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The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) is one of the oldest distance-vector routing protocols which employ the hop count as a routing metric. RIP prevents routing loops by implementing a limit on the number of hops allowed in a path from source to destination.

The maximum number of hops allowed for RIP is 15, which limits the size of networks that RIP can support. A hop count of 16 is considered an infinite distance and the route is considered unreachable. As networks grew in size, however, it became evident there could be a massive traffic burst every 30 seconds, even if the routers had been initialized at random times. It was thought, as a result of random initialization, the routing updates would spread out in time, but this was not true in practice.

In most networking environments, RIP is not the preferred choice for routing as its time to converge and scalability are poor compared to EIGRP, OSPF, or IS-IS. However, it is easy to configure, because RIP does not require any parameters unlike other protocols

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