Border Gateway Protocol is an exterior gateway protocol, which is different from the interior gateway protocols discussed so far. The distinction is important since the term autonomous system is used somewhat differently with protocols such as EIGRP than it is with BGP. Exterior gateway protocols such as BGP route between autonomous systems, which are assigned a particular AS number. AS numbers can be assigned to an office with one or several BGP routers. The BGP routing table is comprised of destination IP addresses, an associated AS-Path to reach that destination and a next hop router address. The AS-Path is a collection of AS numbers that represent each office involved with routing packets. Contrast that with EIGRP, which uses autonomous systems as well. The difference is their autonomous systems refer to a logical grouping of routers within the same administrative system. An EIGRP network can configure many autonomous systems. They are all managed by the company for defining route summarization, redistribution and filtering. BGP is utilized a lot by Internet Service Providers (ISP) and large enterprise companies that have dual homed internet connections with single or dual routers homed to the same or different Internet Service Providers. BGP will route packets across an ISP network, which is a separate routing domain that is managed by them.
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