The number of routing protocols seems endless and overlapping. Some of the most common household names for IT and data specialists are BGP and DNS routing. How do each of them behave? Do any of them overlap? Is each routing protocol secure?
Both of these routing systems have become more well-known over the years, as constant and safe access to online content has become more important – it’s almost a necessity. BGP and DNS have a way of enhancing or hindering these experiences, and many have experienced the side effects of these protocols without realizing it.
Analyzing how they improve security and user experiences on the Internet will determine which of the two is the more valuable and efficient routing protocol.
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Differences in how BGP and DNS work
In short, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) connects everything on the Internet. It does this by choosing how to share the information during the routing process. In local area networks (LANs), this happens transparently with little effort because there is a shared connection to a separate network that can scan addresses quickly. However, as operations scale, BGPs must connect to countless local networks to deliver information efficiently and securely.
Organizations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are Autonomous Systems (AS). This is vital, as each AS manages the routing of its traffic – redirecting incoming information to the AS and outgoing information to the Internet or external BGP. When routers receive the information transmitted via BGP, the tables determine where the data will end up. Tables choose the safest and best path for information, not necessarily the fastest, ensuring that information reaches the appropriate destinations based on user requests.
While BGP tells users how information gets to its destination, DNS tells you where. You can compare a domain name system (DNS) to the phone book. It’s a database of domain names – lists of all the websites you can type into the search bar. The advantage is that the DNS translates them into IP addresses so that users can access the Internet more efficiently.
DNS is the reason millions of people can be on Facebook or YouTube at the same time. A domain name system can associate with countless IP addresses, allowing for more streamlined online experiences. It allows many users to connect to one destination. Without it, only one person could access it while others wait in a queue.
Both routing protocols protect users by allowing them to freely surf the Internet through trusted sources by filtering traffic. They provide security protocols but work in different ways; each protocol is unique and offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
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Advantages and disadvantages of BGP
BGP offers specialists and regular Internet users the same possibility of accessing unlimited and quality Internet content that meets their needs. But how does this help and hurt BGP’s position against DNS routing?
BGP most important advantage is that it is highly customizable. Since BGP works based on the vast set of information available in the tables, it is easy to change what to advertise and what not. Path preservation is easier with this protocol to ensure accepted routes.
It also allows large-scale routing. This stability ensures that routers adapt quickly – if one path is blocked, BGP can find another. Corporate networks can freely connect to multiple ISPs, for example, and it’s easy to redirect traffic, no matter the size of the business. This helps distribute the information load.
BGP simplifies cloud security and routing. Same Cloud Router — Google’s cloud services — use the BGP protocol to connect virtual private cloud networks to other networks. More companies switch to cloud services for the benefits of security, cost effectiveness, centralization and reliability. BGP helps create these environments.
Sometimes data is lost during translation – these are called information exchange failures and refer to unsuccessful parsing. When this happens, websites cannot advertise their domains, leading to inaccessibility or wrong IP addresses. Specialists will see these failure messages as malformed troubleshooting requests.
Since BGP can connect many AS locations, a single ISP could unintentionally affect worldwide connectivity. In 2008, a Pakistani ISP unintentionally caused YouTube to go offline for hours due to a BGP incident. Each AS should be able to connect to each other out of mutual trust, but sometimes errors occur unintentionally or otherwise to redirect users.
BGP attempts to redirect traffic to the best location, not the fastest. Because of this, the speed may not be optimal as AS entities can manipulate the site of the redirect.
Misinformation is a problem in itself. However, if BGP makes decisions based on the tables of data provided, choosing how to redirect can be a problematic security issue if that information is garbled or inaccurate. There is a phenomenon called BGP hijacking: hackers infect routing protocols to redirect users to malicious sites by simulating ownership of IP prefixes.
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Advantages and disadvantages of DNS
The DNS protocol is indispensable compared to the others. However, just because it’s non-negotiable to allow people to surf the Internet today doesn’t mean its downsides aren’t significant.
Without DNS, humans would have to memorize IP addresses. DNS greatly simplifies the online experience by using domain names to create more accessible user experiences. This provides stability as the domain name remains the same when IP addresses change.
The amount of time and frustration saved by this protocol is astronomical, and some might say this is the only reason humans have been able to rely so much on the internet at this point in history.
DNS also creates faster Internet processing speeds by resolving domain names in record time. It doesn’t set private internet speeds, but it will help load times considerably. You can also keep accelerates by reducing breakdowns and provide alternative connections that maintain Internet availability even during server maintenance.
Arguments regarding net neutrality arise during discussion how does a non-profit organization in a country controls the DNS, known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This defined administration diminishes efforts to decentralize Internet content and its applications, especially since it is a protocol used on a global scale.
When DNS servers are down, users cannot access sites. Millions of people have experienced it during the Facebook systems outage in October 2021. If hackers uprooted DNS servers like this, it would be difficult to discover identifying information about the initiators since all specialists have an IP address – hackers could fix them.
Although DNS is a great asset alongside an excellent cybersecurity protocol, it has vulnerabilities. The Pirates can corrupt domain names to redirect users to fake or malicious sites, instigating attacks. For example, they can manipulate existing domains and create deceptive domains to use for phishing attacks.
Therefore, analysts and IT departments need to keep an eye out to ensure that the server is secure and operational. The internet depends on DNS, and when it stops, the internet will follow. Troubleshooting can be tricky at times, but that also happens with BGP.
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BGP or DNS Routing: Which Wins?
These two systems work in symbiosis to help communications operate at their peak. Each also works well with cybersecurity third parties since specialists can route activity through them for additional security measures in any organization.
Without these and many other protocols, the transmission of information around the world would be much more risky than it is today. While there have been incidents, these offer the countless autonomous systems around the world the opportunity to develop better protocol relationships and navigate them in a more mature and efficient way.