What is the difference between routing protocols and routed protocols? -& the simplest way of understanding it?

Thanks, Parash.


Routing protocols allow routers to exchange routing information so they can learn about networks from other routers. A router in Barcelona can learn about networks in Zagreb via a routing protocol, so that it can forward traffic to Zagreb. Your ISP learns about networks from other ISPs via a routing protocol, so you can watch funny cat videos on YouTube.

Examples of routing protocols are OSPF, EIGRP, BGP and IS-IS.

A routed protocol is a protocol for sending data between end hosts. To be "routed," it has to have a hierarchical addressing scheme that indicates "where" the host is. The hierarchy lets a router (or host) determine where the packet should be sent in order to reach it's destination.

Practically speaking, there is only one routed protocol in use, and that is IP (version 4 and version 6). IP addresses have a network portion and a host portion (the subnet mask tells you how to separate the two). The network portion of the address lets the host look in its routing table to determine what is the best way to forward the packet.

Non-routed protocols are essentially obsolete in the age of the Internet, but NetBIOS might be one you're somewhat familiar with.


Routing protocols

Routing protocols allow and ensure routing traffic among destination to destined traffic towards destinations

Example of routing protocols are default route , static routes, RIPversion1 , rip version 2 , EIGRP, OSPF , BGP .

Routed protocols

Routed protocols are ip address types examples of routed protocols are IPV4 & IPv6.


Really plain and simple: A routed protocol is one which is designed to be routed via a given routing protocol.

Example 1:

IP = routed protocol EIGRP = routing protocol

EIGRP enables the routing of IP. Therefore it is a routing protocol which routes IP.

Example 2:

CLNS\CLNP = routed protocol IS-IS = routing protocol

IS-IS enables the routing of IP and CLNS\CLNP. Therefore it is a routing protocol which routes IP and CLNS\CLNP.

  • 1
    You don't need routing protocols to route a routed protocol. Routing protocols don't "route," they just exchange information about network reachability. – Ron Trunk Jun 4 '16 at 14:56
  • As I said very 'simple explanation' None of my explanation said that a routed protocol was dependant on a routing protocol? I said they enable the routing of a routed protocol.... I should have added in 'dynamic' there. I used them as an example for what is a routing protocol vs what is a routed protocol. Static routing is still a form of routing a routed protocol. A host looks into its 'routing table' to determine where to send a packet, if the host is enabled for routing it could either run dynamic routing or static routing. – APA Jun 4 '16 at 23:43

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