Welcome to SolarWinds Blog Series, ‘Basics of Routing Protocols’. This is the second of a four part series where you can learn more about the fundamentals of routing protocols, types, and their everyday applications in network troubleshooting.


In the previous blog, we discussed the two classes of routing protocols, distance-vector and link-state, and how you can choose which is best for your network. In this blog we’ll shed some light on another popular routing protocol: Routing Information Protocol (RIP).


What is Routing Information Protocol?

Routing Information Protocol, or RIP, is one of the most commonly used routing protocols for small homogeneous networks. As a distance-vector routing protocol, RIP is used by routers to exchange topology information periodically by sending out routing table details to neighboring routers every 30 seconds. These neighboring routers in turn forward the information to other routers until they reach network convergence. RIP uses the hop count metric with the maximum limit of 15 hops, anything beyond that is unreachable. Because of this, RIP is not suitable for large, complex networks.


RIPv1 vs. RIPv2

There are two versions of RIP. RIP version 1 uses classful routing and does not include subnet information while sending out periodic routing table updates. RIP version 2 is classless and includes the subnet information supporting Classless-Inter Domain Routing (CIDR). Unlike RIP version 1, version 2 multicasts the routing updates to the adjacent routers using the address Network convergence happens much faster in RIPv2.


RIP - Pros and Cons

Routing Information Protocol has its own advantages in small networks. For one, it’s easy to understand and configure and it’s also widely used and supported by almost all the routers. Since its limited to 15 hops, any router beyond that distance is considered as infinity, and hence unreachable. If implemented in a large network, RIP can create a traffic bottleneck by multicasting all the routing tables every 30 seconds, which is bandwidth intensive. RIP has very slow network convergence in large networks. The routing updates take up significant bandwidth leaving behind very limited resource for critical IT processes. RIP doesn’t support multiple paths on the same route and is likely to have more routing loops resulting in a loss of transferred data.


RIP uses fixed hop count metrics to compare available routes, which cannot be used when routes are selected based on real-time data. This results in an increased delay in delivering packets and overloads network operations due to repeated processes.


Monitor Routers Using RIP in Your Network

Advanced network monitoring tools have the ability to monitor network route information and provide real-time views on issues that might affect the network. Using monitoring tools in small networks you can view router topology, routing tables, and changes in default routes.


Learn more about other popular routing protocols like OSPF and EIGRP in the blog series.