Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


A Comparison of Overlay Routing and
Multihoming Route Control

Aditya Akella, Jeffrey Pang, Anees Shaikh*,
Bruce Maggs, Srinivasan Seshan

August 2004

A preliminary version of this paper appeared in
Proceedings ACM SIGCOMM 2004,
August 31-September 3 2004, Portland, OR.

Keywords: Performance, availability, multihoming route control, overlay routing

The limitations of BGP routing in the Internet are often blamed for poor end-to-end performance and prolonged connectivity interruptions. Recent work advocates using overlays to effectively bypass BGP's path selection in order to improve performance and fault tolerance. In this paper, we explore the possibility that intelligent control of BGP routes, coupled with ISP multihoming, can provide competitive end-to-end performance and reliability. Using extensive measurements of paths between nodes in a large content distribution network, we compare the relative benefits of overlay routing and multihoming route control in terms of round-trip latency, TCP connection throughput, and path availability. We observe that the performance achieved by route control together with multihoming to three ISPs (3-multihoming), is within 3-12% of overlay routing employed in conjunction 3-multihoming, in terms of both end-to-end RTT and throughput. We also show that while multihoming cannot offer the nearly perfect resilience of overlays, it can eliminate almost all failures experienced by a singly-homed end-network. Our results demonstrate that, by leveraging the capability of multihoming route control, it is not necessary to circumvent BGP routing to extract good wide-area performance and availability from the existing routing system.

24 pages

*Network Services and Software, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

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