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Table of Contents
CCIE Routing & Switching

Unit 1: Preparation
Unit 2: Switching
Unit 3: IP Routing
Unit 4: RIP
RIP Distance Vector Routing Protocol

How to conတgure RIP on a Cisco router

RIP Timers Debug

RIP Reliable Default Route with IP SLA

Unit 5: EIGRP
Unit 6: OSPF
Unit 7: BGP
Unit 8: Multicast
Unit 9: IPv6
Unit 10: Quality of Service
Unit 11: Security
Unit 12: System Management
Unit 13: Network Services
Unit 14: MPLS

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RIP Distance Vector Routing Protocol

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RIP is a distance vector routing protocol and the simplest routing protocol to start with. We’ll
start by paying attention to the distance vector class. What does the name distance vector

Distance: How far away, in routing world we use metrics which we just discussed.
Vector: Which direction, in routing world we care about which interface and the IP-address
of the next router to send it to.


I don’t know if you ever go cycling but here in The Netherlands we have some nice so called
mushroom signposts telling you which way to go and how far (in kilometers) the destination is.
The same principle applies to distance vector routing protocols.

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If you don’t like cycling you’ll like the highway signs better:

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Enough about cycling and highways let’s see how distance vector routing protocols operate.

In this picture we have three routers and we are running a distance vector routing protocol
(RIP). As we start our routers they build a routing table by default but the only thing they know
are their directly connected interfaces. You can see that this information is in their routing
table. In red you can see which interface and in green you can see the metric. RIP uses hop
count as its metric which is nothing more than counting the number of routers (hops) you have
to pass to get to your destination.

Now I’m going to enable distance vector routing, what will happen is that our routers will copy
their routing table to their directly connected neighbor. Router Spade will copy its routing table
to router Hearts. Router Hearts will copy its routing table to router Clubs and the other way

If a router receives information about a network it doesn’t know about yet, it will add this
information to its routing table:

Take a look at router Spade and you will see that it has learned about the /24 and /24 network from router Hearts. You see that it has added the interface (Fa1/0) how to
reach these networks (that’s the vector part) and you see that it has added the metric (hop
count) for these networks (that’s the distance part). /24 is one hop away, /24 is two hops away.
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Awesome! You also see that router Hearts and router Clubs have တlled their routing tables.

Every 30 seconds our routers will send a full copy of their routing table to their neighbors who
can update their own routing table.

So far so good, our routers are working and we know the destination to all of our networks…
distance vector routing protocols are vulnerable to some problems however. Let me show you
what can go wrong:


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The FastEthernet 1/0 link on router Clubs is going down, so it will change its routing table. Its
status went from 0 to Down.

Every 30 seconds our routers send a full copy of their routing table to their neighbors and it just
happens to be that it’s time for router Hearts to send a copy. Router Hearts sends his full
routing table towards router Clubs. What do you think will happen?

Router Clubs gets the routing table from router Hearts and will see that router Hearts is
advertising the /24 network with a hop count of 1. That’s excellent is what router Clubs
thinks….a hop count of 1 is better than having a network that is down. Router Clubs will add this
information to its routing table.

A few seconds later it’s time for router Clubs to send its routing table to its neighbor router
Hearts. Router Hearts will come to the following conclusion:

“I can reach /24 by going to router Clubs and my hop count used to be 1. I’m receiving a
routing table from router Clubs now and it now says that the hop count is 2…I need to update
myself to include this change”.

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The hop count on router Hearts is now 3, it received 2 from router Clubs plus it adds the hop
towards router Clubs.

Router Hearts will also send a copy of its routing table towards router Spade who will update
itself as well.

Do you see where this is going? These routers are going to keep updating themselves to inတnity.

What will happen when we send an IP packet to the /24 network?

Look at the routing table of router Hearts and router Clubs, they are pointing to each other.
Ladies and Gentleman…we have a routing loop! That’s not a good thing, IP packets have a TTL
(Time to Live) တeld however so they won’t loop around forever like Ethernet Frames do.

To prevent routers from updating themselves over and over again we have a maximum. For RIP
this is a hop count of 16. 16 is considered unreachable so the maximum number of hops you
can have is 15.

This problem is called counting to inတnity.

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There is something else we use to counter the counting to inတnity problem. In our example
router Clubs advertised the /24 network towards router Hearts. How useful is it that
router Hearts advertises this network towards router Clubs?

That’s like telling someone a joke that you just learned from that person…not very eတective
(unless the joke is extremely good/lame

In routing it’s not very eတective so whatever you learn from your neighbor you are not going to
advertise back to him. We call this split horizon.

Something else we do is that once a network goes down ( /24 in our example) the router
will send a triggered update immediately to update its neighbors.

The triggered update will contain the network that is down and an inတnite metric (16 in the case
of RIP). Sending a update for this network with an inတnite metric is called route poisoning.

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To make sure router Clubs does not update itself via some other router / path in the network,
router Hearts will send a poison reverse in response to the route poison it has received from
router Clubs.

I just explained to you what split horizon is…”don’t advertise whatever you learned from your
neighbor back to them”.

“Route poisoning overrules split horizon”

There is one more thing we use with distance vector routing protocols. When router Hearts and
Spade တnd out that our /24 network is down they will also start a holddown timer. This
holddown timer will run for 180 seconds and it does the following:

If we receive information about the /24 network from another router with the same
or worse metric than we currently have, we ignore this information.
If we receive information about the /24 network from another router with a better
metric, we stop the holddown timer and update our routing table with this new information.
If we don’t receive anything and the holddown timer elapses we remove this network from
the routing table.

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What do you think? That’s plenty of information about RIP and distance vector routing protocols

Let me တnish this articleby giving you an overview between RIP version 1 and version 2. They
are similar with a few diတerences:

RIP Version 1 Version 2

Class Classful Classless

Addressing Type Broadcast Multicast

Support manual summaries No Yes

Authentication support No Yes

RIP version 1 is classful so it does not send a subnet mask along with its routing updates,
version 2 is classless so it will send the subnet mask along. RIP version 1 sends everything using
broadcasts compared to RIP version 2 which uses multicast (you can also use unicast btw).

That's all I have for you now. In another article I will show you all the RIP commands you need
to know for CCNA! I hope you enjoyed this article, if it was helpful to you please leave a

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How to conတgure RIP on a Cisco

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Home › Forums › RIP Distance Vector Routing Protocol

This topic contains 25 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by   Rene Molenaar 1 day, 3
hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)

Posts  | Subscribe
May 10, 2014 at 10:25 #15194 Reply

mohamed hosny
i have two question

1- split horizon : it’s not useful to advertise network back to the neighbor through interface
which came from this neighbor because he is closer to this network than me. the question is
what happen when i learned the same network from another neighbor in the following cases 1-
with lower metric
or 2-higher metric
or 3- equal metric

2- question two how split horizon works if we have example

1-RI connected to R2 and R3
2-R2 connected to R1and R3
3-R3 connected to R1and R2

August 4, 2014 at 21:22 #15195 Reply

It was my တrst time to read about the RIP, the way the Protocol is explained is very clear and
straight forward. Thanks

September 19, 2014 at 03:26 #15196 Reply

I’m using the Boson Netsim 9.0 simulator and I conတgured a lab to match what you laid out in
this lesson, what has me baတed is how and where do you see the hop count message of 16,

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when I shutdown the interface on my R3 router (LAN) I turned on debug IP Rip on my
R2 router to view the updates being sent from R3. I did see the metric count reach 4 and after
that the route was deleted for network, I never saw the hop count reach 16……just
curious about this.
Otherwise a very good explanation and write up RIP protocol
It could be the simulator not doing a valid simulation of a real router, not sure.

Thanks again for your information

September 19, 2014 at 06:40 #15201 Reply

Rene Molenaar
Hi Darren,

It might be the Boson simulator, you could try this in GNS3 with two routers…see if the output is
diတerent than in Boson.


October 23, 2014 at 09:40 #15202 Reply

Very Very nice explanation, Thanks

March 16, 2015 at 10:07 #15203 Reply

Aisha M
Dear Rene,

This article has been very helpful for me. Thank you for posting it.

I just have one misunderstanding about it. How can “counting to inတnity problem” happen if we
use “split horizons”? Or did you mean that “split horizons” is one of the methods to resolve
“counting to inတnity problem”?

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Best regards,

March 16, 2015 at 10:22 #15206 Reply

Rene Molenaar
Hi Aisha,

The way distance vector routing protocols share routing information makes them vulnerable to
problems like counting to inတnity. Split horizon is one of the techniques to counter/prevent that


March 16, 2015 at 14:28 #15210 Reply

Aisha M
That is clear now. Thank you, Rene!

June 6, 2015 at 11:51 #15211 Reply

Maruti G
Hi Rene, I’m bit confussed with Split horizon and Reverse poison. Could you please me on this.

June 7, 2015 at 10:54 #15212 Reply

Rene Molenaar
Hi Maruti,

Split horizon is pretty straight forward…

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When you learn about a network on an interface then you don’t advertise that network out of
the same network.

This makes sense, we learn something on an interface so why advertise that information out of
the same interface…

Route poisoning and poison reverse are both used to invalidate a network. When an interface
goes down, the router will send a “route poison” for networks that are now unreachable. The
“poison” part means setting the metric to the highest possible value which indicates that it is
unreachable, in case of RIP that’s a hop count of 16.

The poison reverse is sent by the router who receives the route poison, it works a bit like an
acknowledgment and ensures that the router that sent the route poison doesn’t install any
other entries in its routing table for the network that went missing.


June 9, 2015 at 07:14 #15213 Reply

Maruti G
Thanks Rene! Now, I understood these terms.

August 24, 2015 at 10:18 #15214 Reply

Hussein Samir
Hi Rene,

If RIP router received an information about a network from diတerent interfaces (vectors) with
diတerent metrics, what information the router will take care of and decides to put it into the
routing table :-
1 – Information that have better metric ?
2 – both information ?

August 24, 2015 at 11:33 #15215 Reply

Rene Molenaar

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Hi Hussein,

RIP is a simple protocol, it will always prefer the path with the lowest vector. If the metric is
equal then it will install both paths and will do load balancing.


August 24, 2015 at 12:24 #15216 Reply

Hussein Samir
Thanks Rene,

I have one more question about invalid timers and တush timers of RIP ? what are these timers
about ?

August 24, 2015 at 12:40 #15217 Reply

Rene Molenaar
Hi Hussein,

The invalid timer is the number of seconds that we wait before a route goes into hold down. It’s
180 seconds by default.

The တush timer is the number of seconds we wait after the holddown timer has expired before
we throw the route away. It’s 240 seconds by default.



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