Each INX peering LAN has a BGP route collector. A BGP session with the collector is pre-configured for each peer. Peering sessions to route-collectors are done in advance of port turn-up, and set to passive, so we will automatically respond to, and activate peering sessions from active participants. BGP prefix information gathered via this service, is made available via our integrated Looking Glass as a diagnostics tool for the Internet community. We heartily encourage all peers to peer with the route-collector at each of the INXes that they are present at.
Under normal operating conditions, the route-server does not advertise any prefixes to its peers.
The BGP route collector is a list of potential routes that are available at that specific IX. It's important to note that not all of these might be available to you, depending on the peers that you have, and the particular policy that is in place between you.
We use distinctly separately ASNs for the route-collector and the BGP route servers, as we expect that for their own purposes, not all peers will want to peer with the BGP route servers. While we would prefer to use a completely separate ASN for this, AfriNIC would not allocate us a third ASN explicitly for this purpose, so we are re-using the AS number that we use for each of the INX management networks.
The route-collectors do not perform any filtering of sort of prefix filtering for prefixes that we receive from peers. This makes it an excellent tool to spot configuration issues from a neutral, 3rd party perspective.
We've collected some FAQs about this, and posted them below.
Q: What is the advantage for me to peer with the BGP-RC?
A: This provides a neutral, unfiltered view of your network, and is an excellent way of answering the question: Are my route advertisements, actually what I want to be advertising?
Q: But I peer with the BGP-RS. Surely this is the same thing?
A: No, the BGP-RS service is filtered, quite strictly. Whilst this is great for peers that rely on BGP-RS peering alone, we encourage and promote, and expect, that you have bilateral sessions as well. The BGP-RC is your way of ensuring that your advertisements match, what you think they should be (without relying on the IX BGP-RS service for filtering).
We have used the BGP-RC to highlight and identify to networks that they are leaking full routing tables, more specifics (eg. loopbacks), etc.
Q: Why is this data public?
A: Specifically, because we want to be able to provide a neutral viewpoint for any clueful networker to use, to debug problems.