BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) definition

Contributor(s): Cho Man Fai and Cameo Wood, Natalie

BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is a protocol for exchanging routing information between gateway hosts (each with its own router) in a network of autonomous systems. BGP is often the protocol used between gateway hosts on the Internet. The routing table contains a list of known routers, the addresses they can reach, and a cost metric associated with the path to each router so that the best available route is chosen.

Hosts using BGP communicate using the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and send updated router table information only when one host has detected a change. Only the affected part of the routing table is sent. BGP-4, the latest version, lets adminstrators configure cost metrics based on policy statements. (BGP-4 is sometimes called BGP4, without the hyphen.)

BGP communicates with autonomous (local) networks using Internal BGP (IBGP) since it doesn't work well with IGP. The routers inside the autonomous network thus maintain two routing tables: one for the interior gateway protocol and one for IBGP. BGP-4 makes it easy to use Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR), which is a way to have more addresses within the network than with the current IP address assignment scheme.

BGP is a more recent protocol than the Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP).

See also: Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) interior gateway protocol 



This was first published in July 2007

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