels of expertise, it progresses logically from simplest to most challenging concepts and problems, and its common denominator is straightforward, practical scenarios to which anyone can relate. No major background in routing or TCP/IP is required. Any basic or background knowledge needed to understand routing is developed as needed in text discussions, rather than assumed as part of the reader's repertoire.


The book is organized into four parts:

  Part 1—The Contemporary Internet. Chapters 1-3 cover essential introductory aspects of the contemporary Internet with respect to its structure, service providers, and addressing. Even if you are already familiar with the general structure of the Internet, you are encouraged to read the portions of Chapter 1 concerning Network Access Points, the Route Arbiter Project, and Network Information Services. The pressures that precipitated these components of the Internet have continuing practical implications for routing design problems faced by administrators. Chapter 2 provides valuable criteria by which to evaluate Internet service providers. If you represent such a provider, or are already a customer of one, some of the information may be familiar to you already.
  Part 2—Routing Protocol Basics. Chapters 4 and 5 cover the basics: Why interdomain routing protocols are needed and how they work. These topics are covered both generally, and in the specific context of BGP—Border Gateway Protocol—the de facto standard interdomain routing protocol of today. BGP's particular capabilities and attributes are thoroughly introduced.
  Part 3—Effective Internet Routing Designs. Chapters 6-9 delve into the practical, design-oriented applications of BGP. The attributes introduced in Part 2 are shown in action, in a variety of representative network scenarios. BGP's attributes are put to work in implementing design goals such as redundancy, symmetry, and load balancing. The challenges of making intradomain and interdomain routing work in harmony, managing growing or already large systems, and maintaining stability are addressed.
  Part 4—Internet Routing Device Configuration. Chapters 10 and 11 contain numerous code examples of BGP's attributes and of various routing policies. The code examples will make the most sense to you after you have read the earlier chapters, because many of them address multiple concepts and design goals. However, so that you can juxtapose textual discussions from earlier chapters with code examples in Chapters 10 and 11, pointers entitled "Configuration Example," have been placed in the earlier chapters. When you see one, you may wish to fast forward to the referenced page to see a configuration example of the attribute or policy being discussed.


It is very hard to write about technical information in an accessible manner. Information that is stripped of too much technical detail loses its meaning, while complete and precise technical detail can overwhelm readers and obscure concepts. This book introduces technical detail gradually and in the context of practical scenarios whenever possible. The most heavily technical information—configuration examples in the Cisco IOS language—is withheld until the final two chapters of the book, so that it is thoroughly grounded in the concepts and sample topologies that precede it.

Although your ultimate goal is to design and implement routing strategies, it is critical to grasp concepts and principles before applying them to your particular network. This book balances conceptual and practical perspectives by following a logical, gradual progression from general to specific, and from concepts to implementation. Even in chapters and sections that necessarily take a largely descriptive approach, hands-on interests are addressed through pointers to configuration examples, frequently asked questions, and scenario-based explanation.

The scenario-based approach is an especially important component of this book: It utilizes representative network topologies as a basis for illustrating almost every protocol attribute and routing policy discussed. Even though you may not see your exact network situation illustrated, the scenario is specific enough to facilitate learning-by-example, and general enough that you can extrapolate how the concepts illustrated apply to your situation.

Features and Text Conventions

This book works hard not to withhold protocol details and design-oriented information, while at the same time recognizing that building general and conceptual understanding necessarily comes first. Two features are included to help emphasize what is practical and design-oriented as underlying concepts are developed:

  Pointers to configuration examples—located in the margins next to pertinent text discussions, these references point forward to places in Chapters 10 and 11 where related configuration examples can be found.
  Frequently Asked Questions—located at the end of every chapter, these questions anticipate practical and design-oriented questions you may have, for your particular network, after having read the chapter.

In addition, this book utilizes several other conventions:

  Troubleshooting margin notes—these brief references are placed adjacent to text discussions that are especially relevant to preventing or correcting common routing problems and programming mistakes.
  Notes—these set-off passages include elaborations that will further illuminate text passages, but which can be skipped without loss of understanding of core topics.

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