Route instability incurs significant load core routers and is widely recognized as a major contributor to data plane unreliability on the Internet. Route flap damping provides some protection against instability, but introduces pathologies and reduces availability. Concerns about the scalability of the routing system and the increasing prevalence of real-time applications have prompted a renewed interest in stability. We believe it is time for a principled approach to stabilizing Internet routing. This paper takes a step towards that goal by characterizing the tradeoff between stability and availability, and between stability and deviation from preferred routes. We propose a new approach, Stable Route Selection (SRS), which uses flexibility in route selection to improve stability without sacrificing availability. Our extensive simulation and experimental results show that SRS improves stability and data plane reliability while deviating only a small amount from preferred routes. 1
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