Jan 05

Importance of The OSPF Routing Protocol

OSPF Routing Protocol

The Open Shortest Path First Protocol (OSPF) is based on the link state routing methodology. Link state routing involves a router mapping its own network by sending out periodic status messages to the network so that it can build its list to the other routers to which it’s directly connected and the status of those links.

OSPF uses a shortest path first algorithm to build and calculate the shortest path to all known destinations using the Dijkstra algorithm. After initialization or due to any change in the routing information, a router will initiate a link state advertisement which constitutes the collection of all the link-states for the particular router. Flooding is used by all routers to exchange link-states and each router that receives a link-state update has to store a copy in its link-state database and then transmit the update to other routers. Upon completion of the database of each router, the router will calculate the Open Shortest Path tree for all other destinations and the IP routing table is formed after this process which consists the destinations, the associated cost and the next hop to reach to those destinations.

When two routers are connected to the same data link, they become OSPF neighbors. Two routers can become OSPF neighbors if connected to the same Ethernet WAN link, same VLAN or same serial link. Two routers got to do quite simply exist on an equivalent link to become OSPF neighbors; they need to send OSPF messages and comply with in order to become OSPF neighbors. The routers introduce themselves to the potential neighbor by sending OSPF Hello messages. Assuming the potential neighbors have compatible OSPF parameters, the two routers form an OSPF neighbor relationship, and would be displayed within the output of the show ip ospf neighbor command.

Advantages of OSPF

  • There is no hop count limitation.
  • Better use of Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSM) which is vital in IP address allocation.
  • OSPF allows better load balancing.
  • OSPF provides better convergence when compared to Routing Internet Protocol (RIP).
  • OSPF provides routing authentication.
  • OSPF allows logical definitions of networks where routers can be divided into different areas.

Disadvantages of OSPF

  • Requires more processing and memory power to process the SPF algorithms.
  • OSPF is not as easy as some other routing protocols when it comes to route learning.
  • If any links within a network changes its state very often and if the network runs entirely on OSPF, this could cause OSPF updates to dominate the network by updating other routers every time the link changes.

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