The RIP and OSPF are two interior gateway protocols (IGP) that intensively used in computer networks to specify the best routes for data transmission. RIP (Routing Information Protocol) is one of the oldest routing protocols in service, whereas OSPF (Open Shortest Patch First) serves as the most widely adopted IGP for large enterprise networks. Network admins may find themselves in a dilemma when choosing between RIP vs OSPF. So, we will present a detailed description of these two routing protocols and address key RIP vs OSPF differences.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP), is an example of distance vector routing for local networks. RIP works to deliver the whole routing table to all active interfaces in every 30 seconds. In RIP protocol, hop count is the only metrics to decide the best path to a remote network. Let’s take an example to see how RIP protocol works: Assuming, we have two paths available from the source (R1) to the destination (R7). It is clear that Path 2 will be selected by RIP protocol since it has less hop counts
Path 1: R1-R2-R4-R6-R7
Path 2: R1-R3-R5-R7
RIP is a great fit for small networks – It’s easy to understand and configure while also being supported by almost all routers. The hop counts of RIP is limited to 15 hops, so any router beyond that distance is considered as infinity, and hence unreachable. When implementing in a large network, RIP can create a traffic bottleneck by multicasting all the routing tables every 30 seconds, and it has very slow network convergence. Since any routing update in RIP will take up great bandwidth, the resources for critical IT processes are hence limited. Moreover, RIP doesn’t support multiple paths on the same route, which may generate more routing loops. While using fixed hop count metric to select the best routes, RIP fails to work when routes are compared based on real-time data. This causes a packet loss and overloads network operations due to repeated processes.
OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), a link state routing protocol, is massively adopted in large enterprise networks. OSPF routing protocol collects link state information from routers in the network and determines the routing table information to forward packets. This occurs by creating a topology map for the network. Unlike RIP, OSPF only exchanges routing information when there’s a change in network topology. OSPF best fits for complex networks that comprise multiple subnet working to ease network administration and optimize traffic. It effectively calculates the shortest path with minimum network traffic when the change occurs.
Using OSPF protocol demands advanced knowledge about complex networks. So OSPF routing protocol allows routers to calculate routes based on incoming requests. Unlike RIP protocol that has only 15 hops at most, OSPF has no limitations in hop count. So OSPF converges faster than RIP, and has better load balancing. The drawbacks of OSPF, however, is that it doesn’t scale when there are more routers added to the network. And this lack of scalability in OSPF makes it unsuitable for routing across the Internet.
The RIP and OSPF are the IGP that routing information within an autonomous system, and RIP vs OSPF differs in many aspects.
Other RIP vs OSPF differences are presented in the chart below.
|Network Size||For small to medium networks||For large and small networks|
|Need of Device Resources||Much less memory and CPU intensive than OSPF||Memory and CPU intensive|
|Need of Network Resources||Bandwidth consuming; whole routing table is sent||Less than RIP; only small updates are sent|
|Metric||Based on hop count||Based on bandwidth|
|Design||Flat network||Hierarchical network possible|
After comparing RIP vs OSPF differences, it’s clear that RIP is ideal for small networks that are simple and non-hierarchical, whereas OSPF fits best for large and hierarchical enterprise networks. In a complex network, you may have multiple routing protocols operating simultaneously. FS.COM data switch (e.g. 10GbE switch) supports full IPv4/IPv6 routing such as RIP/OSPF/BGP/ECMP routing protocol. We also provide powerful and affordable data center switch, Gigabit PoE switch and copper switch to customer worldwide. Know more about RIP vs OSPF, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Article: OSPF vs BGP: Which Routing Protocol to Use?
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