The Concept of Internet Routing Explained

The concept of internet routing explains how the network of routers determines where data from one computer or device should go. These routers communicate with each other and share information about what happens in their local area. When one router is down, another relays the updated information to its neighboring nodes. Then, the entire network of routers discovers new paths to destinations. This process is repeated until all of the network nodes have updated information.

The FCC must establish regulatory authority over the relevant players and develop a whole-of-government approach to secure the routing infrastructure. While a majority of the Internet routing infrastructure lies outside the jurisdiction of the United States, the agency must navigate these international issues. A critical mass of providers could create a tipping point for widespread adoption. While these challenges are significant, they should not deter the FCC from adopting an internet routing policy. To accomplish this, the agency must develop a formal model of the routing protocols.

Generally, peering is done by two or more ISPs. Larger ISPs and schools engage in peering, wherein each other’s routes are shared. Depending on the nature of the peering agreements, one or more of these ISPs may connect to customers of other ISPs. In either case, the ISP can use BGP magic to favor a cheaper link. There are several ways to achieve this.

Default-free routers get a full set of Internet routing tables. Occasionally, a transit provider fails to provide a route for some networks. The name of a network may not be known through peers, so the default-free router does not receive all the traffic from this network. The resulting routing table is less than ideal. A default-free router receives a complete set of traffic from the Internet but is unable to receive all of it.

Generally, the process of routing IP packets occurs when the network is comprised of multiple nodes. In IP-based networks, these nodes communicate through various independent networks and broadcast messages to remote destinations. The messages travel through various ISPs and autonomous systems to reach their destination. This is the process of choosing the best path for data that reaches the destination. If the network is unable to route traffic to one destination, it is ineffective.

In order to promote secure internet routing, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on the security practices of BGP. It is responsible for promoting the security of U.S. networks and critical infrastructure. Other federal agencies are also engaged in cybersecurity. These entities include vendors of BGP routers and content delivery networks. By making these networks more secure, the FCC may be able to achieve its goal of enhancing public safety and national security. The FCC is asking stakeholders to comment on its role in helping U.S. network operators deploy these security measures.