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Leading global Internet Exchange operators collaborate to strengthen open source BGP implementations

Frankfurt (Germany), 16 March 2021 - The world’s largest Internet Exchanges (IXs) AMS-IX, DE-CIX, LINX, and Netnod have joined forces with the newly founded Route Server Support Foundation (RSSF) to tackle the lack of open-source software suitable for high-end mission critical route server deployments. The ultimate goal of the cooperation is the improvement of the BGP software diversity and the strengthening of open source BGP implementations.

IXs are central to Internet operations and help move data traffic between thousands of network operators (carriers), Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers and billions of people. Route servers act as “relays” which redistribute BGP routing information between different networks connected to the Internet Exchange. Route servers allow newcomers to instantly start exchanging traffic with a majority of existing participants, negating the need for time-consuming manual coordination between all individual participants.

The newly-founded Route Server Support Foundation contributes to the diversity in route server implementations by using the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) open Internet standards. Open standards make it possible to create multiple different implementations for the same functionality – each implementation with its own strengths. Leveraging a diverse set of route server implementations reduces the chances of a single software defect causing Internet-scale problems.

The world’s largest Internet Exchanges selected the Dutch RSSF non-profit organization to deliver a secure and high-performance route server based on OpenBGPD. Key players in a competitive market vertical collaborating at this scale for mutual benefit is unique.

Job Snijders, technical lead and director at RSSF, says, “In OpenBGPD we have a strong and secure foundation to develop a robust route server. We are proud to have received the financial commitments which allow us to hire talented developers to work on open-source software for public benefit!”

Niels Raijer, chairman of RSSF, adds, “Under today’s circumstances, Internet Exchanges have become critical infrastructure. With RSSF, we offer not just a technical, but also a financial and management structure. That makes it possible for our developers to focus on what they love, which is improving open-source software, while we make sure the software is delivered according to the requirements and on schedule.”

Dr. Thomas King, CTO at DE-CIX, says: “Route Servers are invaluable for Internet Exchange customers, as they allow you to get all IP routes from other peers at the IXP with only one peering session. Today, almost all route servers are based on a single recognized open-source software. Our goal with the RSSF is to create a second, comparable powerful route server implementation based on OpenBGPD. This allows more redundancy and thus stability for route server installations worldwide. DE-CIX would like to make a significant contribution to the community and is therefore one of the founding sponsors of the RSSF.”