GSoC “BGP/Bird integration with OpenWRT and QMP” project report

This entry is for updating the information regarding this GSoC Project focused on the automate of BGP-BMX6 metrics and routes exchange and “translation”. 
 
During the WBMv7 in Leipzig, the WiBed platform [0] was presentated as well as the GSoC project[1] where I am participating. WiBed was used to deploy the testbed network where many routing and mesh related experiments were executed.
I was participating in the deployment and development teams of the WBMv7, so I contributed in many bug fixes and platform improvements.
The WiBed project is important for the GSOC because it provides a testing platform very similar to the production environment where we will apply the results of the GSOC project.
 
Currently I am studying and understanding the basis system we need to accomplish the objectives of my project. I am working on Bird4 and Bird6 [2] configuration transition to UCI[3] and LUCI[4] willing to give to the OpenWRT project and community a more user-friendly Bird Daemon configuration. For those who do not know, Bird is a lightweight and flexible BGP daemon which may be used as an alternative to Quagga (which is actually very heavy).
 
Once we got an usable version, we wll upload the work done to public GIT repository following the standard OpenWRT feeds format (so it might be included in the official repositories). To test our advances and implementation we are using the WiBed platform network deployed in our laboratory (at UPC university in Barcelona).
The first production test will be made in the QMP [5] network we have deployed in Barcelona.
 
The most challenging feature in our project is the exchange of routes (and associatd metrics) between routing protocols (BGP and BMX6 [6] in our case). We (me, the workgroup and mentors) are still discussing about the different ways to implement it and how to use the Bird solution to Guifi.net [7] where the main protocol is BGP and the most common OS is the privative routerOS from Mikrotik. Including Bird in the open/libre firmware QMP will allow people in Guifi.net to use this solution instead of routerOS. However to make the interconnections between the QMP (Mesh) networks and the current BGP/Infrastructure we need the called frontier (or border) nodes (those who exchange the routes between both network clouds). 
 
To not overload the current mesh clouds (running with BMX6), we will install a BGP Bird instance only in these QMP border nodes. They will exchange routes and metrics in the entrance of the network and summarize the result by publishing the aggregated routes to each network.
 
Another idea we are considering is to create a very small and simple OpenWRT image with the BMX6 daemon ready to perform the routing. This image may be installed as a virtual machine in the RouterOS firmware (present in 50-60% of the Guifi.net nodes). So Mikrotik nodes will be able to route BMX6 packets thus the BGP instance will not be longer necessary (we believe mesh routing protocols are a much better option than BGP/OSPF for a WiFi network). This approach is compatible with the (previous) border nodes one. We will provide both options to Guifi.net users to let them decide.
 
Finally, to conclude this  mid-term report, say that we expect to finish the project in time and  just mention that in the coming days we will start testing the first solution in a real production network.
 

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