What is an Autonomous System Number?


What is an ASN?

An autonomous system number (ASN) is a unique number, assigned by IANA that is available globally to identify an autonomous system and which enables that system to exchange exterior routing information with other neighboring autonomous systems. [1]

ASN Types

There are two types of autonomous system numbers - public and private.

  • Public ASN - Used when an AS is exchanging routing information with other Autonomous Systems on the public Internet. [2]
  • Private ASN - Used if an AS is only required to communicate via Border Gateway Protocol with a single provider. As the routing policy between the AS and the provider will not be visible on the Internet. [3] In this case the upstream provider will typically remove the ASN from the ASN Path and replace it with his own public ASN. In reality, this can be thought of as a type of NAT for ASN`s.

ASN Ranges

Below lists the various ASN Ranges:

  • 0 : reserved.
  • 1-64,495 : public AS numbers.
  • 64,496 – 64,511 : reserved to use in documentation.
  • 64,512 – 65,534 : private AS numbers.
  • 65,535 : reserved.


[1] "What is an Autonomous System Number (ASN)? - Definition from ...." . Accessed 2 Nov. 2017.
[2] "Autonomous System numbers – FAQs – APNIC." . Accessed 2 Nov. 2017.
[3] "Autonomous System numbers – FAQs – APNIC." . Accessed 2 Nov. 2017.

Tags: BGP

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R Donato

Rick Donato is the Founder and Chief Editor of He currently works as an SDN/NFV Solutions Architect and has a keen interest in automation and the cloud.

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