Introduction to OSPF

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Hello Protocol Packet Format

The OSPF Hello protocol packets are formatted in only one way. All OSPF packets start with a standardized 24-byte header which contains information that determines whether processing will take place on the rest of the packet. The packets contain the fields shown in Figure 4-6, always in the same order. All the fields in this format are 32 bits, except for the following fields: HelloInterval, which is 16 bits; Options, which is 8 bits; and Priority, which is 8 bits.


Figure 4-6  Hello packet detail.

The following list describes what each of the packet fields represents.

  Version #. Identifies the OSPF version running on the router originating the hello packet
  Packet length. Provides the total length of the hello packet
  Router ID. Contains the originating router identification number of the appropriate interface
  Area ID. Contains the area number to which the originating router belongs
  Checksum. This section is, of course, used to ensure the packets integrity has not been comprised during transmission.
  Network Mask. The subnet mask associated with the interface. If subnetting is not used, it will be set to the appropriate hexadecimal value for each class of IP address.
  HelloInterval. The number of seconds between when the router transmits hello packets
  Rtr Pri. This is the where the router’s priority would be annotated if this feature is used, otherwise the default is 1.
  RouterDeadInterval. Number of seconds since the last hello packet was received before declaring a silent router as no longer reachable
  Designated Router. The network’s designated router (if present) IP address. This field defaults to 0.0.0.0 when a designated router is not present, like on-demand circuits.
  Backup Designated Router. The network’s backup designated router (if present) IP address. This field defaults to 0.0.0.0 when a designated router is not present, like on-demand circuits.
  Neighbor. Contains the router IDs of each router that has sent a valid hello packet. This field can have multiple entries.

The Exchange Protocol

When two OSPF routers have established bi-directional communication, or two-way communication, they will synchronize their routing (link-state) databases. For point-to-point links, the two routers will communicate this information directly between themselves. On network links (that is, multiaccess network, either broadcast or nonbroadcast) this synchronization will take place between the new OSPF router and the DR. The Exchange protocol is first used to synchronize the routing (link-state) databases. After synchronization, any changes in the router’s links will use the Flooding protocol to update all the OSPF routers.

An interesting note about the operation of this protocol is that it is asymmetric. The first step in the exchange process is to determine who is the master and who is the slave. After agreeing on these roles, the two routers will begin to exchange the description of their respective link-state databases. This information is passed between the two routers via the Exchange protocol packet layout as shown in Figure 4-7.


Figure 4-7  Exchange Protocol packet layout.

As they receive and process these database description packets, the routers will make a separate list that contains the records they will need to exchange later. When the comparisons are complete, the routers will then exchange the necessary updates that were put into the list so that their databases can be kept up to date.

The Flooding Protocol

OSPF’s Flooding subprotocol is responsible for distributing and synchronizing the link-state database whenever a change occurs to a link. When a link changes state (from up to down), the router that experienced the change will issue a Flooding packet which contains the state change. This update is flooded out to all of the routers’ interfaces. In an attempt to ensure that the flooded packet has been received by all of its neighbors, the router will continue to retransmit the update until it receives an acknowledgement from its neighbors.


Notes:  
A link is any type of connection (Frame Relay, Ethernet, and so forth) between OSPF routers.

There are two ways in which OSPF can acknowledge an update. The first is when the destination router sends an acknowledgement directly to the source router. In this case, there is no DR in use by OSPF if this is occurring. The second way is when a DR is in use and it receives the update; it will immediately retransmit this update to all other routers. Therefore, when the sending router hears this retransmission, it is considered an acknowledgement, and no further action will be taken. Figure 4-8 shows the field names and layout of the packet for the Flooding subprotocol.


Figure 4-8  Flooding protocol packet layout.

Link-State Advertisement (LSA)

A link is any type of connection between OSPF routers, like a serial interface. The state is the condition of the link, whether it is up or down. An advertisement is the method OSPF uses to provide information to other OSPF routers. You could say that link-state advertisements are packets that OSPF uses to advertise changes in the condition of a specific link to other OSPF routers.

There are six different and distinct link-state packet formats in use by OSPF, each of which is generated for a different purpose that helps keep the OSPF network routing table intact and accurate. Although there are six different packet types, these are shown later in this section. When a router receives an LSA, it checks its link-state database. If the LSA is new, the router floods the LSA out to its neighbors. After the new LSA is added to the LSA database, the router will rerun the SPF algorithm. This recalculation by the SPF algorithm is absolutely essential to preserving accurate routing tables. The SPF algorithm is responsible for calculating the routing table and any LSA change might also cause a change in the routing table. Figure 4-9 demonstrates this transaction where Router A loses a link and recalculates the shortest path first algorithm and then floods the LSA change out to the remaining interfaces. This new LSA is then analyzed by routers B and C, which recalculate and continue to flood the LSA out the other interfaces to Router D.


Figure 4-9  Example of a router sending a new LSA and flooding.


Notes:  
If there are no link-state changes, then every 30 minutes LSAs are sent to all neighboring routers to ensure that routers have the same link-state database.


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OSPF Network Design Solutions
OSPF Network Design Solutions
ISBN: 1578700469
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 1998
Pages: 200
Authors: Tom Thomas

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