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Routing Basics

Routing Basics

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Published by: dmsjk1234 on Jul 31, 2010
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Routing Basics
Routing Basics
This chapter introduces the underlying concepts widely used in routing protocols. Topicssummarized here include routing protocol components and algorithms. In addition, the role of routing protocols is briefly contrasted with the roles of routed or network protocols. SubsequentchaptersinPart6,"RoutingProtocols,"ofthisbookaddressspecificroutingprotocolsinmoredetail,whilethenetworkprotocolsthatuseroutingprotocolsarediscussedinPart5,"NetworkProtocols."
What is Routing?
Routing is the act of moving information across an internetwork from a source to a destination.Alongtheway,atleastoneintermediatenodetypicallyisencountered.Routingisoftencontrastedwithbridging,whichmightseemtoaccomplishpreciselythesamethingtothecasualobserver.Theprimary difference between the two is that bridging occurs at Layer 2 (the link layer) of the OSIreference model, whereas routing occurs at Layer3 (the network layer). This distinction providesrouting and bridging with different information to use in the process of moving information fromsource to destination, so the two functions accomplish their tasks in different ways.Thetopicofroutinghasbeencoveredincomputerscienceliteratureformorethantwodecades,butrouting achieved commercial popularity as late as the mid-1980s. The primary reason for this timelag is that networks in the 1970s were fairly simple, homogeneous environments. Only relativelyrecently has large-scale internetworking become popular.
Routing Components
Routing involves two basic activities: determining optimal routing paths and transportinginformationgroups(typicallycalled
)throughaninternetwork.Inthecontextoftheroutingprocess, the latter of these is referred to as
. Although switching is relativelystraightforward, path determination can be very complex.
Path Determination
is a standard of measurement, such as path length, that is used by routing algorithms todetermine the optimal path to a destination. To aid the process of path determination, routingalgorithms initialize and maintain
routing tables
, which contain route information. Routeinformation varies depending on the routing algorithm used.
Routing Components
Internetworking Technology Overview, June 1999
Routing algorithms fill routing tables with a variety of information. Destination/next hopassociationstellarouterthataparticulardestinationcanbegainedoptimallybysendingthepackettoaparticularrouterrepresentingthe“nexthop”onthewaytothefinaldestination.Whenarouterreceivesanincomingpacket,itchecksthedestinationaddressandattemptstoassociatethisaddresswith a next hop. Figure5-1 depicts a sample destination/next hop routing table.
Figure5-1 Destination/next hop associations determine the data’s optimal path.
Routing tables also can contain other information, such as data about the desirability of a path.Routers compare metrics to determine optimal routes, and these metrics differ depending on thedesignoftheroutingalgorithmused.Avarietyofcommonmetricswillbeintroducedanddescribedlater in this chapter.Routers communicate with one another and maintain their routing tables through the transmissionofavarietyofmessages.The
routing update
messageisonesuchmessagethatgenerallyconsistsof all or a portion of a routing table. By analyzing routing updates from all other routers, a router canbuild a detailed picture of network topology. A
link-state advertisement 
, another example of amessage sent between routers, informs other routers of the state of the sender’s links. Link informationalsocanbeusedtobuildacompletepictureoftopologytoenablerouterstodetermineoptimal routes to network destinations.
Switchingalgorithmsarerelativelysimpleandarebasicallythesameformostroutingprotocols.Inmostcases,ahostdeterminesthatitmustsendapackettoanotherhost.Havingacquiredaroutersaddressbysomemeans,thesourcehostsendsapacketaddressedspecificallytoaroutersphysical(Media Access Control [MAC]-layer) address, this time with the protocol (network layer) addressof the destination host.As it examines the packet’s destination protocol address, the router determines that it either knowsor does not know how to forward the packet to the next hop. If the router does not know how toforward the packet, it typically drops the packet. If the router knows how to forward the packet, itchanges the destination physical address to that of the next hop and transmits the packet.The next hop may, in fact, be the ultimate destination host. If not, the next hop is usually anotherrouter, which executes the same switching decision process. As the packet moves through theinternetwork, its physical address changes, but its protocol address remains constant, as illustratedin Figure5-2.
To reach network:Send to:27571724521626...Node ANode BNode CNode ANode BNode ANode A...
       S       1       2       8       3     a
Routing Basics
5-3Routing Algorithms
The preceding discussion describes switching between a source and a destination end system. TheInternationalOrganizationforStandardization(ISO)hasdevelopedahierarchicalterminologythatisusefulindescribingthisprocess.Usingthisterminology,networkdeviceswithoutthecapabilityto forward packets between subnetworks are called
end systems
(ESs), whereas network deviceswith these capabilities are called
intermediate systems
(ISs). ISs are further divided into those thatcancommunicatewithinroutingdomains(
)andthosethatcommunicatebothwithinand between routing domains (
interdomain ISs
). A
routing domain
generally is considered to be aportion of an internetwork under common administrative authority that is regulated by a particularsetofadministrativeguidelines.Routingdomainsarealsocalled
autonomous systems
routing areas
,butintradomainroutingprotocolsarestill used for switching both within and between areas.
Figure5-2Numerous routers may come into play during the switching process.
Routing Algorithms
Routing algorithms can be differentiated based on several key characteristics. First, the particulargoalsofthealgorithmdesigneraffecttheoperationoftheresultingroutingprotocol.Second,varioustypes of routing algorithms exist, and each algorithm has a different impact on network and routerresources. Finally, routing algorithms use a variety of metrics that affect calculation of optimalroutes. The following sections analyze these routing algorithm attributes.
Router 1Router 2Router 3
To:Destination hostRouter 1(Protocol address)(Physical address)PacketSource hostPCTo:Destination hostRouter 2(Protocol address)(Physical address)PacketTo:Destination hostRouter 3(Protocol address)(Physical address)PacketTo:Destination hostDestination host(Protocol address)(Physical address)Destination hostPCPacket
       S       1       2       8       4     a

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