I am new to the whole networking world and I apologize if this is a re-post of a question.

What I want to know is that is there a mechanism for routers to discover its environment. NOT what a dynamic routing table does. but more than that. for example an intelligent system that would discover its environment such as what are the supporting routing and security protocols each neighboring routers are using. more like an advanced routing table which stores more than what a dynamic routing table holds. any references would be of great help :)

I directed this question to you experts cause i do not have the knowledge or know the keywords to search online on this subject matter.

  • 1
    Short answer: routers have an intelligent discovery system made of meat. There is no functional automation for this task today... Sep 6, 2013 at 12:46
  • @MikePennington forgive me for sounding soo dumb. what you mean there is no such existing system implemented on current routers except for human intervention? Sep 6, 2013 at 12:48
  • Discovery means both seeing and interpreting the configuration of neighboring devices. It is easy to imagine and describe a monumental task like this... but it simply doesnt exist. Sep 6, 2013 at 12:53
  • @MikePennington Thank you for the quick and clear answer. very much appreciated :) Sep 6, 2013 at 12:55
  • @MikePennington may as well make an actual answer out of your comments... Sep 6, 2013 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


Converting my comments to an answer...

Configuration discovery is a complicated task that involves both seeing and interpreting device configs. This task is manual today... there is no comprehensive automation for it.

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    You're most welcome... FYI, configuration discovery is something I spend a lot of time scripting. I even wrote a python library to make it a little easier for Cisco IOS... pypi.python.org/pypi/ciscoconfparse Sep 6, 2013 at 16:08
  • Oh thank you for the valuable information :) its very helpful :) Sep 6, 2013 at 16:27

CDP & LLDP permits the sharing of some very basic information, but that's really not enough to do something like you ask.

From a network operation point of view, you normally want a Known State, not dynamic configuration. Just look at all the problem that VTP can cause (a single switch newly connected can bring down the whole network in certain circumstances).

Troubleshooting Dynamic configuration stuff is always harder, because you have to validate the dynamic protocols first to see if they have done their job and to understand their current state, check if it's a "correct" state, then try to find the issue you're looking for, instead of simply having to look out for something that is not how it was configured (interfaces states/trunking/forwarding, VLAN propagation, etc)

And for security reason, it would not be a good idea to have such mechanism either, as it would makes it easier for someone to connect/break your network

  • hey thanks for the reply :) very much appreciate it Sep 19, 2013 at 14:30

If you knew the SNMP string for each device on the network, you could automate pulling the configuration from each network device.

If you are talking about discovering routes, I would suggest enabling a dynamic routing protocol, having that device learn the network routes and use a

show IP route in cisco

show routein junos


As for learning or centrally managing the network from one device, I would suggest a cloud solution such as Cisco's new Merakai platform. This would automate what you are talking about from one device using SDN (software Define Networking).


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