Your router may go up in smoke very soon

The Internet of Things is causing the Internet to grow at an accelerated rate. Billions of con-nected devices such as cars, wearables and sensors will have IP-addresses and need routing. Many routers currently on the market cannot handle this level of activity and connectivity.

A major issue is that the tables associated with routing traffic have reached maximum ca-pacity on many routers. Recent problems include accessibility to major Internet sites, such as Bloomberg’s server issues last week. This was likely connected to routing issues, but it is difficult to fully understand the extent of what causeds the outages.

The industry has been aware for some time that Internet routing table growth could cause Ternary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM) resource exhaustion for some networking products. TCAM is a very important component of network switches and routers that stores routing tables. It is much faster than ordinary RAM (random access memory) and allows for rapid table lookups.

Enterprises tend to use newer routers where the capacity problem is not imminent – yet. However, it is common practice that older equipment in a far corner of the network could be reaching its end of life, so even larger networks may, to some extent, have problems af-fecting the whole network.

At this moment, the capacity of 512k routes has been reached. Experts forecast that the IPv4 routing table prefixes will reach one million in five years. Purchasing routers that can handle at least two million prefixes is advisable to handle the projected increase in network traffic. As a new router purchase is expensive it is important to thoroughly research before invest-ing, and monitor network logs so you can take preemptive action when capacity limits arise.

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