Pathlet Routing

P. Brighten Godfrey, Igor Ganichev, Scott Shenker, and Ion Stoica
Appears in: 
CCR October 2009

We present a new routing protocol, pathlet routing, in which networks advertise fragments of paths, called pathlets, that sources concatenate into end-to-end source routes. Intuitively, the pathlet is a highly exible building block, capturing policy constraints as well as enabling an exponentially large number of path choices. In particular, we show that pathlet routing can emulate the policies of BGP, source routing, and several recent multipath proposals.

This exibility lets us address two major challenges for Internet routing: scalability and source-controlled routing. When a router's routing policy has only \local" constraints, it can be represented using a small number of pathlets, leading to very small forwarding tables and many choices of routes for senders. Crucially, pathlet routing does not impose a global requirement on what style of policy is used, but rather allows multiple styles to coexist. The protocol thus supports complex routing policies while enabling and incentivizing the adoption of policies that yield small forwarding plane state and a high degree of path choice.