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A REPORT ON

ANALYSIS OF OSPF ROUTING PROTOCOL


Using OPNET 14.5 Modeler

NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

SUBMITTED BY:
SHOBHANK SHARMA
ssharma5@ncsu.edu

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ANALYSIS OF OSPF ROUTING PROTOCOL

A. Introduction
OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) is an interior gateway routing protocol deployed typically in upper tier
ISPs for intra-AS routing. It is a link state protocol employing Dijkstras algorithm to calculate least cost
path. The following report dwells into the OSPF routing protocol investigating the following:

1) What are the ways of cost assignment supported by OSPF and what are the advantages and
disadvantages of one over the other?
2) How the load balancing feature affects throughput?
3) What is the affect of dividing network into various areas?
4) Comparison of OSPF with other routing protocols like EIGRP and RIP.

Therefore the analysis covers new features introduced by OSPF in the field of routing protocols. OPNET
simulation is used for the stated analysis.

B. Cost assignment in OSPF


The cost or metric as assigned to an interface in OSPF is an indication of the overhead necessary to allow
packet transfer across the interface [1].
OSPF offers two types of cost assignments- the first, implicit way is by assigning bandwidth to the
interface and the cost relates to bandwidth inversely with the reference bandwidth of 1000000000. A
more flexible way would be to allow the privileged network administrator to assign cost explicitly in
some units as desired. The later way can take into account the infrastructure cost, delay, administrative
domain, bandwidth or any defined parameter.
Experimental setup: The experimental setup consists of four ethernet4_slip8_gtwy node models having
point to point (PPP link models) interconnections and exposed to three experimental scenarios:
With DS3 links
With all OC3 links
With one OC3 link and manual costs
In the experiment we measure the utilization of various links in the three experimental settings.
Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 show the results.
Results: Fig. 1, having all DS3 links, shows that all the links have utilization nearing to 100% and hence
though economically viable due to cheaper DS3 links, it is not very efficient causing high load on links.
Fig. 2 is an upgraded version of the previous scenario; in this all the links are OC3 and hence it is a
costlier solution but gives lesser load on links. Fig. 3 is an intermediate solution in which there is only one
OC3 link and costs are assigned manually. The cost can be assigned in such a way so that more traffic is
on the link we want it to pass through. For example here we have tried to change path of traffic from A to
D to pass through A to C and C to D as shown in Fig. 4. Hence the last scenario makes advantage of the
flexibility offered by user defined cost assignment feature of OSPF.

C. Load Balancing feature of OSPF


In todays internet the shortest path routing protocols are not enough to maximize guaranteed node traffic
loads, scalable and fast bandwidth reservations, hence load balancing comes to rescue. Load balancing
can affect throughput positively for arbitrary traffic pattern [2]. Router can learn multiple routes to a
destination using the same routing process and chooses the path with the lowest cost to destination. Load
balancing feature allows the routing process to install multiple routes in route table, to the same
destination in order to balance the traffic flow.

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Fig. 1 All nodes connected with PPP DS3 Link Fig. 2 All nodes connected with PPP OC3
-Model. Link-Model.

Fig. 3 One link with PPP OC3 Link-Model and Fig. 4 Route when cost is manually assigned
other links with PPP DS3 link model, with
manual costs assigned.

Experimental setup: The experimental setup for analyzing the effect of load balancing consists of similar
topology as before i.e. four ethernet4_slip8_gtwy node models having PPP DS3 link model
interconnections with subnets in the form of 100BaseT LAN node model. Application profile is
configured to contain FTP application and Profile configuration is configured to download FTP traffic.
One LAN model with 5 server workstations is connected to router A and another LAN model with 50

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host workstations is connected to router C. The simulation is performed to find the routes and throughput
characteristic of the link between router C and the connected subnet, for the two cases.

Fig. 5 Route from A to C without load balancing. Fig. 6 Route from A to C with load balancing.

Results: From the experiment conducted we obtain the snapshots as shown in Fig. 5-7. Comparing Fig. 5
and 6, it is clear that when load balancing is used the traffic does not pass through only one link but
rather balances itself in order to lower the load on one particular link. Fig. 7 shows that the throughput
of with load balancing has improvement over without load balancing topology. A further
improvement in load balancing implementation is to assign some kind weights or load balancing
coefficients. Balancing coefficients are optimized to maximize the network throughput while ensuring
that nodes can generate and receive loads which are proportional to the allocated weights [2].

Fig. 7 Throughput comparison of with and Fig. 8 Topology consisting for ten routers
and without load balancing. interconnected using PPP DS3 Link Model.

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D. Areas Configuration in OSPF
OSPF provides feature by which whole network can be split up into different areas which assist
in restricting the link state updates over the network and often cuts down on the unneeded
information of one area to be passed on to other.
Experimental setup: The experimental setting comprise of ten routers interconnected using
PPP DS3 node model as shown in Fig. 8
The simulation is setup to demonstrate and compare the OSPF traffic sent in bits/sec for with-
and without-area configuration. Area configuration (see Fig. 8) for links is as follows:
r1<->r2, r1<->r3, r3<->r4, r2<->r4area 0.0.0.1 (blue)
r3<->r5, r5<->r6, r4<->r6, r5<->r7, r6<->r8area 0.0.0.0 (green)
r7<->r8, r8<->r10, r10<->r9, r9<->r7area 0.0.0.2 (red)

Fig. 9 OSPF Protocol traffic sent for with and Fig. 10 Average traffic sent by routing
Without area configuration. Protocols.

Fig. 11 Network convergence duration Fig. 12 Network convergence activity


Comparison of routing protocols. Comparison of routing protocols.

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Results: As can be seen from the Fig. 9 the overall OSPF protcol traffic flow is lesser in the case
of with-area configured network as compared to without-area configured network. The reason
for such a behavior is because of restriction on LSAs to be confined to its own area only hence
reducing the routing overhead. Hence, Dividing an Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
Autonomous System (AS) into independent routing areas allows area topology abstraction,
reducing route overhead, table size, and convergence time, while providing some isolation from
bad routing data [3].

E. Comparison with EIGRP and RIP


In this experiment we will compare OSPF with other interior gateway routing protocol. EIGRP is
Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol. It is a distance vector protocol like RIP, with
routing optimizations based on Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL) that gives loop-free
operation and provides mechanism for faster convergence.
Experimental Setup: The topology used is same as shown in Fig. 8 but without areas being
configured. The simulation is setup to demonstrate and compare network convergence
duration, network convergence activity and the average traffic sent in b/s for EIGRP, OSPF and
RIP.
Results: As can be seen from Fig. 10 the least traffic sent is for RIP since it is very simple
protocol without much overhead. But it is demonstrated in Fig. 11 that EIGRP has smallest
convergence duration as compared to OSPF and RIP. This is verified by Fig. 12 which shows
network activity and here also EIGRP can be seen to converge faster than OSPF and RIP.

F. Conclusion
OSPF offers advantageous features like assigning manual costs, load balancing, dividing network
into areas to restrict LSAs as well as for administrative reasons, encrypted protocol traffic etc.
But there is other side of coin too. The OSPF area configuration reduces connectivity, increases
complexity, routing path lengths and traffic concentration. EIGRP has better convergence
performance and lesser overheads. In spite of these disadvantages OSPF still triumphs amongst
routing protocol and continues to be used in upper tier ISPs.

G. References
[1] www.cisco.com Document ID: 7039

[2] Antic M., Maksic N., Knezevic P. and Smiljanic A., "Two phase load balanced routing using
OSPF" IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications January 2010.

[3] Manousakis K. and McAuley A.J.,"Using stochastic approximation to design OSPF routing
areas that satisfy multiple and diverse end-to-end performance requirements" Proceedings of
the 6th intl. symposium on modeling and optimization Wiopt 2008.

[4] Kurose and Ross, Computer Networking: A top-Down Approach Featuring the Internet.

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H. Readme Page

Note: For Examiner:


1) Path to opnet models:
J:\.eos.ncsu.edu\lockers\workspace\csc\csc570\001\ssharma5\op_models.

2) There are three folders in the above directory path:


linkcostanalysis for section B
Loadbalancing OSPF for section C
OSPF Comparison for section D and E

3) The simulation in all the scenarios is set for 10 minutes.

4) Each folder has .project folder consisting of .prj file.

5) From the opnet modeler this .prj file can be opened and it automatically loads the
simulation results. If needed the simulation can be rerun.

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