[arin-ppml] A challenge to the assumption that a big DFZ is a problem

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at ipinc.net
Mon Dec 14 14:07:10 EST 2009

One of the fundamental assumptions that we all seem to accept many
times is the "Ballooning BGP table/DFZ"  Much policy discussion
seems to be centered around the idea that if the DFZ gets bigger
it's going to cost bazillions of dollars for every ISP to upgrade
equipment, yadda yadda yadda.

I have to ask, however, is this assumption really technically

Today I can walk into the store and purchase a PC that has a CPU
in it that runs at a clock speed of at least 10 times of
most routers, and has at least 10 times the amount of ram, for
a quarter of the cost of the annual service contract for most
DFZ routers  (let alone the hardware cost)

Now, I think anyone who studies router hardware would probably
agree that the reason routers have historically been so underpowered
is that router vendors use older, less expensive, and more tried,
technology AND there isn't a NEED for faster tech.  Why put a super
powerful CPU or ASIC in the router when the purchaser only cares if
the router can route at wire speed - and the wires consists of a
few DS3's and 10/100 ethernet ports?  Older, cheaper tech can do those
speeds while not even breaking a sweat.

I have to ask, if the PURCHASERS of new router hardware were to tell
the router vendors that they aren't gonna bother buying a router
that cannot handle a half-million table entries in the BGP table,
that the router vendors might just possibly see a need for the
faster silicon - and step up to the plate and supply it?  God
knows they charge enough money for the OLD tech they are supplying
now.  Anyone heard of Moore's Law?

I just have a hard time believing that when I can walk into a
pizza place and drop a credit card down for payment - which carries
just one of a billion or so possible numbers out there  - and
get an approval on it in less than a second at the register,
that the silicon and software doesn't exist that could handle
a DFZ that's an order of magnitude larger than what we have now.

Just a random thought....


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