A System for Authenticated Policy-Compliant Routing

Barath Raghavan and Alex C. Snoeren.
Proc. of the ACM SIGCOMM 2004 Conference on Applications, Technologies, Architectures, and Protocols for Computer Communication, September 2004.

Internet end users and ISPs alike have little control over how packets are routed outside of their own AS, restricting their ability to achieve levels of performance, reliability, and utility that might otherwise be attained. While researchers have proposed a number of source-routing techniques to combat this limitation, there has thus far been no way for independent ASes to ensure that such traffic does not circumvent local traffic policies, nor to accurately determine the correct party to charge for forwarding the traffic.

We present Platypus, an authenticated source routing system built around the concept of network capabilities. Network capabilities allow for accountable, fine-grained path selection by cryptographically attesting to policy compliance at each hop along a source route. Capabilities can be composed to construct routes through multiple ASes and can be delegated to third parties. Platypus caters to the needs of both end users and ISPs: users gain the ability to pool their resources and select routes other than the default, while ISPs maintain control over where, when, and whose packets traverse their networks. We describe how Platypus can be used to address several well-known issues in wide-area routing at both the edge and the core, and evaluate its performance, security, and interactions with existing protocols. Our results show that incremental deployment of Platypus can achieve immediate gains.

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