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What is IP Forwarding and Routing Protocols

by IT Web Admin
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In the complex world of computer networking where data travels through complicated pathways, IP forwarding and routing protocols serve as the engine that makes perfect transport possible. Therefore, they form the foundation of data packets which brings them on the right track. Let’s explore the IP forwarding and routing protocols to understand their importance and roles.

What is IP Forwarding?

IP forwarding is a process that redirects data packets from one network interface to the next. IP forwarding happens at the network layer (level 3) of the OSI model, where routers are of particular importance. Upon receiving an incoming packet, the router scans the packet to know its destination IP address and location and consults its routing table to decide the appropriate interface through which the packet should be forwarded. The selection of this path of the router depends on its capability to understand the network topology.

Routing Protocols

Routing protocols are like maps that routers use to choose the best paths for data to travel. They’re like giving the best shortest, and fastest directions to someone. These protocols help routers share information about how to reach different parts of the network and how much it costs to get there. Here are some common types of routing protocols:

  • Distance Vector Protocols (e.g., RIP—Routing Information Protocol): Distance vector protocols broadcast routing information to neighbored routers, known as routing tables. RIP TTL, for example, is utilized as a metric to determine the best path to the destination.
  • Link-State Protocols (e.g., OSPF: Open Shortest Path First): Link-state protocols propagate ideas about network topology detail based on the exchange of LSA among routers. OSPF (Orienting System Protocol for Exchange), a popularly used link-state protocol, computes the shortest path to any destination using link parameters like link bandwidth and cost as metrics.
  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP): One of the main techniques employed by BGP is the path vector protocol, which is very popular in inter-domain routing on the Internet. Unlike IGP, which works within a single AS only, BGP acts as a path vector protocol that connects different ASes using an autonomous system routing policy, which allows routing decision-making based on the size of the AS and the administrator’s preference.

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