Smart routing improves upon BGP routing by taking network conditions and reliability into account, and choosing less direct routes that are faster. The Internet is very fast relative to other modes of communication, but information does not instantly arrive where it is requested. Communication between two machines (usually, a client device like a smartphone or laptop, and a web server) via the Internet has to travel through a variety of interconnected large networks, and each network is known as an autonomous system (AS). Data passes from AS to AS until it arrives at its destination. Each AS is responsible for certain IP addresses. BGP, or Border Gateway Protocol, is what makes all this possible. BGP is the protocol that selects the shortest path from one IP address to another when ASes connect at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).
BGP is like a driver who looks at a map and selects the geographically shortest route to a destination. Without BGP, packets could blindly travel through ASes around the world in order to reach an IP address that was mere miles away; with BGP, packets take the most direct route. Understand why in the Learning Center.
Knowledge in Action
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