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An AMS-IX Story
Product Marketing Manager
August 9, 2023
In 1989 the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) was sketched out on the back of “three ketchup-stained napkins”. It defined a protocol for exchanging routing information between independent IP networks (Autonomous Systems) and gained widespread use in 1994. Though it has gone through numerous revisions over the last 29 years, it still forms the heart of the Internet. Without BGP, there would be no Internet.
A central concept in BGP is the notion of an Autonomous System: a group of IP networks, run by one or more network operators, with a single, clearly defined routing policy. Each AS is defined by a unique number: the Autonomous System Number (ASN).
ASNs can be either public or private. Private ASNs can only be used in limited situations (e.g. in internal networks or with specific upstream ISPs) and cannot be visible in the global routing table, while public ASNs allow for global visibility of routing information.
The first organizations to request public Autonomous System (AS) numbers were typically internet service providers (ISPs) and large network operators that needed to connect their networks to the global internet, such as government agencies, educational institutions, and a few private companies.
At that time, there were only a few hundred organizations that had AS numbers, and most of them were located in North America and Europe. Today, there are more than 87.000 ASN that includes a wide range of companies, such as cloud service providers, content delivery networks, financial institutions, supply-chain and e-commerce companies.
Requesting a public Autonomous System (AS) number is generally a straightforward process, but AMS-IX can support you with this process.
To start the process, you need to contact one of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). There are five RIRs which are separated by regions:
You should choose the RIR that serves your region to submit a request for an AS number. First you become a member of the RIR, then fill out an online application form. You will need to provide information about your organization, your network infrastructure, and your routing policy
It's important to know that obtaining and using an AS number requires some technical knowledge and preparation, such as understanding BGP routing protocols and having a solid understanding of your network topology.
If you are not 100% sure if a public ASN is something for you at the moment or you need help with your network topology you can always reach out to AMS-IX and we will assist you on this process.