The RA is addressing the general problem of route construction and dissemination. Work is in progress on the next phase of a syntax for the specification of route selection criteria, the development of new routing protocols (IDRP, SDR, ERP), and exploring the limits of existing routing engines. The start is the gobally coordinated IRR, where users can exercise the new syntax and get direct feedback on their expressed preferences for route construction. The IRR has replaced the old Policy Routing Database (PRDB) that was maintained by MERIT. The IRR is a loosely coupled series of RIPE-181 databases with some extensions to support better synchronization.
The syntax is an outgrowth of the RIPE PRIDE tools. It has been expanded to support new features and protocols which will be needed to support new features such as resource reservation and source routing. There are also features to facilitate "what-if" trials without actually changing the entries in the IRR.
The IRR will feed data to the Route Servers, which will disseminate customized "views" of the Internet to participating RS users, based on the preferences that are registered in the IRR.
By concentrating this large amount of information in the Route Server, we have been able to test the limits of existing routing engines and have identified a number of possible approaches that will be needed to cope with the growth of the Internet. All of these provide additional levels of abstraction, which is a proven technique to facilitate scaling.