Internet-Draft Software Version Optional Parameter January 2023
Abraitis Expires 14 July 2023 [Page]
Network Working Group
Intended Status:
Standards Track
D. Abraitis

Software Version OPEN Optional Parameter Type for BGP


In this document, we introduce a new BGP OPEN Optional Parameter Type that allows the advertisement of a BGP speaker's routing daemon version.

Status of This Memo

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 14 July 2023.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

In this document, we introduce a new BGP OPEN Optional Parameter Type that allows the advertisement of a BGP speaker's routing daemon version.

In modern data center designs, we tend to have conventional routers participating in the routing process. And the fleet of routers has different versions of routing daemon. This means that knowing which versions of the routing daemons are running the various routers in the network can be a crucial factor in quickly identifying the root cause of any protocol or network problems.

This new Optional Parameter Type is an optional advertisement. Implementations are not required to advertise the version nor to process received advertisements.

Information about the version of the routing daemon could also be exchanged in protocols such as LLDP and CDP. However, in containerized environments, it is very hard and not recommended to exchange this information between background processes. Therefore, and to help minimize operational costs, it is helpful to exchange the routing daemon information between BGP peers directly.

2. Specification of Requirements

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

3. Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter Type

The Optional Parameters in the BGP OPEN message are defined in the base BGP specification [RFC4271]. This document defines a new BGP OPEN Optional Parameter Type, the Software Version, with Type TBD and value is up to 255 octets. The value field is encoded in UTF-8 [RFC3629]. It is unstructured data and can be formatted in any way that the implementor decides.

The inclusion of the Software Version Optional Parameters is OPTIONAL. If an implementation supports the inclusion of this parameter, the implementation MUST include a configuration switch to enable or disable its use, and that switch MUST be off by default.

The Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter is intended for environments where more visibility is needed for troubleshooting purposes. It is NOT RECOMMENDED for use outside a single Autonomous System, or a set of Autonomous Systems under a common administration.

An implementation that does not recognize or support the Software Version Optional Parameter but receives one must ignore it.

The value of this Optional Parameter consists of one identifier, which identifies the software and its significant version. Software version identifier consists of a product and optional product version.

identifier = product ["/" product-version]

A sender SHOULD limit generated product identifiers to what is necessary to identify the product; a sender MUST NOT generate advertising or other nonessential information within the product identifier. A sender SHOULD NOT generate information in product-version that is not a version identifier (i.e., successive versions of the same product name ought to differ only in the product-version portion of the product identifier).


frrouting/8.4.2, ios/12.5.1, junos/12.1

4. Operation

The Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter SHOULD only be used for displaying the version of a BGP speaker's router daemon to make troubleshooting easier.

Consider a group of routers each with a number of upstream nodes, and suppose that each router has a different operating system and different routing daemon at a different version installed. Assuming that a specific feature is not working or that there is a bug which has not been fixed in a particular version of the code, knowledge of the routing daemon versions would allow an operator to quickly identify the pattern of which versions are affected.

Enabling (i.e., turning on) this parameter requires bouncing all existing BGP sessions and the feature MUST be explicitly configured before an implementation advertizes the Software Version Optional Parameter.

4.1. Example Usage

Below is an example from the [FRRouting] implementation showing both the received and advertised Software Version:

  :~# vtysh -c 'show ip bgp summary failed'
  Neighbor EstdCnt DropCnt ResetTime Reason
  ens192         3       3  00:00:35 Waiting for peer OPEN (n/a)
  ens224         3       3  00:01:12 Waiting for NHT (frrouting/7.2)
  eth0           3       3  00:00:14 Neighbor deleted (frrouting/8.4.2)
Figure 1

5. Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Robert Raszuk, Jeffrey Haas, John Scudder, Jakob Heitz for their contributions to this draft.

6. IANA Considerations

The BGP OPEN Optional Parameter Types registry is a standalone registry. IANA is requested to assign a capability number from the First Come First Served range for the Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter in this document as follows:

Table 1: Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter
Value Description Reference
TBD Software Version [This.I-D]

7. Security Considerations

The Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter should be treated as sensitive information: it could be easier for an attacker to exploit the system if they know the specific software version and manufacturer of a BGP speaker. This information could be gathered by inspecting BGP OPEN messages that carry the Software Version BGP OPEN Optional Parameter defined in this document. Furthermore, this knowledge may facilitate a number of social-engineering attacks.

Modifying the information advertised by a router might lead to attacks including bogus software upgrades and also might mask the causes of faults in the network.

Users of this mechanism should be aware that unless a transport that provides integrity is used for the BGP session in question, the Software Version parameter can be forged. Unless a transport that provides confidentiality is used, the Software Version parameter could be snooped by an attacker. These issues are common to any BGP message but may be of greater interest in the context of this extension as explained above. Refer to the related considerations in [RFC4271] and [RFC4272].

Users of this mechanism should consider applying data minimization practices as outlined in Section 6.1 of [RFC6973], as appropriate within the deployment context.

Sensitive information leaks can be minimized by using the [RFC5082] mechanism or firewalls to filter out TCP 179 port from untrusted networks. This optional parameter can be disabled per neighbor, thus the sensitive information can't be disclosed to untrusted neighbors.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

Bradner, S. and RFC Publisher, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, DOI 10.17487/RFC3629, , <>.
Rekhter, Y., Ed., Li, T., Ed., and S. Hares, Ed., "A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)", RFC 4271, DOI 10.17487/RFC4271, , <>.
Murphy, S., "BGP Security Vulnerabilities Analysis", RFC 4272, DOI 10.17487/RFC4272, , <>.
Gill, V., Heasley, J., Meyer, D., Savola, P., Ed., and C. Pignataro, "The Generalized TTL Security Mechanism (GTSM)", RFC 5082, DOI 10.17487/RFC5082, , <>.
Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J., Morris, J., Hansen, M., and R. Smith, "Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols", RFC 6973, DOI 10.17487/RFC6973, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.

8.2. Informative References

Abraitis, D.A., "FRRouting - BGP Software Version Capability", , <>.

Author's Address

Donatas Abraitis
Jonavos g. 60C
LT-44192 Kaunas