Thomas Wirtgen along with Quentin De Coninck, Randy Bush, Laurent Vanbever, and Olivier Bonaventure, received the 2021 IETF Applied Network Research Prize (ANRP) for their work on the extensibility of BGP implementations, and other routing protocols. The prize was awarded in November 2021.
This work was first presented in “xBGP: When You Can’t Wait for the IETF and Vendors”, during the 19th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-2020). The goal of this workshop is to present new and innovative ideas that can guide the future of networking research.
The paper looked at the way routers from various vendors are deployed using standardized routing protocols. One problem with this process is that any new feature must be standardized and implemented by all router vendors before it can be deployed. The team proposed a "paradigm shift" that enables network operators to program the routing protocols used in their networks. They demonstrated the feasibility of this approach with xBGP, a vendor-neutral API. To prove the applicability of xBGP, they extended two open source implementations of BGP and implemented several use cases showing the benefits that network operators can obtain by using xBGP.