Re: [Idr] Why do we define so many communities for BGP

Job Snijders <> Tue, 08 November 2016 12:14 UTC

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Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2016 13:14:00 +0100
From: Job Snijders <>
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Subject: Re: [Idr] Why do we define so many communities for BGP
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On Tue, Nov 08, 2016 at 07:51:52PM +0800, wrote:
> I am confused by large community defined in
> draft-ietf-idr-large-community, wide community defined in
> draft-ietf-idr-wide-bgp-communities, extended community defined in
> RFC4360, community defined in RFC1997. Why do we need so many kinds of
> BGP communities?

It is healthy for the IETF that ideas can compete with each other.

Without competing drafts, the IETF would suffer from a anti-pattern
where someone (metaphorically) takes a cookie, licks it and puts it back
on the cookie tray, essentially preventing anyone else from having it,
but not eating it by himself or herself.

This anti-pattern can be often seen within volunteer communities when
discussing a certain issue or an improvement. Someone says "I've already
done draft on this topic,". This would prevent others from working on
the feature as there is already someone who started working on it. If
it's not followed up on by this person, it's essentially a dead project.
Nobody else touches it, but nothing real gets done.

Regarding RFC4360 - it has been documented that RFC4360 communities are
unsuitable, this is described as following in the draft:

    """Since the adoption of four-octet ASNs [RFC6793], the BGP
    Communities attribute can no longer accommodate the above encoding,
    as a two- octet word cannot fit a four-octet ASN.  The BGP Extended
    Communities attribute [RFC4360] is also unsuitable.  The six-octet
    length of the Extended Community value precludes the common
    operational practise of encoding four-octet ASNs in both the Global
    Administrator and the Local Administrator sub-fields."""

> Can the large community be encoded in type 3 wide community?

No. There was disagreement on the transivity behaviourisms between
various parties involved. And in the end, there is no reason the two
technologies can't co-exist.

I want to conclude with an emphasis on the fact that the Large BGP
Communities effort has running code, lots of it. Please take a look

You can see that not only the BGP implementations have taken on to
support Large BGP Communities, but that the entire ecosystem is being
upgraded to work with large communities: tcpdump, wireshark, pmacct,
pgbpp, zebra-dump-parser, mrtparse, and the list is growing weekly.

Perhaps the following saying is applicable?


Kind regards,