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How To Choose The Best Routing Protocol For Your Network

Routing protocols are the rules that determine how routers communicate and exchange information about the paths and status of a network. Choosing the best routing protocol for your network depends on several factors, such as the size, topology, scalability, security, and performance of your network. In this post you will learn about the main types of routing protocols, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to evaluate them for your network needs.

Static vs Dynamic
Static routing protocols are manually configured by the network administrator and do not change unless the administrator updates them. Dynamic routing protocols are automatically updated by the routers based on the network conditions and topology changes. Static routing protocols are simple, fast, and secure, but they are not scalable, adaptable, or fault-tolerant. Dynamic routing protocols are scalable, adaptable, and fault-tolerant, but they are more complex, slower, and less secure than static routing protocols.

Distance Vector vs Link State
Distance vector protocols are based on the distance and direction of the destination network from the source router. They use hop count as the metric to determine the best path. Link state protocols are based on the status and cost of each link in the network. They use bandwidth, delay, load, or reliability to determine the best path. Distance vector routing is easy to implement and uses less resources, but is prone to routing loops, slow convergence, and inaccurate information. Link state routing protocols are more efficient and accurate, but they require more resources and processing power.

Interior vs Exterior
Interior routing protocols are used within a single autonomous system (AS), which is a group of routers under the same administrative control. Exterior routing protocols are used between different autonomous systems. Interior routing protocols are designed to optimize the routing within the AS, while exterior routing protocols are designed to facilitate the routing between the ASes. Interior routing protocols include RIP, EIGRP, OSPF, and IS-IS. Examples of exterior routing protocols include BGP and EGP.

Hybrid and Advanced
Hybrid routing protocols combine the features of distance vector and link state routing protocols. They use both distance and link information to determine the best path. They also use techniques such as triggered updates, partial updates, and route summarization to improve routing efficiency and scalability. Examples of hybrid routing protocols are EIGRP and BGP. Advanced routing protocols are designed to address specific challenges or requirements of modern networks, such as multicast, mobile, wireless, or IPv6 networks. They use special algorithms or mechanisms to support these features. Advanced routing protocols include DVMRP, PIM, OLSR, AODV, and RIPng.

Evaluation Criteria
When selecting the best routing protocol for your network, evaluate them based on criteria like compatibility, scalability, flexibility, security, overhead, and convergence. The routing protocol should be compatible with your hardware and software and able to handle growth without sacrificing performance or reliability. Additionally, it should be able to adapt to changes in your network topology and traffic patterns while protecting your network from unauthorized access. And it should minimize the amount of bandwidth, memory, and CPU resources it consumes for routing operations and reach a consistent state quickly after a change or failure. By comparing different types of routing protocols based on these criteria, you can choose the one that best meets your network goals and constraints.

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