Current distributed routing paradigms (such as link-state, distance-vector, and path-vector) involve a convergence process consisting of an iterative exploration of intermediate routes triggered by certain events such as link failures. The convergence process increases router load, introduces outages and transient loops, and slows reaction to failures. We propose a new routing paradigm where the goal is not to reduce the convergence times but rather to eliminate the convergence process completely. To this end, we propose a technique called Failure-Carrying Packets (FCP) that allows data packets to autonomously discover a working path without requiring completely up-to-date state in routers. Our simulations, performed using real-world failure traces and Rocketfuel topologies, show that: (a) the overhead of FCP is very low, (b) unlike traditional link-state routing (such as OSPF), FCP can provide both low loss-rate as well as low control overhead, (c) compared to prior work in backup path pre-computations, FCP provides better routing guarantees under failures despite maintaining lesser state at the routers.




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