FIRE: Flexible Intra-AS Routing Environment

Craig Partridge, Alex C. Snoeren, W. Timothy Strayer, Beverly Schwartz, Matthew Condell, and Isidro Castineyra.
IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (J-SAC), Volume 19, Number 3, March 2001.

Current routing protocols are monolithic, specifying the algorithm used to construct forwarding tables, the metric used by the algorithm (generally some form of hop count), and the protocol used to distribute these metrics as an integrated package. The Flexible Intra-AS Routing Environment (FIRE) is a link-state, intra-domain routing protocol that decouples these components. FIRE supports run-time-programmable algorithms and metrics over a secure link-state distribution protocol. By allowing the network operator to dynamically reprogram both the properties being advertised and the routing algorithms used to construct forwarding tables, FIRE enables the development and deployment of novel routing algorithms without the need for a new protocol to distribute state. FIRE supports multiple concurrent routing algorithms and metrics, each constructing separate forwarding tables. By using operator-specified packet filters, separate classes of traffic may be routed using completely different routing algorithms, all supported by a single routing protocol.

This paper presents an overview of FIRE, focusing particularly on FIRE's novel aspects with respect to traditional routing protocols. We consider deploying several current unicast and multicast routing algorithms in FIRE, and briefly describe our Java-based implementation.

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(A preliminary version of this paper appeared in ACM SIGCOMM 2000, August 2000.)