From wikipedia: The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is the protocol backing the core routing decisions on the Internet. It maintains a table of IP networks or 'prefixes' which designate network reach-ability among autonomous systems (AS). It is described as a path vector protocol. BGP does not use traditional Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) metrics, but makes routing decisions based on path, network policies and/or rule-sets. For this reason, it is more appropriately termed a reach-ability protocol rather than routing protocol.