In today’s world of interconnected devices and supply chains, it can be difficult to know where your products are coming from and what other countries they are going to. Even when you have an accurate track record of where your product is produced, there are still going to be cross-border issues that you need to manage head on: BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) vs. IGP (Infrastructure-as-a-Platform).

The terms seem similar at first glance. But in the context of organizations looking to implement end-to-end borderless infrastructure solutions, there are many differences that must be considered before making a final decision.

What is BGP?

BGP stands for Border Gateway Protocol, and it is one of the most widely used routing protocols in the world. It is also sometimes referred to as the “old” or “standard” routing protocol. BGP is a connectionless protocol that does not require a periodic adjacency with an initializer.

Instead, it uses an “open” model where each router sends and receives updates directly with the other routers in its domain. The update process is primarily concerned with routing information, such as the next-hop address of the packet’s route to the specified network.

Because each BGP speaker keeps track of the IP addresses and networks of all other BGP speakers, it is possible to create a “virtual” IP network that is autonomous.

What is IGP?

To simplify the differences between BGP and IGP, we can call the former an “IGP” protocol and the latter an “IGP.” IGP stands for “infrastructure-as-a-Platform,” and it is a newer routing protocol that has been integrally woven into the fabric of the Internet.

The foundation of IGP is a set of protocols called the OSPF protocol, which is commonly used in the data-driven Internet. OSPF is a distance-vector protocol, which means that it divides the internet into areas where networks are connected by links. Each area is then connected to other areas through a backbone network.

IOS (Internetwork Operating System), which is the routing operating system used by most IP devices, includes a built-in IGP. IGP protocols are also available on standalone devices such as the Routing System Engine (RSE) that is found on Cisco devices.

BGP protocol vs. IGP protocol

The main difference between the BGP protocol and the IGP protocol is in the way the two protocols handle authentication and authorization. In the BGP protocol, each router maintains a database of known hosts and networks. The routing table is used to determine the next-hop address of the packet, while the format of the database is intended to be kept cryptographically secure.

Using this method, an intruder trying to eavesdrop on a communication between two hosts would be unable to determine what was said or the content of the email. However, the IGP protocol does not require a centralized database. Instead, each device uses its address book to discover hosts and networks within its domain.

In this case, the routing table is still used to determine the next-hop address, but the format of the database depends on the nature of the communication between the devices.

BRSKI: Borderless Service Infrastructure

The BRSKI protocol was developed by Cisco to make it easier to provision and manage borderless services. It has been adopted by many large companies and is also known as “l19” in Cisco lingo. BRSKI is an “as-a-service” model that offers everything a service provider needs to build, manage, and operate a borderless ecosystem:

Routing – Routing protocols are not implemented in the core network architecture, but are available as service plug-ins.

Session Channels – session Channels are the link between the edge device and the data plane.

Data Pluggables – data Pluggables offer low-latency, high-bandwidth support for media and applications.

Summing Up

The Internet has been a uniting factor for people across the globe for as long as anyone can remember. And until very recently, it was only a matter of time before the disparate parts of this new global society were brought together by an efficient and secure technology. While the advent of the Internet was inspiring, it also became a bit of a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, there was an explosion of creativity and innovation that was possible without the constraints of national borders. On the other hand, the Internet also provided a new platform for nefarious actors to infiltrate our society and wreak havoc.

Unfortunately, new technologies come with a risk of introducing vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and IGP (Infrastructure-as-a-Platform) protocols can be used to securely connect different networks and devices together.

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