BGP Routing Daemons with RPKI/RTR

For several Routing Daemons such as Quagga [1] and BIRD [2] exist RPKI enabled extensions that are based on the RTRlib.

The BIRD Internet Routing Daemon

To set up BIRD, first download [3] the latest release, unzip and change into the source directory. To build BIRD, run:

make install

You may need to execute these and any following commands in this handbook as sudo. More information on the building process can be found in the README of BIRD.

Before any validations with BIRD can be done, it must be configured accordingly. First, a ROA table and the validation function must be added to /usr/local/etc/bird.conf. At the top of this file write:

roa table rtr_roa_table;

function test_ripe_beacons()
    print "Testing ROA";
    print "Should be TRUE TRUE TRUE:",
    " ", roa_check(rtr_roa_table,, 12654) = ROA_UNKNOWN,
    " ", roa_check(rtr_roa_table,, 12654) = ROA_VALID,
    " ", roa_check(rtr_roa_table,, 12654) = ROA_INVALID;

The first line automatically creates a ROA table when the BIRD daemon is started. The function itself checks for three entries in the ROA table and prints the corresponding validity status. The BIRD socket must now be opened. In order to do that type the following command:

./bird -c /usr/local/etc/bird.conf -s /tmp/bird.ctl -d

With the option -d BIRD runs in the foreground. That’s necessary to view the output of the test_ripe_beacons function. /tmp/bird.ctl is the location and name of the socket that will be created. It is required by the bird-rtrlib-cli which we will install next.

Open another new terminal. To try out whether BIRD receives actual responses, there is an IPC that runs on the BIRD socket. Clone the BIRD-RTRlib-CLI repository on GitHub and build it:

git clone
cd bird-rtrlib-cli
cmake .

In case that the RTRlib was not installed into the default directory, run

cmake -DRTRLIB_INCLUDE=<rtrlib> -DRTRLIB_LIBRARY=</path/to/rtrlib.[a|so|dylib]> .

If everything was build correctly, there now should be an executable called bird-rtrlib-cli. To see all the options of this program run ./bird-rtrlib-cli --help. Now connect to the BIRD socket and receive the RPKI data with the following command:

./bird-rtrlib-cli -b /tmp/bird.ctl -r -t rtr_roa_table

The options do the following:

-b: the location of the BIRD socket.

-r: the address and port of the RPKI cache server. Change it if you want to use a different one.

-t: the table in which the gathered rpki-data is filled into. We created this one earlier in the bird.conf

After executing this line, you will see that, after establishing a connection to the cache server, the ROA entries are piped into the BIRD ROA table. Head back to the BRID directory and start the BIRD CLI with the following command:

sudo ./birdc -s /tmp/bird.ctl

All the commands of the CLI can be viewed by typing ?. To list all the entries from the ROA table enter:

bird> show roa max 24 as 24954 max 24 as 38203 max 24 as 27947 max 24 as 19114 max 24 as 45951

Type q to exit. There will be a lot of similar output. The content of the bird-rtrlib-cli was successfully written to the ROA table. Search, for example, for the prefix and BIRD will return the entry with its corresponding ASN.

bird> show roa max 24 as 12654

To do the actual validation of the prefixes that were defined in test_ripe_beacons execute:

bird> eval test_ripe_beacons()

To see the output of the function, switch to the terminal that is running the BIRD daemon. The output will look like:

bird: Testing ROA

After seeing this line, the test function was executed and the prefixes were successfully tested.

The Quagga Routing Software Suite

The Quagga routing daemon implements IP routing via the protocols OSPF, RIP and BGP. It acts as a router that fetches and shares routing information with other routers. Quagga is mainly dedicated to BGP4. An unofficial release implements support for the RPKI so BGP updates can be verified against a ROA. Doing so requires the support of the RTRlib so Quagga can initialize a connection to a cache server using the RTR protocol.

To install Quagga, clone the Git repository and switch the branch like this:

git clone
cd quagga-rtrlib
git checkout feature/rtrlib

This repository is a fork of the original and implements RPKI support. Before building it, make sure your system meets the perquisites:

  • automake: 1.9.6
  • autoconf: 2.59
  • libtool: 1.5.22
  • texinfo: 4.7
  • GNU AWK: 3.1.5

If all of these packages are installed, Quagga can be build. Some steps might require sudo privileges:

./configure --enable-rpki
make install

The --enable-rpki option tells the configure script to include the RTRlib.

Now that Quagga is built, start the BGP and Zebra daemons. Zebra acts as a process between the package stream of the kernel and daemons like BGP or OSPF. Execute bgpd and zebra:


To interact with BGPD, connect to it via vtysh, a command line interface that gains access to such daemons.


[1]Quagga –
[2]BIRD –
[3]BIRD download –