Generalizing BGP Convergence Behavior

Today, almost every aspect of our daily life relies on the Internet. Most of us do not realize how much we depend on the availability of the Internet—until a major outage occurs. While the frequency of such outages is surprisingly large [1,2,3], we less commonly hear about transient disruptions to users’ Internet connectivity. Yet, we all experience them regularly.

Short-lived degradadations in network performance are reportedly associated with the BGP convergence process [4]. During the distributed computation of the final forwarding state, packets may be forwarded in (currently unpredictable) ways through the network. The goal of this thesis is to investigate the influence of different routing hardware on the convergence process by running experiments on both emulated and real network hardware.

We envision the following working packages:

  • WP1: Revisit details of BGP (e.g. read section 9 of the RFC), understand the intricacies of the convergence process and familiarize yourself with our existing transient violation estimator BGPSeer.
  • WP2: Extend our test setup to analyze the behavior of an emulated BGP router when processing an update.
  • WP3: Extend the framework to support other routing hardware.
  • WP4: Evaluate the accuracy of BGPSeer’s predictions (and potentially identify reasons for discrepancies).


  • We plan on using actual network hardware (e.g., a Cisco router) to build a test setup and run experiments. You should be comfortable in both crafting configurations for the hardware and implementing a program for traffic generation and benchmarking on commodity server hardware.
  • A basic understanding of algorithmic complexity and experience in using rust would be an advantage.


  1. Rachel King. “Here’s Why Amazon’s Cloud Suffered a Meltdown This Week.
  2. Mallory Locklear. “Google accidentally broke the internet throughout Japan.
  3. Doug Madory. “Facebook’s historic outage, explained.
  4. Nate Kushman, Srikanth Kandula and Dina Katabi. “Can You Hear Me Now?! It Must Be BGP.ACM SIGCOMM 2007.