Routing Information Protocol Routing Information Protocol

What is RIP | Routing Information Protocol


What is RIP?

RIP, or Routing Information Protocol, is a dynamic routing protocol used in computer networks. It plays a crucial role in determining the optimal path for data packets to travel from source to destination. RIP uses distance-vector algorithms to make routing decisions based on hop counts.

The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) is one of the oldest and most widely used routing protocols in the networking industry. It is a distance-vector routing protocol that allows routers to exchange information about the network’s topology and make informed routing decisions.

Imagine you want to send data from your computer to a server located halfway around the world. RIP helps in determining the best path for your data to reach its destination efficiently. It does so by calculating the number of hops or intermediate routers your data needs to traverse, ultimately ensuring the data reaches its target swiftly and accurately.

Features of RIP

  1. Distance-Vector Algorithm: RIP uses a distance-vector algorithm to make routing decisions. Each router maintains a routing table that contains information about the distance (hop count) to reach each network in the network topology.
  2. Hop Count Metric: RIP uses hop count as its metric for measuring the distance to a destination network. Each hop through a router adds 1 to the hop count.
  3. Periodic Updates: RIP routers periodically broadcast their routing tables to neighboring routers. These updates help routers maintain up-to-date routing information.
  4. Split Horizon: RIP uses a technique called split horizon to prevent routing loops. It prevents a router from advertising a route back to the same interface from which it learned the route.
  5. Route Poisoning: When a network becomes unreachable, RIP uses a technique called route poisoning to inform other routers that the route is no longer valid.

How does the Routing Information Protocol work?

RIP operates by periodically exchanging routing updates between neighboring routers. These updates contain information about the networks each router knows about and the associated hop count. When a router receives an update, it compares the information with its own routing table. If the received update provides a better path to a network, the router updates its routing table and forwards the update to its neighbors. This process continues until all routers in the network have consistent routing tables.

How RIP Works:

  1. Initialization: When a router starts or when RIP is enabled on a network, it sends out routing update messages containing its routing table to its directly connected neighbors.
  2. Updating Routing Tables: Routers exchange routing tables with their neighbors, and each router uses the information received to update its own routing table. RIP routers store information about the hop count and next-hop router for each network in their routing table.
  3. Metric Calculation: RIP routers calculate the total metric (hop count) for each reachable network based on the information received from neighboring routers.
  4. Periodic Updates: RIP routers continue to exchange routing updates at regular intervals (typically every 30 seconds) to ensure that their routing tables remain current.
  5. Route Selection: RIP routers select the best path to a destination network based on the lowest hop count. The router with the shortest path is chosen as the next hop for forwarding packets.

The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) operates as a distance-vector routing protocol by which routers exchange routing information within an IP network. In the RIP process, routers periodically share their routing tables, containing information about reachable networks and the number of hops required to reach them, with neighboring routers. This exchange of information helps routers build and update their routing tables, enabling them to make informed decisions about the best paths for data packets to reach their destinations.

RIP routers rely on the hop count metric, where each router hop adds one to the count. Periodic updates ensure that routers maintain current routing information, and RIP employs mechanisms like split horizon and route poisoning to prevent routing loops and inform routers when a network becomes unreachable. Ultimately, RIP routers select the route with the lowest hop count as the optimal path, making it a straightforward but less scalable routing protocol compared to more modern alternatives.

Configuration RIP

To configure RIP on a router, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Enter global configuration mode on the router.
  2. Enable RIP routing with the router rip command.
  3. Specify the networks to be advertised with the network command.
  4. Adjust other optional parameters, such as timers and authentication, as needed.
  5. Save the configuration changes.

RIP Timers

In order to regulate its own functioning and keep routing information accurate, Routing Information Protocol (RIP) uses many timers. These clocks are crucial to RIP’s operation in a network environment:

  • Update Timer: The update timer determines how often a RIP router sends out its complete routing table to its neighboring routers. Every 30 seconds, by default, RIP routers will broadcast their routing tables. Using this timer, routers will routinely update each other on network routing changes.
  • Invalid Timer: Once a route becomes marked as invalid, the invalid timer starts counting. A route is considered invalid if no update for it has been received before the timer ends. The timer’s initial setting is 180 seconds. The router will assume that a route is no longer operational if it has not received an update for more than this amount of time.
  • Hold-down Timer: After a route is marked as invalid, the hold-down timer initiates. While this timeframe is active (by default, 180 seconds), the router will not accept any route modifications for the deprecated path. This is done to guarantee that the network remains stable after changes have been made and to prevent the router from accepting incorrect route information.
  • Flush Timer: Following the expiration of the hold-down timer, the flush timer begins. After this amount of time has passed, the route will be deleted from the routing table. 240 seconds is the standard timer setting for a flush. Following the expiration of the flush timer, the route will be permanently removed from the routing table.

These timers are essential for a network’s RIP to remain stable and continue to converge. They aid in preventing routing loops and guarantee that routers can adjust to alterations in the topology of a network without requiring frequent and unnecessary updates. To fine-tune RIP’s actions to the needs and traits of a given network, it is necessary to properly configure these timers.

Versions of RIP

  1. RIPv1
  2. RIPv2
  3. RIPng

Router-to-Router Protocol Version 1 (RIPv1): The first version of the Routing Information Protocol (RIPv1) was released in 1996. It is a classful routing protocol, hence it cannot use VLSM or CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing) addresses. The subnet mask must be the same for all subnets in a large network. Using hop count as its distance metric, RIPv1 caps the number of hops between routers and destinations at 15. It can cause excessive network load in bigger networks due to its 30-second periodic broadcast updates. Without authentication measures, unauthorized routes can be updated in RIPv1.

RIPv2 (Routing Information Protocol Version 2): RIPv2 is an updated protocol that improves upon RIPv1 in a number of ways. One key feature of RIPv2 is its support for classless routing, which opens the door to more efficient and adaptable network design options like VLSM and CIDR. It also adds VLSM capability, which allows different subnet masks to be used even inside the same main network. Authentication mechanisms have been built into RIPv2 to ensure only trusted routes are used. Unlike RIPv1, it makes use of multicast addresses for updates, which significantly lessens the load on the network. Better route filtering and modification are made possible by RIPv2’s 32-bit route tag.

RIPng (Routing Information Protocol Next Generation): RIPng is an IPv6-compatible variant of the original RIP protocol. Its functionality is similar to RIPv2, but it uses IPv6 addresses and routing instead of IPv4. RIPng is a distance-vector routing system that is compatible with IPv4 networks while also supporting IPv6. Classless routing, VLSM, authentication, and multicast updates are all supported, just like they are in RIPv2. As a familiar routing protocol that also works with IPv6, RIPng is a great tool for networks making the switch from IPv4 to IPv6.

RIPv1 is the first version of RIP and provides classful routing, while RIPv2 is the upgraded version that allows for classless routing and has security features. As networks transition to the next-generation IP protocol, RIPng ensures that routing will continue to function normally.



The Routing Information Protocol (RIP) and the Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) are two routing protocols crucial to the operation of computer networks. However, their capabilities and range are very different from one another.

Learn What is Interior Gateway Protocols(IGP)?

The acronym RIP describes a specific kind of interior gateway protocol. It functions according to the distance-vector routing theory, in which routers share path information based on the total number of hops (or routers) a packet must travel. Because of its ease of use and configuration, RIP is best suited for networks with fewer nodes. However, its inefficiencies in scaling and adapting to change become increasingly obvious in bigger, more complicated network systems.

However, IGP refers to a more general class of routing protocols that encompasses both inter-AS and intra-AS routing protocols. Distance-vector IGPs include RIP and OSPF, whereas link-state IGPs include OSPF and EIGRP, and hybrid protocols include EIGRP and OSPF and OSPF. IGPs, in contrast to RIP, use a greater variety of routing strategies, allowing them to better accommodate a wide variety of network topologies and sizes.

Because of its limited scalability, the RIP IGP, while popular for its ease of use, is best suited for smaller networks. However, IGPs are more adaptable in bigger, more dynamic network settings since they are a collection of routing protocols designed to meet the routing needs of networks of varying sizes and complexities.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the RIP Protocol



  • Easy to configure and manage.
  • Compatible with a wide range of network devices.
  • Quick convergence in small networks.
  • Automatic route redistribution simplifies network management.


  • High bandwidth consumption due to periodic updates.
  • Slow convergence in large networks.
  • Does not support advanced features like load balancing and traffic engineering.

Routing Information Protocol, or RIP, is a reliable routing protocol that has stood the test of time. It offers simplicity and compatibility, making it suitable for various network scenarios. However, its limitations in terms of scalability and convergence speed should be considered when implementing RIP in larger, dynamic networks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *