Practical network-wide compression of IP routing tables

Elliott Karpilovsky, Matthew Caesar, Jennifer Rexford, Aman Shaikh, Jacobus Van Der Merwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The memory Internet routers use to store paths to destinations is expensive, and must be continually upgraded in the face of steadily increasing routing table size. Unfortunately, routing protocols are not designed to gracefully handle cases where memory becomes full, which arises increasingly often due to misconfigurations and routing table growth. Hence router memory must typically be heavily overprovisioned by network operators, inflating operating costs and administrative effort. The research community has primarily focused on clean-slate solutions that cannot interoperate with the deployed base of protocols. This paper presents an incrementally-deployable Memory Management System (MMS) that reduces associated router state by up to 70%. The MMS coalesces prefixes to reduce memory consumption and can be deployed locally on each router or centrally on a route server. The system can operate transparently, without requiring changes in other ASes. Our memory manager can extend router lifetimes up to seven years, given current prefix growth trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6265424
Pages (from-to)446-458
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Network architecture and design
  • network management
  • network protocols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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