Routing Protocols Characteristics

Routing protocols can be compared based on the following characteristics:
Time to Convergence - Time to convergence defines how quickly the routers in the network topology share routing information and reach a state of consistent knowledge. The faster the convergence, the more preferable the protocol. Routing loops can occur when inconsistent routing tables are not updated due to slow convergence in a changing network.
Scalability - Scalability defines how large a network can become based on the routing protocol that is deployed. The larger the network is, the more scalable the routing protocol needs to be.
Classless (Use of VLSM) or Classful - Classless routing protocols include the subnet mask in the updates. This feature supports the use of Variable Length Subnet Masking (VLSM) and better route summarization. Classful routing protocols do not include the subnet mask and cannot support VLSM.
Resource Usage - Resource usage includes the requirements of a routing protocol such as memory space, CPU utilization, and link bandwidth utilization. Higher resource requirements necessitate more powerful hardware to support the routing protocol operation in addition to the packet forwarding processes.
Implementation and Maintenance - Implementation and maintenance describes the level of knowledge that is required for a network administrator to implement and maintain the network based on the routing protocol deployed.
The advantages and disadvantages of distance vector routing protocols are shown in the table.


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