Evolution of internet address space deaggregation: myths and reality

Internet routing table size growth and BGP update churn are two prominent Internet scaling issues. There is widespread belief in a high and fast growing number of ASs that deaggregate prefixes, e.g., due to multi-homing and for the purpose of traffic engineering [1]. Moreover, researchers often blame specific classes of ASs for generating a disproportionate amount of BGP updates. Our primary objective is to challenge such widespread assumptions (“myths”) and not solely to confirm previous findings [1]–[3]. Surprisingly, we find severe discrepancies between existing myths and reality. According to our results, there is no trend towards more aggressive prefix deaggregation or traffic engineering over time. With respect to update dynamics, we observe that deaggregated prefixes generally do not generate a disproportionate number of BGP updates, with respect to their share of the BGP routing table. On the other side, we observe much more widespread traffic engineering in the form of AS path prepending and scoped advertisements compared to previous studies [1]. Overall, our work gives a far more positive picture compared to the alarming discourses typically heard [1], [2], [4]: The impact of “bad guys” on routing table size growth and BGP churn has not changed for the worse in recent years. Rather, it increases at the same pace as the Internet itself.