3.7.h [iii] Soft reconfiguration, route refresh
When the routing policy of a BGP neighbor changes, the session must be reset (cleared) for the changes to take effect. Because resetting a BGP session can be disruptive to networks, a soft reset method is recommended for reconfiguring the routing table.
Previously, in order to reconfigure the inbound routing table, both the local BGP router and the BGP peer first needed to be configured to store incoming routing policy updates using the neighbor soft-reconfiguration command. Additional resources, particularly memory, were required to store the inbound routing table updates. The clear ip bgp command could then initiate the soft reset, which generated a new set of inbound routing table updates using the stored information.
This feature provides an additional method for soft reset that allows the dynamic exchange of route refresh requests and routing information between BGP routers, and the subsequent re-advertisement of the respective outbound routing table. Soft reset using the route refresh capability does not require pre-configuration and consumes no additional memory resources.
Adam, Paul (2014-07-12). All-in-One CCIE V5 Written Exam Guide (Kindle Locations 4133-4135). . Kindle Edition.