OSPF as the PE-CE routing protocols deep dive – Part 3 of 3 – Loop Prevention

Read part 1
Read part 2
Read part 3

 
When customer sites are single-homed, there is no possibility of a loop forming, unless of course your customer decides to set up a bunch of GRE tunnels and run OSPF over that, but I digress. If a site is multi-homed, or two sites have a back-door between them, it’s essential that route from BGP going into OSPF, do not go back into BGP.

Let’s create a slightly different diagram for this one. R3 is now also a PE router:

The loop prevention used ultimately depends on whether a prefix comes in as internal or external. If a sham-link is configured and all OSPF routes are intra-area, no loop prevention is needed. Standard SPF is run everything is fine. This is because everything is seen in area 0, and SPF can run with full knowledge of the entire area.

As soon as type3s and type5s are used, OSPF becomes a little more distance vector like. ABRs/ASBRs originate new LSAs and other OSPF router believe what is told to them. This makes is possible for loops to appear when multual redistribution is occuring.

The down bit

Let’s go back to RFC 4577, specifically section 4.2.5.1

When a type 3 LSA is sent from a PE router to a CE router, the DN bit [OSPF-DN] in the LSA Options field MUST be set. This is used to ensure that if any CE router sends this type 3 LSA to a PE router, the PE router will not redistribute it further.

When a PE router needs to distribute to a CE router a route that comes from a site outside the latter’s OSPF domain, the PE router presents itself as an ASBR (Autonomous System Border Router), and distributes the route in a type 5 LSA. The DN bit [OSPF-DN] MUST be set in these LSAs to ensure that they will be ignored by any other PE routers that receive them.

There are deployed implementations that do not set the DN bit, but instead use OSPF route tagging to ensure that a type 5 LSA generated by a PE router will be ignored by any other PE router that may receive it. A special OSPF route tag, which we will call the VPN Route Tag (see Section 4.2.5.2), is used for this purpose. To ensure backward compatibility, all implementations adhering to this specification MUST by default support the VPN Route Tag procedures specified in Sections 4.2.5.2, 4.2.8.1, and 4.2.8.2. When it is no longer necessary to use the VPN Route Tag in a particular deployment, its use (both sending and receiving) may be disabled by configuration.

Essentially, if an LSA arrives at a PE with the down bit set, that will never be redistributed into BGP. This prevents the route from leaking in from one PE back into another PE.

Down Bit – IOS

R7 is advertising it’s loopback address. No sham-links are used and so R4 will originate a type3 LSA to R6:

R6#show ip ospf database summary 7.7.7.7  adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Summary Net Link States (Area 0)

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 441
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC, Downward)
  LS Type: Summary Links(Network)
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (summary Network Number)
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000003
  Checksum: 0x5636
  Length: 28
  Network Mask: /32
        MTID: 0         Metric: 2

Options state ‘Downward’ – This LSA is flooded to R6 -> R5 -> R3. R3, another PE, will have the LSA (all databases need to match remember) but it will not use the LSA. The routing bit will not be set, and it will not redistribute that into BGP either:

R3#  show ip ospf database summary 7.7.7.7  adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (10.0.35.3) (Process ID 1)

                Summary Net Link States (Area 0)

  LS age: 597
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC, Downward)
  LS Type: Summary Links(Network)
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (summary Network Number)
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000003
  Checksum: 0x5636
  Length: 28
  Network Mask: /32
        MTID: 0         Metric: 2

The same happens vice-versa. Any LSA originated by R3 to R5, will be received but not used by R4.

Down Bit – IOS-XR

No change in IOS-XR behaviour. You need to be sure your domain-ids match to get a type3 between IOS and IOS-XE:

R6#sh ip ospf database summary 7.7.7.7 adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Summary Net Link States (Area 0)

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 20
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC, Downward)
  LS Type: Summary Links(Network)
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (summary Network Number)
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x5A34
  Length: 28
  Network Mask: /32
        MTID: 0         Metric: 2

Down bit set on the type3.

Route tags – IOS

Let’s go back to the RFC to see what this is all about. Section 4.2.5.2

If a particular VRF in a PE is associated with an instance of OSPF, then by default it MUST be configured with a special OSPF route tag value, which we call the VPN Route Tag. By default, this route tag MUST be included in the Type 5 LSAs that the PE originates (as the result of receiving a BGP-distributed VPN-IPv4 route, see Section 4.2.8) and sends to any of the attached CEs.

The configuration and inclusion of the VPN Route Tag is required for backward compatibility with deployed implementations that do not set the DN bit in type 5 LSAs. The inclusion of the VPN Route Tag may be disabled by configuration if it has been determined that it is no longer needed for backward compatibility.

The value of the VPN Route Tag is arbitrary but must be distinct from any OSPF Route Tag being used within the OSPF domain. Its value MUST therefore be configurable. If the Autonomous System number of the VPN backbone is two bytes long, the default value SHOULD be an automatically computed tag based on that Autonomous System number

If the Autonomous System number is four bytes long, then a Route Tag value MUST be configured, and it MUST be distinct from any Route Tag used within the VPN itself.

If a PE router needs to use OSPF to distribute to a CE router a route that comes from a site outside the CE router’s OSPF domain, the PE router SHOULD present itself to the CE router as an Autonomous System Border Router (ASBR) and SHOULD report such routes as AS-external routes. That is, these PE routers originate Type 5 LSAs reporting the extra-domain routes as AS-external routes. Each such Type 5 LSA MUST contain an OSPF route tag whose value is that of the VPN Route Tag. This tag identifies the route as having come from a PE router. The VPN Route Tag MUST be used to ensure that a Type 5 LSA originated by a PE router is not redistributed through the OSPF area to another PE router.

Note that it says the OSPF should set a route-tag when the implementation doesn’t support setting the down bit in type5 LSAs. Also note in the previous RFC quote that it did note an implementation could set the down bit in type5s if desired. At this point I’ve stopped advertising R7’s loopback directly into OSPF and simply redistributed the loopback. This ensures that the LSA is external.

Usually when an ASBR originates a type5, that type5 remains unchanged in the domain. i.e. the originating router is the same. However according to the quote above, the PE need to originate a new type5 to the attached CE. This we see on R6:

R6#show ip ospf database external 7.7.7.7  adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Type-5 AS External Link States

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 38
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x77C7
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /32
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 20
        Forward Address: 0.0.0.0
        External Route Tag: 3489661028

Notice no down bit. Also note the originator of this type5 is R4 itself. Finally the route has an external route tag of 3489661028

Much like the down bit, if a PE router receives an external LSA with a domain tag that matches it’s own, that LSA will not be used or redistributed

R3#show ip ospf 1 database external 7.7.7.7 adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (10.0.35.3) (Process ID 1)

                Type-5 AS External Link States

  LS age: 744
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x77C7
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /32
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 20
        Forward Address: 0.0.0.0
        External Route Tag: 3489661028

No routing bit set, no redistribution happening.

Route tags – IOS-XR

R6#sh ip ospf database external 7.7.7.7 adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Type-5 AS External Link States

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 11
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0xEFCE
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /32
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 20
        Forward Address: 0.0.0.0
        External Route Tag: 3489661028

IOS-XR and IOS have the same behaviour.

IOS – 32bit AS number – Route-tag

The RFC states that when using 16bit AS numbers, the domain tag is automatically derived. When using a 32bit AS number, it should be manually configured. You are able to manually set this even when using a 16bit number with the domain-tag command. You can see above that when using a 16bit number it was automatic. Let’s move to a 32bit number and see what we see.
A quick change of the BGP sessions:

R4#sh run | sec router bgp
router bgp 4294967295
 no bgp default ipv4-unicast
 bgp log-neighbor-changes
 neighbor 2.2.2.2 remote-as 4294967295
 neighbor 2.2.2.2 update-source Loopback0
 neighbor 3.3.3.3 remote-as 4294967295
 neighbor 3.3.3.3 update-source Loopback0

Take a look at the type5 on R6. The domain-tag matches the 32bit AS number directly. This is not 100% confirming to the RFC which states it should be manually set:

R6#sh ip ospf database external 7.7.7.7 adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Type-5 AS External Link States

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 76
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x2C48
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /32
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 20
        Forward Address: 0.0.0.0
        External Route Tag: 4294967295

Of course, R3 will not use that LSA as it’s domain-tag matches.

Considering the domain-tag matches, it stands to reason that any inter-AS VPN using OSPF would be susceptible to routing loops as each SP will have a different domain-tag. One of them could manually set it to match the other.

32bit AS number – Route-tag – IOS-XR

IOS-XR’s 32bit external behaviour is identical to IOS:

R6#sh ip ospf database external 7.7.7.7 adv-router 4.4.4.4

            OSPF Router with ID (6.6.6.6) (Process ID 1)

                Type-5 AS External Link States

  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 76
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: 7.7.7.7 (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router: 4.4.4.4
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0xA44F
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /32
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 20
        Forward Address: 0.0.0.0
        External Route Tag: 4294967295

Once again, IOS and IOS-XR have the same behaviour.

Notes

  • Unlike parts 1 and 2 of this blog, IOS and IOS-XR finally show identical behaviour when it comes to loop prevention.

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