Network Working Group                                           D. Meyer
Request for Comments: 2650                                 Cisco Systems
Category: Informational                                       J. Schmitz
                                                         America On-Line
                                                               C. Orange
                                                                RIPE NCC
                                                                M. Prior
                                                         C. Alaettinoglu
                                                             August 1999

                         Using RPSL in Practice

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document is a tutorial on using the Routing Policy Specification
   Language (RPSL) to describe routing policies in the Internet Routing
   Registry (IRR). We explain how to specify various routing policies
   and configurations using RPSL, how to register these policies in the
   IRR, and how to analyze them using the routing policy analysis tools,
   for example to generate vendor specific router configurations.

1 Introduction

   This document is a tutorial on RPSL and is targeted towards an
   Internet/Network Service Provider (ISP/NSP) engineer who understands
   Internet routing, but is new to RPSL and to the IRR. Readers are
   referred to the RPSL reference document (RFC 2622) [1] for
   completeness.  It is also good to have that document at hand while
   working through this tutorial.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

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   The IRR is a repository of routing policies.  Currently, the IRR
   repository is a set of five repositories maintained at the following
   sites:  the CA*Net registry in Canada, the ANS, CW and RADB
   registries in the United States of America, and the RIPE registry in
   Europe.  The five repositories are run independently.  However, each
   site exchanges its data with the others regularly (at least once a
   day and as often as every ten minutes).  CW, CA*Net and ANS are
   private registries which contain the routing policies of the networks
   and the customer networks of CW, CA*Net, and ANS respectively.  RADB
   and RIPE are both public registries, and any ISP can publish their
   policies in these registries.

   The registries all maintain up-to-date copies of one another's data.
   At any of the sites, the five registries can be inspected as a set.
   One should refrain from registering his/her data in more than one of
   the registries, as this practice leads almost invariably to
   inconsistencies in the data.  The user trying to interpret the data
   is left in a confusing (at best) situation.  CW, ANS and CA*Net
   customers are generally required to register their policies in their
   provider's registry.  Others may register policies either at the RIPE
   or RADB registry, as preferred.

   RPSL is based on RIPE-181 [2, 3], a language used to register routing
   policies and configurations in the IRR. Operational use of RIPE-181
   has shown that it is sometimes difficult (or impossible) to express a
   routing policy which is used in practice.  RPSL has been developed to
   address these shortcomings and to provide a language which can be
   further extended as the need arises.  RPSL obsoletes RIPE-181.

   RPSL constructs are expressed in one or more database "objects" which
   are registered in one of the registries described above.  Each
   database object contains some routing policy information and some
   necessary administrative data.  For example, an address prefix routed
   in the inter-domain mesh is specified in a route object, and the
   peering policies of an AS are specified in an aut-num object.  The
   database objects are related to each other by reference.  For
   example, a route object must refer to the aut-num object for the AS
   in which it is originated.  Implicitly, these relationships define
   sets of objects, which can be used to specify policies effecting all
   members.  For example, we can specify a policy for all routes of an
   ISP, by referring to the AS number in which the routes are registered
   to be originated.

   When objects are registered in the IRR, they become available for
   others to query using a whois service.  Figure 1 illustrates the use
   of the whois command to obtain the route object for
   The output of the whois command is the ASCII representation of the
   route object.  The syntax and semantics of the route object are

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   described in Appendix A.3.  Registered policies can also be compared
   with others for consistency and they can be used to diagnose
   operational routing problems in the Internet.

      % whois -h
        descr:       UONet
        descr:       University of Oregon
        descr:       Computing Center
        descr:       Eugene, OR 97403-1212
        descr:       USA
        origin:      AS3582
        mnt-by:      MAINT-AS3582
        changed: 19960222
        source:      RADB

      Figure 1:  whois command and a route object.

   The RAToolSet [6] is a suite of tools which can be used to analyze
   the routing registry data.  It includes tools to configure routers
   (RtConfig), tools to analyze paths on the Internet (prpath and
   prtraceroute), and tools to compare, validate and register RPSL
   objects (roe, aoe and prcheck).

   In the following section, we will describe how common routing
   policies can be expressed in RPSL. The objects themselves are
   described in Appendix A.  Authoritative information on the IRR
   objects, however, should be sought in RFC-2622, and authoritative
   information on general database objects (person, role, and
   maintainers) and on querying and updating the registry databases,
   should be sought in RIPE-157 [4].  Section 3.2 describes the use of
   RtConfig to generate vendor specific router configurations.

2 Specifying Policy in RPSL

   The key purpose of RPSL is to allow you to specify your routing
   configuration in the public Internet Routing Registry (IRR), so that
   you and others can check your policies and announcements for
   consistency.  Moreover, in the process of setting policies and
   configuring routers, you take the policies and configurations of
   others into account.

   In this section, we begin by showing how some simple peering policies
   can be expressed in RPSL. We will build on that to introduce various
   database objects that will be needed in order to register policies in
   the IRR, and to show how more complex policies can be expressed.

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2.1 Common Peering Policies

   The peering policies of an AS are registered in an aut-num object
   which looks something like that in Figure 2.  We will focus on the
   semantics of the import and export attributes in which peering
   policies are expressed.  We will also describe some of the other key
   attributes in the aut-num object, but the reader should refer to
   RFC-2622 or to RIPE-157 for the definitive descriptions.

      aut-num:     AS2
      as-name:     CAT-NET
      descr:       Catatonic State University
      import:      from AS1 accept ANY
      import:      from AS3 accept <^AS3+$>
      export:      to AS3 announce ANY
      export:      to AS1 announce AS2 AS3
      admin-c:     AO36-RIPE
      tech-c:      CO19-RIPE
      mnt-by:      OPS4-RIPE
      source:      RIPE

      Figure 2:  Autonomous System Object

   Now consider Figure 3 (AS4 and AS5 in the figure will be discussed
   later).  The peering policies expressed in the AS2 aut-num object in
   Figure 2 are typical for a small service provider providing
   connectivity for a customer AS3 and using AS1 for transit.  That is,
   AS2 only accepts announcements from AS3 which:

   o  are originated in AS3; and

   o  have paths composed of only AS3's (^ in <^AS3+$> means that AS3 is
      the first member of the path, + means that AS3 occurs one or more
      times in the path, and $ means that no other AS can be present in
      the path after AS3) (1).

   To AS1, AS2 announces only those routes which originate in their AS
   or in their customer's AS.

                  |          |
                  |          |

      Figure 3:  Some Neighboring ASes.

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   In the example above, "accept ANY" in the import attribute indicates
   that AS2 will accept any announcements that AS1 sends, and "announce
   ANY" in the export attribute indicates that any route that AS2 has in
   its routing table will be passed on to AS3.  Assuming that AS1
   announces "ANY" to AS2, AS2 is taking full routing from AS1.

   Note that with this peering arrangement, if AS1 adds or deletes route
   objects, there is no need to update any of the aut-num objects to
   continue the full routing policy.  Added (or deleted) route objects
   will implicitly update AS1's and AS2's policies.

   While the peering policy specified in Figure 2 for AS2 is common, in
   practice many peering agreements are more complex.  Before we
   consider more examples, however, let's first consider the aut-num
   object itself.  Note that it is just a set of attribute labels and
   values which can be submitted to one of the registry databases.  This
   particular object is specified as being in (or headed for) the RIPE
   registry (see the last line in Figure 2).  The source should be
   specified as one of ANS, CANET, CW, RADB, or RIPE depending on the
   registry in which the object is maintained.  The source attribute
   must be specified in every database object.

   It is also worth noting that this object is "maintained by" OPS4-RIPE
   (the value of the mnt-by attribute), which references a "mntner"
   object.  Because the aut-num object may be used for router
   configuration and other operational purposes, the readers need to be
   able to count on the validity of its contents.  It is therefore
   required that a mntner be specified in the aut-num and in most other
   database objects, which means you must create a mntner object before
   you can register your peering policies.  For brief information on the
   "mntner" object and object writeability, see Appendix A of this
   document.  For more extensive information on how to set up and use a
   mntner to protect your database objects, see Section 2.3 of RIPE-157.

2.2 ISP Customer - Transit Provider Policies

   It is not uncommon for an ISP to acquire connectivity from a transit
   provider which announces all routes to it, which it in turn passes on
   to its customers to allow them to access hosts on the global
   Internet.  Meanwhile, the ISP will generally announce the routes of
   its customers networks to the transit ISP, making them accessible on
   the global Internet.  This is the service that is specified in Figure
   2 for AS3.

   Consider again Figure 3.  Suppose now that AS2 wants to provide the
   same service to AS4.  Clearly, it would be easy to modify the import
   and export lines in the aut-num object for AS2 (Figure 2) to those
   shown in Figure 4.

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      import:      from AS1 accept ANY
      import:      from AS3 accept <^AS3+$>
      import:      from AS4 accept <^AS4+$>
      export:      to AS3 announce ANY
      export:      to AS4 announce ANY
      export:      to AS1 announce AS2 AS3 AS4

      Figure 4:  Policy for AS3 and AS4 in the AS2 as-num object

   These changes are trivial to make of course, but clearly as the
   number of AS2 customers grows, it becomes more difficult to keep
   track of, and to prevent errors.  Note also that if AS1 is selective
   about only accepting routes from the customers of AS2 from AS2, the
   aut-num object for AS1 would have to be adjusted to accommodate AS2's
   new customer.

   By using the RPSL "as-set" object, we can simplify this
   significantly.  In Figure 5, we describe the customers of AS2.
   Having this set to work with, we can now rewrite the policies in
   Figure 2 as shown in Figure 6.

      as-set:      AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS
      members:     AS3 AS4
      source:      RIPE

      Figure 5:  The as-set object

      import:      from AS1 accept ANY
      import:      from AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS accept <^AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS+$>
      export:      to AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS announce ANY
      export:      to AS1 announce AS2 AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS

      Figure 6:  Policy in the AS2 aut-num object for all AS2 customers

   Note that if the aut-num object for AS1 contains the line:

      import:      from AS2 accept <^AS2+ AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS*$>

   then no changes will need to be made to the aut-num objects for AS1
   or AS2 as the AS2 customer base grows.  The AS numbers for new
   customers can simply be added to the as-set AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS, and
   everything will work as for the existing customers.  Clearly in terms
   of readability, scalability and maintainability, this is a far better
   mechanism when compared to adding policy for the customer AS's to the
   aut-num objects directly.  The policy in this particular example
   states that AS1 will accept route announcements from AS2 in which the
   first element of the path is AS2, followed by more occurrences of

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   AS2, and then 0 or more occurrences of any AS2 customer (e.g.  any
   member of the as-set AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS).

   Alternatively, one may wish to limit the routes one accepts from a
   peer, especially if the peer is a customer.  This is recommended for
   several reasons, such as preventing the improper use of unassigned
   address space, and of course malicious use of another organization's
   address space.

   Such filtering can be expressed in various ways in RPSL. Suppose the
   address space has been allocated to the ISP managing AS3
   for assignment to its customers.  AS3 may want to announce part or
   all of this block on the global Internet.  Suppose AS2 wants to be
   certain that it only accepts announcements from AS3 for address space
   that has been properly allocated to AS3.  AS2 might then modify the
   AS3 import line in Figure 2 to read:

      import:      from AS3 accept {^16-19 }

   which states that route announcements for this address block will be
   accepted from AS3 if they are of length upto /19.  This of course
   will have to be modified if and when AS3 gets more address space.
   Moreover, it is again clear that for an ISP with a growing or
   changing customer base, this mechanism will not scale well.

      route-set:   AS2:RS-ROUTES:AS3
      source:      RIPE

      Figure 7:  The route-set object

   Luckily RPSL supports the notion of a "route-set" which, as shown in
   Figure 7, can be used to specify the set of routes that will be
   accepted from a given customer.  Given this set (and a similar one
   for AS4), the manager of AS2 can now filter on the address space that
   will be accepted from their customers by modifying the import lines
   in the AS2 aut-num object as shown in Figure 8.

      import:      from AS1 accept ANY
      import:      from AS3 accept AS2:RS-ROUTES:AS3
      import:      from AS4 accept AS2:RS-ROUTES:AS4
      export:      to AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS announce ANY
      export:      to AS1 announce AS2 AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS

      Figure 8:  Policy in the AS2 aut-num object for address based
                 filtering on AS2 customers

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   Note that this is now only slightly more complex than the example in
   Figure 6.  Furthermore, nothing need be changed in the AS2 aut-num
   object due to address space changes for a customer, and this
   filtering can be supported without any changes to the AS1 aut-num
   object.  The additional complexity is due to the two route set names
   being different, otherwise we could have combined the two import
   statements into one.  Please note that the set names are constructed
   hierarchically.  The first AS number denotes whose sets these are,
   and the last AS number parameterize these sets for each peer.  RPSL
   allows the peer's AS number to be replaced by the keyword PeerAS.


      import:      from AS3 accept AS2:RS-ROUTES:PeerAS
      import:      from AS4 accept AS2:RS-ROUTES:PeerAS

   has the same meaning as the corresponding import statements in Figure
   6.  This lets us combine the two import statements into one as shown
   in Figure 9.

      import:      from AS1 accept ANY
      import:      from AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS accept AS2:RS-ROUTES:PeerAS
      export:      to AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS announce ANY
      export:      to AS1 announce AS2 AS2:AS-CUSTOMERS

      Figure 9:  Policy in the AS2 aut-num object using PeerAS

2.3 Including Interfaces in Peering Definitions

   In the above examples peerings were only given among ASes.  However,
   the peerings may be described in much more detail by RPSL, where
   peerings can be specified between physical routers using IP addresses
   in the import and export attributes.  Figure 10 shows a simple
   example in which AS1 and AS2 are connected to an exchange point IX.
   While AS1 has only one connection to the exchange point via a router
   interface with IP address, AS2 has two different connections
   with IP address and  The first AS may then define
   its routing policy in more detail by specifying its boundary router.

      +--------------------+                +--------------------+
      |   |-----+    +-----|            |
      |                    |     |    |     |                    |
      | AS1                |    ========    |                AS2 |
      |                    |    IX    |     |                    |
      |                    |          +-----|            |
      +--------------------+                +--------------------+

      Figure 10:  Including interfaces in peerings definitions

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      aut-num:   AS1
      import:    from AS2 at accept <^AS2+$>

   Because AS1 has only one connection to the exchange point in this
   example, this specification does not differ from that in which no
   boundary router is specified.  However, AS1 might want to choose to
   accept only those announcements from AS2 which come from the router
   with IP address and disregard those announcements from router  AS1 can specify this routing policy as follows:

      aut-num:   AS1
      import:    from AS2 at accept <^AS2+$>

   By selecting certain pairs of routers in a peering specification,
   others can be denied.  If no routers are included in a policy clause
   then it is assumed that the policy applies to all peerings among the
   ASes involved.

2.4 Describing Simple Backup Connections

   The specification of peerings among ASes is not limited to one router
   for each AS. In figure 10 one of the two connections of AS2 to the
   exchange point IX might be used as backup in case the other
   connection fails.  Let us assume that AS1 wants to use the connection
   to router of AS2 during regular operations, and router as backup.  In a router configuration this may be done by
   setting a local preference.  The equivalent in RPSL is a
   corresponding action definition in the peering description.  The
   action definitions are inserted directly before the accept keyword.

      aut-num:   AS1
      import:    from AS2 at action pref=10;
                 from AS2 at action pref=20;
                 accept <^AS2+$>

   pref is opposite to local-pref in that the smaller values are
   preferred over larger values.  Actions may also be defined without
   specifying IP addresses of routers.  If no routers are included in
   the policy clause then it is assumed that the actions are carried out
   for all peerings among the ASes involved.

   In the previous example AS1 controls where it sends its traffic and
   which connection is used as backup.  However, AS2 may also define a
   backup connection in an export clause:

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      aut-num:   AS2
      export:    to AS1 at action med=10;
                 to AS1 at action med=20;
                 announce <^AS2+$>

   The definition given here for AS2 is the symmetric counterpart to the
   routing policy of AS1.  The selection of routing information is done
   by setting the multi exit discriminator metric med.  Actually, med
   metrics will not be used in practice like this; they are more
   suitable for load balancing including backups.  For more details on
   med metrics refer to the BGP-4 RFC [7].  To use the med to achieve
   load balancing, one often sets it to the "IGP metric".  This is
   specified in RPSL as:

      aut-num:   AS2
      export:    to AS1 action med=igp_cost; announce <^AS2+$>

   Hence, both routers will set the med to the IGP metric at that
   router, causing some routes to be preferred at one of the routers and
   other routes at the other router.

2.5 Multi-Home Routing Policies using the community Attribute

   RFC 1998 [9] describes the use of the BGP community attribute to
   provide support for load balancing and backup connections of multi-
   homed autonomous systems.  In this section, we use stepwise
   refinement of an example to illustrate how those policies might be
   specified using RPSL.

   The basic premise of RFC 1998 is to use the BGP community attribute
   to allow a customer to configure the BGP "LOCAL_PREF" on a provider's
   routers.  This will allow the customer to influence the provider's
   route selection, normally by lowering the BGP "LOCAL_PREF" to
   indicate backup arrangements.

   In this example, we illustrate how AS1 (the provider) might specify
   their policy so that a customer (AS4) connected to two of AS1's
   direct customers (AS2 and AS3) might signal to AS1 which connection
   is to be preferred.

   AS1's base policy is to only accept routes from customers that are
   originated by the customer, or by the customer's customers.  This
   leads to a policy such as:

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      aut-num:     AS1
      import:      from AS2
                   accept (AS2 OR AS4) AND <^AS2+ AS4*$>
      import:      from AS3
                   accept (AS3 OR AS4) AND <^AS3+ AS4*$>
      import:      from AS5
                   accept AS5 AND <^AS5+$>

   Note that AS4 is a customer of AS2 and AS3, and AS5 does not have its
   own customers.

   Now suppose we want to add some policy to describe that if a customer
   tags a route with community 1:1 then AS1 will act on this to reduce
   the BGP "LOCAL_PREF" by 10.

   aut-num: AS1
   import:  from AS2
            action pref=10;
            accept (AS2 OR AS4) AND <^AS2+ AS4*$>
                    AND community.contains(1:1)
   import:  from AS2
            action pref=0;
            accept (AS2 OR AS4) AND <^AS2+ AS4*$>
   import:  from AS3
            action pref=10;
            accept (AS3 OR AS4) AND <^AS3+ AS4*$>
                    AND community.contains(1:1)
   import:  from AS3
            action pref=0;
            accept (AS3 OR AS4) AND <^AS3+ AS4*$>
   import:  from AS5
            action pref=10;
            accept AS5 AND <^AS5+$> AND community.contains(1:1)
   import:  from AS5
            action pref=0;
            accept AS5 AND <^AS5+$>

   We can see here that basically we are adding identical statements for
   each peering to the policy.  This is the ideal candidate for RPSL's
   refine statement.  This will make the policy more concise and avoid
   some of the potential for errors as more peering statements are added
   in the future:

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      aut-num:     AS1
      import: {
                   from AS-ANY
                        action pref=10;
                        accept community.contains(1:1);
                   from AS-ANY
                        action pref=0;
                        accept ANY;
               } refine {
                   from AS2 accept (AS2 OR AS4) AND <^AS2+ AS4*$>;
                   from AS3 accept (AS3 OR AS4) AND <^AS3+ AS4*$>;
                   from AS5 accept AS5 AND <^AS5+$>;

   Now, we can clearly see that any route that has been accepted from a
   customer that contains the community 1:1 will have it's local
   preference value reduced by 10.

   The refinement has cleaned up some of the policy but we still have a
   large number of individual policies representing the same basic
   provider policy "from the customer, accept customer routes".  These
   can be simplified by using AS sets.

   First, we will collect together all of AS1's customers into a single
   AS set, AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS. We use a hierarchical set name that start
   with AS1 to avoid possible set name clashes in IRR with other ASes:

    as-set:      AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS
    members:     AS2, AS3, AS5

   We also define one set for each customer which lists the AS numbers
   of any of their customers.

    as-set:      AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS:AS2
    members:     AS4

    as-set:      AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS:AS3
    members:     AS4

    as-set:      AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS:AS5
    members:     # AS5 has no customers yet, so keep blank for now

   We can now use the keyword PeerAS with these AS sets to simplify the
   policy further:

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      aut-num:     AS1
      import: {
                   from AS-ANY
                        action pref=10;
                        accept community.contains(1:1);
                   from AS-ANY
                        action pref=0;
                        accept ANY;
              } refine {
                   from AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS
                        accept (PeerAS OR AS1:AS-CUSTOMER:PeerAS)
                               AND <^PeerAS+ AS1:AS-CUSTOMER:PeerAS*$>

   The use of PeerAS with AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS is basically equivalent to
   looping over the members of AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS, expanding the policy by
   replacing PeerAS with a member from the set AS1:AS-CUSTOMERS.

   To illustrate how this policy might be utilised by AS4, we present
   the following policy fragment:

      aut-num: AS4
      export: to AS2
              action community.append(1:1);
              announce AS1
      export: to AS3
              announce AS1

   Here, AS4 is signalling AS1 to prefer the routes from AS3.

3 Tools

   In this section, we briefly introduce a number of tools which can be
   used to inspect data in the database, to determine optimal routing
   policies, and enter new data.

3.1 The aut-num Object Editor

   All the examples shown in the previous sections may well be edited by
   hand.  They may be extracted one by one from the IRR using the whois
   program, edited, and then handed back to the registry robots.
   However, again the RAToolSet [6] provides a very nice tool which
   makes working with aut-num objects much easier:  the aut-num object
   editor aoe.

   The aut-num object editor has a graphical user interface to view and
   manipulate aut-num objects registered at any IRR. New aut-num objects
   may be generated using templates and submitted to the registries.

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   Moreover, the routing policy from the databases may be compared to
   real life peerings.  Therefore, aoe is highly recommended as an
   interface to the IRR for aut-num objects.  Further information on aoe
   is available together with the RAToolSet [6].

3.2 Router Configuration Using RtConfig

   RtConfig is a tool developed by the Routing Arbiter project [8] to
   generate vendor specific router configurations from the policy data
   held in the various IRRs.  RtConfig currently supports Cisco, gated
   and RSd configuration formats.  It has been publicly available since
   late 1994, and is currently being used by many sites for router
   configuration.  The next section describes a methodology for
   generating vendor specific router configurations using RtConfig (2).

3.3 Using RtConfig

   The general paradigm for using RtConfig involves registering policy
   in an IRR, building a RtConfig source file, then running running
   RtConfig against the source file and the IRR database to create
   vendor specific router configuration for the specified policy.  The
   source file will contain vendor specific commands as well as RtConfig
   commands.  To make a source file, pick up one of your router
   configuration files and replace the vendor specific policy
   configuration commands with the RtConfig commands.

   Commands beginning with @RtConfig instruct RtConfig to perform
   special operations.  An example source file is shown in Figure 11.
   In this example, commands such as "@RtConfig import AS3582 AS3701" instruct RtConfig to generate
   vendor specific import policies where the router in
   AS3582 is importing routes from router in AS3701.  The
   other @RtConfig commands instruct the RtConfig to use certain names
   and numbers in the output that it generates (please refer to RtConfig
   manual [8] for additional information).

   Once a source file is created, the file is processed by RtConfig (the
   default IRR is the RADB, and the default vendor is Cisco; however,
   command line options can be used to override these values).  The
   result of running RtConfig on the source file in Figure 11 is shown
   in Figure 19 in Appendix B.

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      router    bgp 3582
      !       Start with access-list 100
      @RtConfig set cisco_access_list_no = 100
      !       NERO
      neighbor remote-as 3701
      @RtConfig set cisco_map_name = "AS3701-EXPORT"
      @RtConfig export AS3582 AS3701
      @RtConfig set cisco_map_name = "AS3701-IMPORT"
      @RtConfig import AS3582 AS3701
      !       WNA/VERIO
      neighbor remote-as 2914
      @RtConfig set cisco_map_name = "AS2914-EXPORT"
      @RtConfig export AS3582 AS2914
      @RtConfig set cisco_map_name = "AS2914-IMPORT"
      @RtConfig import AS3582 AS2914

      Figure 11:  RtConfig Template File

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A RPSL Database Objects

      In this appendix, we introduce the RPSL objects required to implement many
      typical Internet routing policies.  RFC-2622 and RIPE-157 provide the
      authoritative description for these objects and for the RPSL syntax, but
      this appendix will often be sufficient in practice.

   The frequently needed objects are:

      o  maintainer objects (mntner)

      o  autonomous system number objects (aut-num)

      o  route objects (route)

      o  set objects (as-set, route-set)

   and they are described in the following sections.  To make your
   routing policies and configuration public, these objects should be
   registered in exactly one of the IRR registries.

   In general, you can register your information by sending the
   appropriate objects to an email address for the registry you use.
   The email should consist of the objects you want to have registered
   or modified, separated by empty lines, and preceded by some kind of
   authentication details (see below).  The registry robot processes
   your mail and enters new objects into the database, deletes old ones
   (upon request), or makes the requested modifications.

   You will receive a response indicating the status of your submission.
   As the emails are handled automatically, the response is generally
   very fast.  However, it should be remembered that a significant
   number of updates are also sometimes submitted to the database (by
   other robots), so the response time cannot be guaranteed.  The email
   addresses for submitting objects to the existing registries are
   listed in Figure 12.


      Figure 12:  Email addresses to register policy objects in IRR.

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   Because it is required that a maintainer be specified in many of the
   database objects, a mntner is usually the first to be created.  To
   have it properly authenticated, a mntner object is added manually by
   registry staff.  Thereafter, all database submissions, deletions and
   modifications should be done through the registry robot.

   Each of the registries can provide additional information and support
   for users.  For the public registries this support is available from
   the email addresses listed in Figure 13.


            Figure 13:  Support email addresses.

   If you are using one of the private registries, your service provider
   should be able to address your questions.

A.1 The Maintainer Object

   The maintainer object is used to introduce some kind of authorization
   for registrations.  It lists various contact persons and describes
   security mechanisms that will be applied when updating objects in the
   IRR.  Registering a mntner object is the first step in creating
   policies for an AS. An example is shown in Figure 14.  The maintainer
   is called MAINT-AS3701.  The contact person here is the same for
   administrative (admin-c) and technical (tech-c) issues and is
   referenced by the NIC-handle DMM65.  NIC-handles are unique
   identifiers for persons in registries.  Refer to registry
   documentation for further details on person objects and usage of

   The example shows two authentication mechanisms:  CRYPT-PW and MAIL-
   FROM.  CRYPT-PW takes as its argument a password that is encrypted
   with Unix crypt (3) routine.  When sending updates, the maintainer
   adds the field password:   to the beginning of
   any requests that are to be authenticated.  MAIL-FROM takes an
   argument that is a regular expression which covers a set of mail
   addresses.  Only users with any of these mail addresses are
   authorized to work with objects secured by the corresponding
   maintainer (3).

   The security mechanisms of the mntner object will only be applied on
   those objects referencing a specific mntner object.  The reference is
   done by adding the attribute mnt-by to an object using the name of
   the mntner object as its value.  In Figure 14, the maintainer MAINT-
   AS3701 is maintained by itself.

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      mntner:      MAINT-AS3701
      descr:       Network for Research and Engineering in Oregon
      remark:      Internal Backbone
      admin-c:     DMM65
      tech-c:      DMM65
      auth:        CRYPT-PW  949WK1mirBy6c
      auth:        MAIL-FROM .*
      mnt-by:      MAINT-AS3701
      changed: 970318
      source:      RADB

      Figure 14:  Maintainer Object

A.2 The Autonomous System Object

   The autonomous system object describes the import and export policies
   of an AS. Each organization registers an autonomous system object
   (aut-num) in the IRR for its AS. Figure 15 shows the aut-num for
   AS3582 (UONET).

   The autonomous system object lists contacts (admin-c, tech-c) and is
   maintained by (mnt-by) MAINT-AS3701 which is the maintainer displayed
   in Figure 14.

   The most important attributes of the aut-num object are import and
   export.  The import clause of an aut-num specifies import policies,
   while the export clause specifies export policies.  The corresponding
   clauses allow a very detailed description of the routing policy of
   the AS specified.  The details are given in section 2.

   With these clauses, an aut-num object shows its relationship to other
   autonomous systems by describing its peerings.  In addition, it also
   defines a routing entity comprising a group of IP networks which are
   handled according to the rules defined in the aut-num object.
   Therefore, it is closely linked to route objects.

   In this example, AS3582 imports all routes from AS3701 by using the
   keyword ANY. AS3582 imports only internal routes from AS4222, AS5650,
   and AS1798.  The import policy for for AS2914 is slightly more
   complex.  Since AS2914 provides transit to various other ASes, AS3582
   accepts routes with ASPATHs that begin with AS2194 followed by
   members of AS-WNA, which is an as set (see section A.4.1 below)
   describing those customers that transit AS2914.

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   Since AS3582 is a multi-homed stub AS (i.e., it does not provide
   transit), its export policy consists simply of "announce AS3582"
   clauses; that is, announce internal routes of AS3582.  These routes
   are those in route objects where the origin attribute is AS3582.

      aut-num:     AS3582
      as-name:     UONET
      descr:       University of Oregon, Eugene OR
      import:      from AS3701 accept ANY
      import:      from AS4222 accept <^AS4222+$>
      import:      from AS5650 accept <^AS5650+$>
      import:      from AS2914 accept <^AS2914+ (AS-WNA)*$>
      import:      from AS1798 accept <^AS1798+$>
      export:      to AS3701 announce AS3582
      export:      to AS4222 announce AS3582
      export:      to AS5650 announce AS3582
      export:      to AS2914 announce AS3582
      export:      to AS1798 announce AS3582
      admin-c:     DMM65
      tech-c:      DMM65
      mnt-by:      MAINT-AS3582
      changed: 970316
      source:      RADB

      Figure 15:  Autonomous System Object

   The aut-num object forms the basis of a scalable and maintainable

      origin:      AS3582
      descr:       UONet
      descr:       University of Oregon
      descr:       Computing Center
      descr:       Eugene, OR 97403-1212
      descr:       USA
      mnt-by:      MAINT-AS3582
      changed: 960222
      source:      RADB

      Figure 16:  Example of a route object

   configuration system.  For example, if AS3582 originates a new route,
   it need only create a route object for that route with origin AS3582.
   AS3582 can now build configuration using this route object without
   changing its aut-num object.

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   Similarly, if for example, AS3701 originates a new route, it need
   only create a route object for that route with origin AS3701.  Both
   AS3701 and AS3582 can now build configuration using this route object
   without modifying its aut-num object.

A.3 The Route Object

   In contrast to aut-num objects which describe propagation of routing
   information for an autonomous system as a whole, route objects define
   single routes from an AS. An example is given in Figure 16.

   This route object is maintained by MAINT-AS3582 and references AS3582
   by the origin attribute.  By this reference it is grouped together
   with other routes of the same origin AS, becoming member of the
   routing entity denoted by AS3582.  The routing policies can then be
   defined in the aut-num objects for this group of routes.

   Consequently, the route objects give the routes from this AS which
   are distributed to peer ASes according to the rules of the routing
   policy.  Therefore, for any route in the routing tables of the
   backbone routers a route object must exist in one of the registries
   in IRR. route objects must be registered in the IRR only for the
   routes seen outside your AS. Normally, this set of external routes is
   different from the routes internally visible within your AS. One of
   the major reasons is that external peers need no information at all
   about your internal routing specifics.  Therefore, external routes
   are in general aggregated combinations of internal routes, having
   shorter IP prefixes where applicable according to the CIDR rules.
   Please see the CIDR FAQ [5] for a tutorial introduction to CIDR. It
   is strongly recommended that you aggregate your routes as much as
   possible, thereby minimizing the number of routes you inject into the
   global routing table and at the same time reducing the corresponding
   number of route objects in the IRR.

   While you may easily query single route objects using the whois
   program, and submit objects via mail to the registry robots, this
   becomes kind of awkward for larger sets.  The RAToolSet [6] offers
   several tools to make handling of route objects easier.  If you want
   to read policy data from the IRR and process it by other programs,
   you might be interested in using peval which is a low level policy
   evaluation tool.  As an example, the command

      peval -h AS3582

   will give you all route objects from AS3582 registered with RADB.

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   A much more sophisticated tool from the RAToolSet to handle route
   objects interactively is the route object editor roe.  It has a
   graphical user interface to view and manipulate route objects
   registered at any IRR. New route objects may be generated from
   templates and submitted to the registries.  Moreover, the route
   objects from the databases may be compared to real life routes.
   Therefore, roe is highly recommended as an interface to the IRR for
   route objects.  Further information on peval and roe is available
   together with the RAToolSet [6].

A.4 Set Objects

   With routing policies it is often necessary to reference groups of
   autonomous systems or routes which have identical properties
   regarding a specific policy.  To make working with such groups easier
   RPSL allows to combine them in set objects.  There are two basic
   types of predefined set objects, as-set, and route-set.  The RPSL set
   objects are described below.

A.4.1 AS-SET Object

   Autonomous system set objects (as-set) are used to group autonomous
   system objects into named sets.  An as-set has an RPSL name that
   starts with "AS-".  In the example in Figure 17, an as-set called
   AS-NERO-PARTNERS and containing AS3701, AS4201, AS3582, AS4222,
   AS1798 is defined.  The as-set is the RPSL replacement for the RIPE-
   181 as-macro.  It has been extended to include ASes in the set
   indirectly by referencing as set names in the aut-num objects.

   AS-SETs are particularly useful when specifying policies for groups
   such as customers, providers, or for transit.  You are encouraged to
   register sets for these groups because it is most likely that you
   will treat them alike, i.e. you will have a very similar routing
   policy for all your customers which have an autonomous system of
   their own.  You may as well discover that this is also true for the
   providers you are peering with, and it is most convenient to have the
   ASes combined in one as-set for which you offer transit.  For
   example, if a transit provider specifies its import policy using its
   customer's as-set (i.e., its import clause for the customer contains
   the customer's as-set), then that customer can modify the set of ASes
   that its transit provider accepts from it.  Again, this can be
   accomplished without requiring the customer or the transit provider
   to modify its aut-num object.

      as-set:    AS3582:AS-PARTNERS
      members:   AS3701, AS4201, AS3582, AS4222, AS1798

                          Figure 17:  as-set Object

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   The ASes of the set are simply compiled in a comma delimited list
   following the members attribute of the as-set.  This list may also
   contain other AS-SET names.

A.4.2 ROUTE-SET Object

   A route-set is a way to name a group of routes.  The syntax is
   similar to the as-set.  A route-set has an RPSL name that starts with
   "RS-".  The members attribute lists the members of the set.  The
   value of a members attribute is a list of address prefixes, or
   route-set names.  The members of the route-set are the address
   prefixes or the names of other route sets specified.

   Figure 18 presents some example route-set objects.  The set rs-uo
   contains two address prefixes, namely and  The set rs-bar contains the members of the set rs-
   uo and the address prefix  The set rs-martians
   illustrate the use of range operators.^32 are the length
   32 more specifics of, i.e. the host routes;^+
   are the more specifics of, i.e. the routes falling into
   the multicast address space.  For more complete list of range
   operators please refer to RFC-2622.

      route-set: rs-uo

      route-set: rs-bar
      members:, rs-uo

      route-set: rs-martians
      remarks: routes not accepted from any peer
      members:,              # default route
     ^32,           # host routes
     ^+,          # multicast routes
     ^9-32, . . .

                        Figure 18:  route-set Objects

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B Output of RtConfig:  An Example

      In Figure 19, you see the result of running RtConfig on the source
      file in Figure 11.

      router    bgp 3582
      !       NERO
      neighbor remote-as 3701

      no access-list 100
      access-list 100 permit ip
      access-list 100 deny ip
      no route-map AS3701-EXPORT
      route-map AS3701-EXPORT permit 1
       match ip address 100
      router bgp 3582
      neighbor route-map AS3701-EXPORT out
      no route-map AS3701-IMPORT
      route-map AS3701-IMPORT permit 1
       set local-preference 1000
      router bgp 3582
      neighbor route-map AS3701-IMPORT in
      !       WNA/VERIO
      neighbor remote-as 2914
      no route-map AS2914-EXPORT
      route-map AS2914-EXPORT permit 1
       match ip address 100
      router bgp 3582
      neighbor route-map AS2914-EXPORT out
      no ip as-path access-list  100
      ip as-path access-list 100 permit ^_2914(((_[0-9]+))*_             \
            (13|22|97|132|175|668|1914|2905|2914|3361|3381|3791|3937|    \
             4178|4354|4571|4674|4683|5091|5303|5798|5855|5856|5881|6083 \
      no route-map AS2914-IMPORT
      route-map AS2914-IMPORT permit 1
       match as-path 100
       set local-preference 998

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      router bgp 3582
      neighbor route-map AS2914-IMPORT in

                        Figure 19:  Output of RtConfig

Security Considerations

      This document is a tutorial to RPSL, it does not define protocols or
      standards that need to be secured.


   (1) AS-PATH regular expressions are POSIX compliant regular

   (2) Discussion of RtConfig internals is beyond the scope of this

   (3) Clearly, neither of these mechanisms is sufficient to provide
       strong authentication or authorization.  Other public key (e.g.,
       PGP) authentication mechanisms are available from some of the


   [1] Alaettinoglu, C., Villamizar, C., Gerich, E., Kessens, D., Meyer,
       D., Bates, T., Karrenberg, D. and M. Terpstra, "Routing Policy
       Specification Language (RPSL)", RFC 2622, June 1999.

   [2] Bates, T., Jouanigot, J-M., Karrenberg, D., Lothberg, P. and M.
       Terpstra, "Representation of IP Routing Policies in the RIPE
       database", Technical Report ripe-81, RIPE, RIPE NCC, Amsterdam,
       Netherlands, February 1993.

   [3] T. Bates, E. Gerich, J. Joncharay, J-M. Jouanigot, D. Karrenberg,
       M.  Terpstra, and J. Yu. Representation of IP Routing Policies in
       a Routing Registry, Technical Report ripe-181, RIPE, RIPE NCC,
       Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 1994.

   [4] A. M. R. Magee. RIPE NCC Database Documentation. Technical Report
       RIPE-157, RIPE NCC, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 1997.

   [5] Hank Nussbacher. The CIDR FAQ. Tel Aviv University and IBM

   [6] The RAToolSet.

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   [7] Rekhter Y. and T. Li, "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC
       1654, July 1994.

   [8] RtConfig as part of the RAToolSet.

   [9] Chen, E. and T. Bates, "An Application of the BGP Community
       Attribute in Multi-Home Routing", RFC 1998, August 1996.

Authors' Addresses

   David Meyer
   Cisco Systems


   Joachim Schmitz
   America On-Line


   Carol Orange


   Mark Prior pty ltd


   Cengiz Alaettinoglu
   USC/Information Sciences Institute


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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
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   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
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   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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