A company or organization that wishes to operate on the Internet with maximum autonomy and resilience needs to acquire Internet connectivity from different network operators (carriers). Hence, managing a complex network with multiple Internet access links requires specific knowledge and extensive operational experience.
It is, in fact, essential to:
- know how to manage, control, and streamline the interactions with the various Internet connectivity operators
- verify the operation of the network itself
- be able to diagnose and resolve the anomalies
Using multiple Internet links is often associated with being qualified as LIR (Local Internet Registry), i.e., becoming a subject accredited at RIPE NCC. This organization oversees the European Internet resources: IP addresses and Autonomous System numbers. Qualifying as LIR requires asking RIPE NCC to assign a unique identifier to associate specific IP addresses and Autonomous Systems. These Internet entities can then be independently managed as LIR.
Using an Autonomous System involves knowing how to operate the BGP protocol (Border Gateway Protocol). The effective management of this routing protocol enables redundancy among the carriers providing Internet access.
INRETE offers a complete service package addressing the operational aspects just described, providing:
- routers management
- service monitoring
- management of the relationships with the carriers
- management of the relationships with network governance bodies
The service called LIR-AS-BGP fulfills the need to simplify bureaucratic-administrative procedures and solves most of the technical issues related to implementing and managing multiple Internet links.
The goal is to provide autonomy from the carriers and higher network reliability.
INRETE's Load Balancing service enriches the LIR-AS-BGP, thus implementing a complete traffic routing management solution designed to optimize access and ensure Internet services continuity and reliability. This result is obtained by efficiently distributing traffic between Internet links and servers, keeping a high-performance level, and avoiding slowdown and congestion during traffic peaks. The Load Balancing service performs constant monitoring of the customer's network and servers, providing a complete picture of the:
- services usage
- server uptime
- distribution of access among servers
Data collected by INRETE's Load Balancing are a valuable source of statistics, useful for optimizing the information flow and shortening the diagnostic and service restoration times in case of malfunctions.
This goal is achieved by automatically and instantaneously removing servers that present anomalies.
With multi-homed connectivity, where different carriers provide Internet connections, it is essential to have visibility of how the whole Internet receives your BGP announcements.
INRETE offers BGPSentinel, a BGP announcement verification tool designed and optimized for multi-homed organizations.
It is expected and "normal" that frequent routing changes occur in the global Internet network. Still, for a specific connection managed by one particular router, the changes should be relatively rare to avoid continuous and dangerous fluctuations in the end-to-end Internet traffic routes.
The routers that "talk" to each other through the BGP protocol accept as valid the routes communicated (announced) by the other BGP routers, sometimes without any security checks.
This mechanism allows for a very high "resilience" of the Internet network as traffic routing decisions occur automatically and in a distributed way; however, it also exposes to accidental or malicious network traffic disruptions.
Even though several tools capable of examining the changes in the BGP "routing tables" are available, it is worth noting that their target is to solve the carriers' problems at the Internet transit and exchange facilities.
These tools do not solve the needs of an organization that uses multiple accesses because, in this case, the network is an "end node" of the Internet architecture and not a "transit" network.
BPGSentinel specifically addresses the needs of this type of multi-homed network/Autonomous System (AS), providing information on the current status and allowing inspection of all BGP events that occurred in the past days or months.
BPGSentinel focuses on the organization's AS and IP addresses, verifies precisely how the AS/nets are "seen and routed" through the different Internet carriers, and checks the correct handling of traffic.
BPGSentinel records all anomalies and notifies of any status change using several different modalities. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the system promptly records all significant events, highlighting what may require further intervention or investigation.