The primary responsibility of a router is to direct packets destined for local and remote networks by:

  • Determining the best path to send packets
  • Forwarding packets toward their destination

The router uses its routing table to determine the best path to forward the packet. When the router receives a packet, it examines its destination IP address and searches for the best match with a network address in the router's routing table. The routing table also includes the interface to be used to forward the packet. Once a match is found, the router encapsulates the IP packet into the data link frame of the outgoing or exit interface, and the packet is then forwarded toward its destination.

Static Routes:

Static routes are configured manually; network administrators must add and delete static routes to reflect any network topology changes. In a large network, the manual maintenance of routing tables could require a lot of administrative time. On small networks with few possible changes, static routes require very little maintenance. Static routing is not as scalable as dynamic routing because of the extra administrative requirements. Even in large networks, static routes   that   are   intended   to   accomplish   a   specific   purpose   are often configured in conjunction with a dynamic routing protocol.

When to use static Routing:

A network consists of only a few routers. Using a dynamic routing protocol in such a case does not present any substantial benefit. On the contrary, dynamic routing may add more administrative overhead.

A network is connected to the Internet only through a single ISP. There is no need to use a dynamic routing protocol across this link because the ISP represents the only exit point to the Internet.

A large network is configured in a hub-and-spoke topology. A hub-and-spoke topology consists of a central location (the hub) and multiple branch locations (spokes), with each spoke having only one connection to the hub. Using dynamic routing would be unnecessary because each branch has only one path to a given destination through the central location.

Connected Routes:

Those networks that are directly connected to the Router are called connected routes and are not needed to configure on the router for routing. They are automatically routed by the Router.

Dynamic Routes:

Dynamic routing protocol uses a   route that a   routing protocol adjusts automatically for topology or traffic changes.

Non-adaptive routing algorithm When a ROUTER uses a non-adaptive routing algorithm it consults a static table in order to determine to which computer it should send a PACKET of data. This is in contrast to an ADAPTIVE ROUTING ALGORITHM, which bases its decisions on data that reflects current traffic conditions (Also called static route)

Adaptive routing algorithm When a ROUTER uses an adaptive routing algorithm to decide the next computer to which to transfer a PACKET of data, it examines the traffic conditions in order to determine a route that is as near optimal as possible. For example, it tries to pick a route that involves communication lines that have light traffic. This strategy is in contrast to a NON-ADAPTIVE ROUTING ALGORITHM. (Also called Dynamic route)

Routing Protocol:

A routing protocol is a communication used between routers. A routing protocol allows routers to share information about networks and their proximity to each other. Routers use this information to build and maintain routing tables.

Autonomous System:

An AS is a collection of networks under a common administration that share a common routing strategy. To the outside world, an   AS   is viewed   as   a   single   entity. The AS may be run by one or   more   operators   while   it presents   a   consistent   view of   routing to the external world. The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN), a service provider, or an administrator assigns a 16-bit identification number to each AS.


Dynamic Routing Protocol:

  1. Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP)
    1. Distance Vector Protocol
    2. Link State Protocol
  2. Exterior Gateway Protocol (EGP)

Interior gateway protocol (IGP): Within one Autonomous System.

Exterior     Routing     Protocol (EGP): Between the    Autonomous    System. Example BGP (Border gateway protocol)


There are cases when a routing protocol learns of more than one route to the same destination. To select the best path, the routing protocol must be able to evaluate and differentiate between the available paths. For this purpose, a metric is used. A metric is a value used by routing protocols to assign costs to reach remote networks. The metric is used to determine which path is most preferable when there are multiple paths to the same remote network.

Each routing protocol uses its own metric. For example, RIP uses hop count, EIGRP uses a combination of bandwidth and delay, and Cisco's implementation of OSPF uses bandwidth.