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Distance-vector routing protocol

A distance-vector routing protocol is a protocol concept used in routing of packet-switched networks in computer communications, as in for example the Interior gateway routing protocol for Internet traffic.

Workings

The distance-vector routing protocol assumes a network connected through several routers, each of which is connected to two or more computer networks. Each network may be connected to one or more routers.

  1. Initially, the router makes a list of which networks it can reach, and how many hops it will cost. In the outset this will be the two or more networks to which this router is connected. The number of hops for these networks will be 1. This table is called a routing table.
  2. Periodically (typically every 30th second) the routing table is shared with other routers on each of the connected networks via some specified inter-router protocol. These routers will add 1 to every hop-count in the table, as it associates a hop cost of 1 for reaching the router that sent the table. This information is just shared inbetween physically connected routers ("neighbors"), so routers on other networks are not reached by the new routing tables yet.
  3. A new routing table is constructed based on the old routing table in each router, and the new information received from other routers. The hop-count is used as a speed measure for the path. The table also contains a column stating which router offered this hop count, so that the router knows who is next in line for reaching a certain network at a certain speed.
  4. The table is then purged from bad routing paths. If two identical paths to the same network exists, only the one with the smallest hop-count is kept.
  5. The new routing table is then communicated to all neighbors of this roter. This way the routing information will spread and eventually all routers know the routing path to each network, which router it shall use to reach this network, and to which router it shall route next.



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