BGP local Pref and you

One of the bgp topics that comes up from time to time is what does “bgp local-pref” do for me? The short answer is it allows you to prefer which direction a traffic will flow to a given destination. How can this help you? Well before we start, remember the high number wins in local-pref.
Let’s assume you are an ISP. You have the following connections:
-You supply a BGP connection to a downstream client.
-You have a private peer setup with the local college
-You are hooked into a local internet exchange
-You have transport to another internet exchange in the next state over
-and you have some transit connections where you buy internet.

So how do we use BGP preference to help us out? We might apply the following rules to routes received from our various peers
Our downstream client we might set their local pref to 150
The college we may set them to 140
Preferred internet exchange peering: 130
Next state IX: 120
Transit ISPs: 100

Now these don’t make much sense by themselves, but they do when you take into account how BGP would make a decision if it has to choose between multiple paths. If it only has one path to a certain route then local-pref is not relevant.

Let’s say you have a customer on your ISP that is sending traffic to a server at a local college. Maybe they are a professor who is remoting into a server at the college to run experiments. There are probably multiple ways for that traffic to go. If the college is on the local Internet exchange you are a member of, that is one route, the next route would be your transit ISPs, and obviously your private peer with the college. So, in our example above the college, with a local pref of 140 wins out over the local exchange, wins out over the next state IX, and wins out over the Transit ISPs. We want it to go direct over the direct peer with the college. Mission accomplished.

local-pref is just one way to engineer your traffic to go out certain links. Keep in mind two things:
1.Higher number wins
2.local-pref only matters if there are multiple paths to the same destination.
3.Local-pref has to do with outbound path selection

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