Viva ViAggre: Cornell and AT&T Labs researchers' attempt to make router scalability sexy

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By Bob Brown (follow me on Twitter)

Researchers at Cornell University and AT&T Labs are breathing new life into routers via a method they say doesn’t require changes to routing software or protocols. Making Routers Last Longer with ViAggre” to be presented next week at the 6th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, the researchers outline Virtual Aggregation (ViAggre), which  they describe as a configuration-only approach to squeezing ISPs’ routing tables that works in part by limiting the how much of the global routing table each router maintains.

In a paper titled “

It also is an incremental approach that can be executed by individual ISPs without the need to synch up with others, the researchers explain.

The researchers examined how ViAggre would work on tier 1 and 2 ISPs’ networks and found that routing tables could be reduced drastically without loading them down with traffic. They also gave ViAggre a whirl on Cisco routers in a testbed.

In a follow-up email exchange with Hitesh Ballani, one of the Cornell researchers on the project,  he wrote: "The primary focus of the ViAggre paper was ISPs. While universities and corporate networks may not speak BGP with their providers and hence their routers don't have to deal with entire global routing table, I have heard that there is a trend towards edge networks wanting their border routers to maintain the global routing table. This, combined with the fact that such networks may not deploy top-of-the-line routers, would imply that routing table growth could be a problem... I think edge networks would be interested in a simpler version of ViAggre which would get them a lot of the memory benefits without the configuration complexity."

The research is funded in part by the NSF and Cisco.

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