RIPv2 advantages & disadvantages

RIPv2 gets a bad rap, in my opinion, because it still has some suitable network topologies that it works well for. It’s kind-of like the visceral reaction some people have towards static routing. There’s no ‘right’ answer for most of these design types of decisions, only ‘better’ answers. As for RIPv2, let’s see some of the advantages:

  • It’s a standardized protocol
  • It’s VLSM compliant
  • Provides fast convergence, and sends triggered updates when the network changes
  • Works with snapshot routing – making it ideal for dial networks

Of course, it’s not all sweetness & light, there are some disadvantages:

  • Max hopcount of 15, due to the ‘count-to-infinity‘ vulnerability
  • No concept of neighbors
  • Exchanges entire table with all neighbors every 30 seconds (except in the case of a triggered update)

I think the biggest advantage of RIP are its simplicity, standards compliance, and snapshot routing capability. I’ve recently had to use RIPv2 on a customer network to solve a very specific problem. The reality of the situation was that no other protocol would work as effectively as RIPv2 does.

I work a lot with Linkway TDMA satellite modems at work, and while these modems do support OSPF and BGP, they also support RIP. We found that the use of RIP solved a problem elegantly and with a minimum of configuration overhead. It’s also much easier to teach the operators than something like OSPF or (gasp) BGP.

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