Source address filtering for large scale networks

Mingwei Xu, Shu Yang, Dan Wang, Fuliang Li, Jianping Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Source address filtering is very important for protecting networks from malicious traffic. Most networks use hardware-based solutions such as TCAM-based filtering, however, they suffer from limited capacity, high power consumption and high monetary cost. Although software, such as SRAM, is larger, cheaper and consumes less power, the software-based solutions need multiple accesses in memory, which as a result bear much more additional lookup burden. In this paper, we propose a new software-based mechanism. In our mechanism, routers cooperate with each other, and each only checks a few bits rather than all bits in source addresses. Our mechanism can guarantee the correctness, i.e., filtering all malicious traffic. We formulate it as an optimization problem where the loads across the network can be optimally balanced. We solve the problem by dynamic programming. With the increasing number of filters, storage could also become a bottleneck for source address filtering. Our mechanism improves this by distributing filters among different routers. We re-formulate the problem by adding an additional storage constraint. Then we prove that the problem is NP-Complete, and propose a heuristic algorithm to solve it. At last, using comprehensive simulations with various topologies, we show that the mechanism greatly improves both lookup burden and storage space. We conduct a case study on China Education and Research Network 2 (CERNET2), the largest pure-IPv6 network in the world. Using CERNET2 configurations, we show that our algorithm checks less than 40 bits on each router, compared with 128 bits in IPv6 addresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalComputer Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Distributed filtering
  • Network security
  • Source address filtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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