Routing protocol

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Routing protocol classification computer networks. Computer Network Routing Protocol Classification -en.png
Routing protocol classification computer networks.

A routing protocol specifies how routers communicate with each other to distribute information that enables them to select routes between nodes on a computer network. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet; data packets are forwarded through the networks of the internet from router to router until they reach their destination computer. Routing algorithms determine the specific choice of route. Each router has a prior knowledge only of networks attached to it directly. A routing protocol shares this information first among immediate neighbors, and then throughout the network. This way, routers gain knowledge of the topology of the network. The ability of routing protocols to dynamically adjust to changing conditions such as disabled connections and components and route data around obstructions is what gives the Internet its fault tolerance and high availability.


The specific characteristics of routing protocols include the manner in which they avoid routing loops, the manner in which they select preferred routes, using information about hop costs, the time they require to reach routing convergence, their scalability, and other factors such as relay multiplexing and cloud access framework parameters. Certain additional characteristics such as multilayer interfacing may also be employed as a means of distributing uncompromised networking gateways to authorized ports. [1] This has the added benefit of preventing issues with routing protocol loops. [2]

Many routing protocols are defined in technical standards documents called RFCs. [3] [4] [5] [6]


Although there are many types of routing protocols, three major classes are in widespread use on IP networks:

OSI layer designation

Routing protocols, according to the OSI routing framework, are layer management protocols for the network layer, regardless of their transport mechanism:

Interior gateway protocols

Interior gateway protocols (IGPs) exchange routing information within a single routing domain. Examples of IGPs include:

Exterior gateway protocols

Exterior gateway protocols exchange routing information between autonomous systems. Examples include:

Routing software

Many software implementations exist for most of the common routing protocols. Examples of open-source applications are Bird Internet routing daemon, Quagga, GNU Zebra, OpenBGPD, OpenOSPFD, and XORP.

Routed protocols

Some network certification courses distinguish between routing protocols and routed protocols. A routed protocol is used to deliver application traffic. It provides appropriate addressing information in its internet layer or network layer to allow a packet to be forwarded from one network to another. Examples of routed protocols are the Internet Protocol (IP) and Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX).

See also


  1. Cisco no longer supports the proprietary IGRP protocol. The EIGRP implementation accepts IGRP configuration commands, but the internals of IGRP and EIGRP are different.

Related Research Articles

Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP) is a distance vector interior gateway protocol (IGP) developed by Cisco. It is used by routers to exchange routing data within an autonomous system.

The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) is a supporting protocol in the Internet protocol suite. It is used by network devices, including routers, to send error messages and operational information indicating success or failure when communicating with another IP address, for example, an error is indicated when a requested service is not available or that a host or router could not be reached. ICMP differs from transport protocols such as TCP and UDP in that it is not typically used to exchange data between systems, nor is it regularly employed by end-user network applications.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Internet Protocol version 4</span> Fourth version of the Internet Protocol

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is one of the core protocols of standards-based internetworking methods in the Internet and other packet-switched networks. IPv4 was the first version deployed for production on SATNET in 1982 and on the ARPANET in January 1983. It is still used to route most Internet traffic today, even with the ongoing deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), its successor.

The Internet Protocol (IP) is the network layer communications protocol in the Internet protocol suite for relaying datagrams across network boundaries. Its routing function enables internetworking, and essentially establishes the Internet.

The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is a framework for organizing the set of communication protocols used in the Internet and similar computer networks according to functional criteria. The foundational protocols in the suite are the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and the Internet Protocol (IP). Early versions of this networking model were known as the Department of Defense (DoD) model because the research and development were funded by the United States Department of Defense through DARPA.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Router (computing)</span> Device that forwards data packets between computer networks

A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions between networks and on the global Internet. Data sent through a network, such as a web page or email, is in the form of data packets. A packet is typically forwarded from one router to another router through the networks that constitute an internetwork until it reaches its destination node.

Intermediate System to Intermediate System is a routing protocol designed to move information efficiently within a computer network, a group of physically connected computers or similar devices. It accomplishes this by determining the best route for data through a packet switching network.

A multicast address is a logical identifier for a group of hosts in a computer network that are available to process datagrams or frames intended to be multicast for a designated network service. Multicast addressing can be used in the link layer, such as Ethernet multicast, and at the internet layer for Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) or Version 6 (IPv6) multicast.

Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) is a routing protocol for Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It uses a link state routing (LSR) algorithm and falls into the group of interior gateway protocols (IGPs), operating within a single autonomous system (AS).

The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) is one of the oldest distance-vector routing protocols which employs the hop count as a routing metric. RIP prevents routing loops by implementing a limit on the number of hops allowed in a path from source to destination. The largest number of hops allowed for RIP is 15, which limits the size of networks that RIP can support.

Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) is an advanced distance-vector routing protocol that is used on a computer network for automating routing decisions and configuration. The protocol was designed by Cisco Systems as a proprietary protocol, available only on Cisco routers. In 2013 Cisco decided to allow other vendors freely implement limited version of EIGRP with some of its associated features such as High Availability (HA), while withholding other EIGRP features such as EIGRP stub, needed for DMVPN and large-scale campus deployment, exclusively for themselves. Information needed for implementation was published with informational status as RFC 7868 in 2016, which did not make it into an Internet Standards Track specification and allowed Cisco to retain control of the EIGRP protocol.

In the seven-layer OSI model of computer networking, the network layer is layer 3. The network layer is responsible for packet forwarding including routing through intermediate routers.

A distance-vector routing protocol in data networks determines the best route for data packets based on distance. Distance-vector routing protocols measure the distance by the number of routers a packet has to pass; one router counts as one hop. Some distance-vector protocols also take into account network latency and other factors that influence traffic on a given route. To determine the best route across a network, routers using a distance-vector protocol exchange information with one another, usually routing tables plus hop counts for destination networks and possibly other traffic information. Distance-vector routing protocols also require that a router inform its neighbours of network topology changes periodically.

The Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) is a computer networking protocol used in Internet Protocol networks to automatically assign an IP address to network devices from a configuration server. The BOOTP was originally defined in RFC 951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anycast</span> Network addressing and routing methodology

Anycast is a network addressing and routing methodology in which a single destination IP address is shared by devices in multiple locations. Routers direct packets addressed to this destination to the location nearest the sender, using their normal decision-making algorithms, typically the lowest number of BGP network hops. Anycast routing is widely used by content delivery networks such as web and DNS hosts, to bring their content closer to end users.

A broadcast address is a network address used to transmit to all devices connected to a multiple-access communications network. A message sent to a broadcast address may be received by all network-attached hosts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">IP tunnel</span> Communications channel between two networks

An IP tunnel is an Internet Protocol (IP) network communications channel between two networks. It is used to transport another network protocol by encapsulation of its packets.

The internet layer is a group of internetworking methods, protocols, and specifications in the Internet protocol suite that are used to transport network packets from the originating host across network boundaries; if necessary, to the destination host specified by an IP address. The internet layer derives its name from its function facilitating internetworking, which is the concept of connecting multiple networks with each other through gateways.

IP routing is the application of routing methodologies to IP networks. This involves not only protocols and technologies but includes the policies of the worldwide organization and configuration of Internet infrastructure. In each IP network node, IP routing involves the determination of a suitable path for a network packet from a source to its destination in an IP network. The process uses static configuration rules or dynamically obtained from routing protocols to select specific packet forwarding methods to direct traffic to the next available intermediate network node one hop closer to the desired final destination, a total path potentially spanning multiple computer networks.

An interior gateway protocol (IGP) or Interior routing protocol is a type of routing protocol used for exchanging routing table information between gateways within an autonomous system. This routing information can then be used to route network-layer protocols like IP.


  1. Ahmad, F (2016). "Machine-to-machine sensor data multiplexing using LTE-advanced relay node for logistics". Dynamics in Logistics. Lecture Notes in Logistics: 247–257. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-23512-7_24. ISBN   978-3-319-23511-0.
  2. Garnepudi, P (2013). "Proactive, reactive and hybrid multicast routing protocols for Wireless Mesh Networks". IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Computing Research.
  3. INTERNET PROTOCOL, RFC 791, J Postel, September 1981.
  5. Towards Requirements for IP Routers, RFC 1716, P. Almquist, November 1994
  6. Requirements for IP Version 4 Routers, RFC 1812, F. Baker,June 1995

Further reading