Route analytics

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Route analytics is an emerging network monitoring technology specifically developed to analyze the routing protocols and structures in meshed IP Networks. Their main mode of operation is to passively listen to the Layer 3 routing protocol exchanges between routers for the purposes of network discovery, mapping, real-time monitoring and routing diagnostics.

General information[edit]

Routes analytics technology was motivated by the "best effort" nature of IP networks and the lack of visibility into the dynamic nature of packet routing across IP networks – often referred to as the IP cloud. Typical IP networks are based on a number of interconnected routers. Information is exchanged between network routers using different routing protocols to dynamically determine the best route for packets to take - the most widely deployed protocols include OSPF, IS-IS, EIGRP and BGP.

Route analytics systems function by establishing a relationship (adjacency) with a single router in a Layer 3 network followed by passive listening of the control plane messages being exchanged by the routers. By becoming part of the control plane, route analytics systems effectively act as a passive router, having the same routing knowledge of other network routers but without the ability to forward actual data packets. Though the systems are actively participating in the control plane, they cannot affect how data is routed around the network. The systems must also support the various routing protocols to effectively analyze the updates announced by the network routers.

The main features of a route analytics system are:

  • Real-time and accurate discovery of routed networks
  • Computation of Layer 3 network routing topology and visualization of primary and redundant paths
  • Visibility into current and historical routing information (e.g. LSAs, AS Externals)
  • Detection of routing events, failures or protocol anomalies (for example route flapping) impacting paths or reachability
  • Ability to handle multiple protocols' routing such as OSPF, ISIS, or BGP

Vendors[edit]

The Route analytics technology is being offered by less than a handful of vendors today who are addressing a growing market niche consisting of larger enterprises and carriers. These vendors include Packet Design, OPNET, Alcatel-Lucent, Netcordia, Solana Networks and Iptivia. Hewlett Packard also offers a licensed version from Packet Design as an integrated option to its HP Network Node Manager.

References[edit]