What is a BGP Confederation?



By its true definition, a confederation is, 

An organization which consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league.

But what is a BGP confederation?

BGP Confederation

A BGP confederation is an alternative method to route reflectors, used to reduce the number of BGP peerings within a single AS. Furthermore it is a single AS that has been subdivided into a number of internal sub-AS’s, yet still, advertise as a single AS to external peers [1] .



Figure 1 - BGP Confederation.


Within the confederation, each sub-AS (inter-confederation) is assigned a private AS number (64512-65535). Though eBGP is used to peer each of the sub-AS’s, the rules of iBGP still apply to each inter-confederation i.e attributes are not altered and an iBGP full-mesh is still required.

Routing Loops

To avoid routing loops, a sub-AS uses a confederation sequence, which operates like an AS path but uses only the privately assigned sub-AS numbers. [2] These are stripped prior to the router sending UPDATEs via eBGP.


[1] "BGP confederation - Wikipedia." . Accessed 18 Nov. 2017.
[2] "Understanding BGP Confederations - Technical ... - Juniper Networks." . Accessed 18 Nov. 2017.

About the Author


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.

You can find Rick on Twitter @f3lix001