BGP Route Reflector - Route Server, Router, etc

Justin Krejci JKrejci at
Thu Jan 12 20:32:44 UTC 2017


I am working on some network designs and am adding some additional routers to a BGP network. I'd like to build a plan of changing all of the existing routers over from full iBGP mesh to something more scalable (ie route reflection). Fortunately, I am also going to be able to decommission some older routers from the network and so shrinking the existing iBGP full mesh is something I am all too happy to spend time and energy on.

For the purpose of this thread though, I am not really interested in the route reflector vs confederation discussion.

In doing some research[1][2][3][4][5] I see a lot of discussions, config examples, etc on using route reflectors but most suggest picking a router, or more appropriately a set of routers, to become route reflectors within an ASN. I have not found many resources discussing using a non-router box as a route reflector (ie a device not necessarily in the forwarding path of the through traffic). I am thinking things like OpenBGPd and BIRD could make a good route reflector though they are most often discussed in the context of IXPs (ie eBGP sessions).

I am wondering if people can point me in the direction to some good resource material on how to select a good BGP route reflector design. Should I just dust off some 7206VXR routers to act as route reflectors? Use a few existing live routers and just add the responsibility of being route reflectors, is there a performance hit? Install and run BIRD on new server hardware? Buy some newer purpose built routers (Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, etc) to act as route reflectors and add them to the iBGP topology? GNS3 running IOS on server hardware? Something else? How many reflectors should be implemented? Two? Four?

What are the pros and cons of one design over another? On list or private off list replies would be great; I'd welcome real world experiences (especially any big gotchas or caveats people learned the hard way) as well as just links to previous discussions, PDFs, slideshows, etc. Heck even a good book suggestion that covers this topic would be appreciated.

[1] - iBGP-to-RR migration slideshow:
[2] - General RR design issues:
[3] - Video intro to RR from Cisco:
[4] - Quagga and BIRD as RR example:
[5] - Countless hours on youtube:

Lots more data is out there of course as that is part of my problem.



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