LACNIC’s IRR Turns One

30/06/2021

LACNIC’s Internet Routing Registry, an initiative promoted for operators across the region to share their routing policy, has completed a successful year of operation, noted LACNIC CTO Carlos Martinez.

This service has allowed operators in the region to automatically configure filters, routers, access lists and prefix lists, helping improve general Internet security and stability and avoiding issues related to global route announcements.

Martínez highlighted the number of organizations in the LAC region that are using LACNIC’s IRR, as well as the number of ASN, IPv4 and IPv6 route objects currently available in the database. “From our point of view, this has been a successful year in the sense that the number of objects in the IRR has constantly exhibited a growing trend. We have received multiple inquiries and even some requests from our community, and this shows us that the interest is there,” Martinez added.

IRRs structure the information they contain in the form of objects. There are objects that represent IPv4 and IPv6 routes, objects that represent autonomous systems, and objects known as ‘as-set objects’ for grouping autonomous systems with similar properties. As-set objects are essential for global and regional operators providing services to hundreds of other autonomous systems to concisely represent their routing policies in a scalable manner.

Fourfold increase. In one year, the number of objects in LACNIC’s IRR increased fourfold, from little over 2,500 to almost 10,000. While the LACNIC registry is currently smaller than other existing IRRs in terms of the number of objects it contains, there are other factors that determine its importance. “First, the community has taken a long time to adopt an IRR service; second, unlike other traditional IRRs, LACNIC’s IRR contains only objects supported by its registry database and by the information created by users in RPKI, so every object is current and valid,” Martínez explained. The IRR currently has 4,900 route4 objects, close to 1,000 route6 objects and approximately 350 as-set objects.

The IRR adoption process includes two elements that run in parallel but at different times. On the one hand, the organization’s immediate community — those who have been assigned number resources by LACNIC — must create their objects. On the other, the global operators’ community must first become aware of the existence of an IRR operated by LACNIC which contains valuable and trustworthy information, and then learn to trust this IRR. According to Martinez, this means that the operators must begin to accept ‘LACNIC:source’ in their filters.  

To facilitate the adoption of a new ‘source’, it is important that existing IRRs replicate the information obtained from a new source of information. The challenge for a new IRR is to have its information replicated by other IRRs. Once this is achieved, the new IRR’s adoption curve picks up speed.

Benefits. One of the major challenges in Internet networking today is effectively communicating each autonomous system’s routing policy so that the rest of the Internet can distinguish legitimate announcements from potentially incorrect announcements. “The IRR and our efforts to promote the adoption of RPKI seek to provide tools for the operators in our region to publish their routing policies,” Martínez concluded.